BiD Network News

Stay updated and read our latest news about entrepreneurs in emerging markets, investment opportunities, partnership programs and more!

Hendrik van Gent says goodbye as director of BiD Network

After three years as a director, Hendrik is leaving BiD Network. Under his leadership, BiD Network extended their focus from program management to an improved service-offering to entrepreneurs and investors. He also facilitated the spin-off of the online platform bidX and the investment fund iungo capital. The supervisory board and BiD Network’s staff are grateful for Hendrik’s engagement and the effort he put into building the foundation for BiD Network’s future. Hendrik will set up a new venture, which focuses on employment generation in the Netherlands. Laura Smeets, Marens Beckers and Gert van Veldhuisen will form the new management. Together they have the ideal network and experience to serve entrepreneurs and investors. We wish Hendrik the best of luck! BiD Network team If you want to reach out to us, feel free to contact Gert at or at +31(0)... read more

Muhammad Yunus kicks off Impact Investor Meeting

Who could have been better suited to open the Impact Investor Meeting than Muhammad Yunus? In an inspiring speech of 30 minutes professor Yunus speaks about business solutions to poverty and the importance of fresh graduates becoming job creators.  Yunus encourages graduates to start businesses and become job creators Nearly 50 years ago, Grameen Bank revolutionized the financial industry by the introduction of microcredit. Small loans allowed women to start their own business and their children to access education. Today, their children enter the labour market. However, given high unemployment rates, having a degree does not guarantee employment.  According to professor Yunus, the solution is simple: “We need graduates to forget about jobs, we need them to focus on becoming job-creators. They had mothers that were illiterate and that managed to start a business. I tell them: ‘even if you don’t have a great idea, copy your mother’s business and make it 10, 20, 100 times bigger’.”   Focus and good people key denominators for business success In the panel discussion that follows Hendrik van Gent (BiD Network), Coen Frank (Goodwell Investments) and Hein Roelfsma (Utrecht University) discuss what factors determine the success of SMEs and their ability to grow and create jobs. Based on the experience of Goodwell Investments the team and focus are crucial. “We think it is crucial that a business can focus on its core activities. This means you need good systems that facilitate a fast scale-up. Then, you need a great team that can execute the plan. We see it is our role to support these businesses in taking up the side-tasks that distract... read more


How come businesses that have been labelled “investment-ready” rarely receive an investment? How come businesses complain they perceive access to capital to be a major hurdle, whilst investors complain there is a lack of high-quality deal-flow? The day before SANKALP in Nairobi various stakeholders came together to discuss these questions. BiD Network is one of the intermediaries seeking to bridge this gap, by working with both (informal) investors and entrepreneurs simultaneously. The gap still remains here, and whilst incubators and accelerators were reflecting on how they themselves could further facilitate the connection to investors, we invited investors to join us for an investor circle to discuss how to improve good quality deal-flow. Not surprisingly, the two frequently named issues passed the revue: 1) Talent gap – there is a strong focus on “the idea,” and whilst this is important for the potential scalability of the company, initially it is more about the management team’s capacity to execute that determines scalability. 2) Financial records gap – frequently multiple books are being kept. Even when businesses have been going through the deal-making process it has happened more than once that in the final stages the investor finds out there is yet another loan they were unaware of. Investors then are forced to discontinue the deal-making process to either prevent over indebtedness or because trust has been lost. It should be mentioned that all investors underlined the importance of a holistic approach. Whilst ranking the gaps, they unanimously mentioned the absence of any of their requirements translates into the business not being considered ready for an investment. The absence of trust, transparency,... read more

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... read more

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... read more

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... read more