Thank You

During the past few months BiD Network has been researching the existing market and gaps for Business Development Services focusing on SMEs in Rwanda and Uganda. We would like to express our gratitude to all those that have spread the word, answered our questions and are helping us to make this publication possible. Your stories have fueled our work. Soon we will return the favor, by presenting the publication in February. Those that would like to receive a copy, can request one by signing up to our newsletter. BiD Network hopes that this research will mobilize knowledge and support the sector in making better informed...

Women in Business finalists from Uganda and Rwanda visiting Holland

From 13 until 15 January the two finalists of this year’s Women in Business challenge will be coming to the Netherlands. During these three days the finalists will meet with investors and they will represent their businesses at ‘Bridge the Gap II  Women, Money and Markets’, an event organized by Vive Invest. The finalists that will be visiting are the following: Yellow Star Food Products Ltd (Uganda) Yellow Star was founded in 1997 and registered in 2014, and produces nutritive cassava flour, soy bean flour for children and adults, soy paste and ground nuts. Other products include a mixture of soy, millet flour and soy with maize or rice. The company sources all its inputs from contracted women and farmer groups from the North of Uganda. Women are supported and trained in various ways and cooperatives are founded and made bankable. Yellow Star has sales contracts with the 4 main supermarkets (Shoprite, Nakumat, Quality and Capital) in Uganda and also sells to schools, orphanages, church organisations and individuals. The business currently rents most of the processing facilities and wants to establish its own processing plant as well as a larger facility for storage and packaging. The development of the facility has already started and additional finance of USD 487,037 is needed to complete the building, set up a modern processing plant and to cover initial working capital. Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE) (Rwanda) SHE is a social for-profit entity in Rwanda that produces affordable menstrual pads while at the same time providing health education and advocacy for girls and women. Currently 18% of the women and girls in Rwanda miss out on over 50 days of school or work due to a lack of...

Finding & Fixing the Gaps in the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Rwanda

What hampers businesses to thrive in Rwanda? That was the question that led the roundtable organized by BiD Network and Ejo Partners as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week. Entrepreneurs, Business Development Service providers and financiers came together to collaboratively discuss the problems and solutions. Equipped with post-its in different colors, all participants got to indicate their perceived problems and solutions. A recurring theme was the attitude of the entrepreneurs. The problem post-its were filled with “a lack of entrepreneurial spirit,” the solution post-its with “changing the attitude of entrepreneurs.” More specifically, below are 5 problems and 5 solutions as a result of the roundtable.   PROBLEMS The biggest problem is how to get stakeholders to collaborate more. Particularly banks are comfortable in their own space. Roundtables such as this one organized by BiD Network can only go so far. Record keeping remains challenging. Bookkeeping should be a practice incorporated from the very beginning. It aids in forming a strategy and improving access to finance. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs only realize the necessity when they are in need of finance. Entrepreneurs like to be in charge. This is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it is important to know what is going on in your business. On the other hand, it does undermine the ability of experts taking certain activities on. There is a disconnection between the high international product standards and the low purchasing power in Rwanda. To create products that can be exported means increasing production costs. This translates into prices that have a high likelihood of excluding the local market. Bank lending rates are sky high. In...

BiD Network launches market research in Rwanda & Uganda

We all know the obstacles hampering SME growth. They are access to knowledge, access to finance and access to markets. Access to knowledge is a broad term. Hence, the variety of actors providing access to knowledge is large. The GIIN and Open Capital’s recent publication about East Africa sought to make an attempt to map the larger Business Development Services providers. However, the sector is scattered, consisting out of many individual consultants. Which are the organizations specifically designed to provide Business Development Services? How do SMEs that made use of these services rate them? Who pays for these services? These are the questions we are seeking to answer by means of a market research project and we need your help. Are you an SME and have you made use of Business Development Services? We want to hear from you! Please fill in our survey here. Are you an intermediary and have you ever purchased or provided Business Development Services? Please let us know here! Thank you and keep an eye out on the website and blog to stay updated on this market...

Promising entrepreneurs from Kosovo to Holland

Guest post by blogger Stevan van Dijk of www.kosovo-info.com KOSOVO – Two Kosovar companies with a lot of potential to grow, will visit The Netherlands in October this year. Both of the companies are active in the food processing industry and are looking for Dutch investors, customers, partners, and experts to let their business grow. ‘Rizona’ sells both high quality fresh and canned vegetables. This will be an amount of 250 tons of vegetables, in the year 2015. The owner of the company is Bashkim Bytyqi. The other company, ‘Edona’, is specialized in selling sweet pastries like baklava, the famous ‘Turkish’ delicacy. Edona delivers her goods to many big supermarkets, restaurants and hotels. But her product does not stay in Kosovo, as also other European countries are interested. Owner of the company, Fatmire Maliqi, received the title of ‘most successful businesswoman of Kosovo’, in 2014. Owners of both of the companies will visit Amsterdam on the 7th and 8th of October to meet potential partners. If you are interested in the program, and the possibility to meet (one of the) owners, you can send an email to Annemarie van Mossel of BiD Network (annemarie.vanmossel@bidnetwork.org). She has also more information regarding the two promising companies. Interested in more about doing business in...

Impact Capital Activities during Amsterdam Capital Week

BiD Network, Crosswise Works, dutch, THNK, and Impact Hub Amsterdam will organize the following activities with a clear focus on impact entrepreneurship and impact investing. These events will fall under the Impact Capital track of the first Amsterdam Capital Week.   Impact Capital Activities BiD Network Drinks Thursday, September 24, 17:00 – 20:00 Network drink with impact investors and East African startups Join us and network with fellow investors, partners and changemakers at the BiD Network drinks. Learn about some of the most promising investment ready entrepreneurs from Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya, and meet Nairobi’s rising startups & hubs in tech, mobile and impact innovation. Apply here   Impact Investor Innovation Lab Friday, September 25, 9:00 – 12:00 Learn how & why Impact Investing is globally on the verge. Why is Impact Investment globally on the verge and about to set a solid foot on the ground in the Netherlands? Meet fellow investors, impact investors from the Impact Hub network and entrepreneurs to find out where your opportunities arise. We showcase you success stories told by both the entrepreneur and investor. We challenge you to meet promising startups and impact investors. We invite you to innovate and to take your first steps into the future of investment. Apply here   Kenya on the Rise Friday, September 25, 14:00 – 17:00 Discover the impact startup ecosystem of Nairobi Interested in the latest development of Nairobi’s startups & hubs in tech, mobile and impact innovation? Check out these Kenyan rising stars, listen to their pitches, and learn how you can invest and accelerate impact. The Impact Expedition Nairobi-Amsterdam brings you Sam...

How to Write a Business Plan 101

So, you have created a new product/service and want to start your own business but don’t know where to begin. We, at BiD Network, come across Business Plans from exciting entrepreneurs everyday and believe that we can help. Whether or not you are starting your business from scratch or empowering it to grow – a business plan (continued to be called a BP) is a necessity, in particular if you want to attract investors. A BP also helps you to define or improve your strategy. BP’s come in many different formats because there are many different companies and/or websites that claim to have the best way to write one. But, there is one section that every BP has in common; the Executive Summary. The Executive Summary is the most important part of any Business Plan. It is the one section where an investor will decide whether or not he wants to read the rest of the BP. An Executive Summary should be a concise account of why your business will be “uniquely qualified to succeed”. But, hold off on writing your Executive Summary until you have answered all the following sections. The Business. General company description including the target market and gap in the market that you are filling. It is also important to state the Company’s mission statement, goals and long term strategy of the business. Products & Services. Explain how your product/service works and why a consumer should purchase it. What is the value that is created for customers and the market. Feel free to go in depth because this is ultimately what you are trying to...

Women in Business Finalist Named in Forbes List

She has already won BiD Network’s Women in Business Challenge 2013, and now she’s named in Forbes “30 Most Promising Entrepreneurs Under 30.” Affiong Williams, founder of Reelfruit has been acknowledged for her motivation to expand her dried fruit and nuts business outside of Nigeria. In an interview with BiD Network in 2014, Williams told other women entrepreneurs to “really think big! I want to encourage them to remove any constraints that might hold them back from thinking they can own the business of their dreams.” That is exactly what she is doing.  “We favored entrepreneurs with fresh ideas and took into account their business size, location, struggles and determination. Senior editors then debated and argued over the final 30” Since the Women in Business challenge, Williams has been able to create new products that include; integration of dried fruits and nuts into a packaged mix, a local fruit drink, and a new cashew brand. Having developed these new products, Affiong Williams is seeking to expand into the lucrative airline industry. Williams has also been increasing her staff by bringing up the total of employees to twelve by the end of 2014. The Forbes Africa 30 under 30 is an annual list of most promising entrepreneurs to look out for in the future. The entrepreneurs are selected by the Forbes Africa readers and carefully judged by a selection of judges from the editing staff.   To see the full Forbes Africa 30 under 30 report, click here. To see the interview of Affiong Williams by BiD Network in 2014, click...

Business plan competition: IFDC CATALIST-Uganda

IFDC, BiD Network and IRIS Consulting & Training are proud to announce the 2nd edition of the IFDC CATALIST-Uganda Agribusiness Challenge. This business plan competition is meant for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in or impacting the value chains of cassava and oil seeds (soya bean and sunflower) in Northern Uganda; rice in Eastern Uganda; and Irish potato in South-Western Uganda, who are in need of technical and financial support to start or expand and professionalize their business operations. Entrepreneurs are invited to submit their business plans to become eligible for various services geared towards accessing finance and markets. About IFDC CATALIST-Uganda IFDC CATALIST-Uganda aims to sustainably commercialize smallholder agriculture through improved productivity and market development, resulting in marketable surpluses that raise incomes in Uganda, and increase regional food security for the wider East Africa and Great Lakes Region. A systems approach is employed to develop integrated cropping systems around priority commodities – Irish potato, cassava, oil seeds and rice – combined with an accelerated cluster development approach appropriate for Uganda. In addition, services are offered for input market development, output marketing, linkages to Dutch and other agribusinesses and investors, and improvement of the policy environment. The first cycle of the IFDC CATALIST-Uganda resulted in 165 business summaries being submitted and subsequently 50 full business plans after an extensive period of training and coaching. Congratulations to all partners and entrepreneurs that participated. Ten to fifteen businesses are now being selected for matchmaking services with investors and other businesses, and those not selected in the first edition are welcome to improve and submit again in this second cycle. Participation...

G20 SME Finance Challenge Winners: Gathering June 24th

Today marks the beginning of a three day event that highlights the idea of “leveraging innovation” to promote access to finance to SMEs. The event starts off with a gathering of G20 SME Finance Challenge Winners that bidx and BiD Network will take part in. Our director, Hendrik van Gent, will be present alongside the founder of BiD Network and bidx, Thierry Sanders. Following the gathering of G20 SME Finance Challenge Winners on Wednesday the 24th of June, will be a two-day DFI/IFI Working Group. Co-hosted by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the overarching theme of the two-day meeting will be about “leveraging innovation” to promote access to finance to SMEs. The meeting will also provide an opportunity for the international development community to share their experiences and achievements made over the past year and explore synergy and partnership, where possible, to achieve greater and more impactful outcomes. BiD Network is proud to be able to join the gathering of G20 SME Finance Challenge Winners. In November 2010, the prestigious G20 SME Finance Challenge prize was awarded to bidx. United States President Barack Obama and the then HRH princess Maxima of the Netherlands, personally congratulated founder Thierry Sanders and offered their support to start the online platform for emerging market SMEs and investors. The first to invest in bidx was Putera Sampoerna, one of Indonesia’s most successful entrepreneurs. The G20 and the Nationale Postcode Loterij followed by funding the start of the organization. As a result, bidx became independent in...

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