BiD Network’s first Investor Cocktail of the Year

Yesterday we organized a cocktail for our network of investors. The event took place in Amsterdam and was the first of a number of matchmaking activities to happen this year. For this meetup we choose to focus on investment opportunities in Rwanda, one of BiD Network’s target countries. The evening started with a word of welcome by our investor matchmaker Laura Smeets and our partner Martijn Blom of De Investeerdersclub and Droomzaken, followed by three entrepreneurs who pitched their businesses. The first to present was Clarisse Iribagiza of HeHe Labs, a Rwandan tech research lab that offers mobile solutions for different sectors, such as agriculture, infrastructure and health care. HeHe Labs also provides a code program for school and universities in Rwanda, thereby creating employment opportunities for the Rwandan youth. Next to take the stage was Sivan Breemhaar, founder of Afriek, a company that designs high-quality blazers that are made in Rwanda. With her unique designs she wants to create awareness among her customers about the clothes they are wearing. Lastly, Laurent Demuynck of Kigali Farms told the audience about how he wants to boost the mushroom industry in Rwanda with his business. Next to these live pitches, we also showed several video pitches of our entrepreneurs in Rwanda presenting their businesses. After the presentation of these Rwandan businesses, the cocktail continued with more mingling and networking between our guests. We look back at a great evening that brought together different types of investors, funds, and others with an interest in investment opportunities in emerging markets. Are you an investor and would you like to join one or more...

An Overview of Gaza’s ICT Labor Market [Report]

This article is published with the courtesy of Wamda. Please find the original article here. Gaza might not be the first place one associates with gender equality. Yet the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector may be leading the way; 31% of ICT professionals in Gaza are women, more than double that of non-ICT organizations, a new report from USAID and Mercy Corps reveals. The report, titled “Gaza Labor Market Needs Assessment for the Digital Economy”, surveyed 141 university graduates in Gaza with degrees in ICT,  to assess skill gaps and preferred tools in the sector. Some are highlighted here: In 2012, 32% of the labor force in Gaza was unemployed. In the first quarter of 2012, 47% of women were unemployed. At 58%, Gaza’s youth unemployment is more than double the regional average. In 2012, ICT contributed 0.56% to the real gross domestic product (GDP) growth of the West Bank, and a mere 0.02% to the real GDP growth of Gaza. In 2011, 41% of businesses with ICT tools in Gaza used computers, 34% used the internet, 12% did electronic transactions, and only 4% had websites. In the West Bank and Gaza in 2012, 17% of women participated in the labor force, compared to 68.7% of men. Women polled in the survey question the quality of their education for workforce preparation, as well as the market qualifications of their instructors. The report also details the use of specific ICT skills and tools, and gaps in ICT education and employment opportunities in Gaza, based on focus groups conducted with ICT school graduates, higher education institutions, and ICT companies. Download the full report here for a...

KLab, Rwanda’s First Innovation Hub

This article is published with the courtesy of PC Tech Magazine. Please find the original article here. Founded in June of 2012, kLab came about through a confluence of ideas and role-players and  is the landlocked country’s first dedicated innovation hub and a key figure in the march to becoming a force in the ICT sector. kLab has around 80 members with roughly 30 to 40 members using the space on a daily basis. Membership is free and divided into three categories, namely tenants, mentors and guests. In order to become a tenant, a prospective member must be working on a project and submit an online application which is followed up with a presentation pitch in front of a selection committee and other tenants. “Individuals and key players in the private sector came together and felt it was needed to have this sort of space where people could come to work on their ideas and have an opportunity to commercialise them. They drafted a proposal and plan and then set about recruiting the relevant partners,” explains Claude Migisha K., general manager at kLab. “The ICT Chamber approached The Rwanda Development Board (RDB-Information Technology), the government organ in charge of implementing and coordinating Rwanda’s ICT sector activities, which was very keen to partner. Through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) funding, we set up the hub,” says Migisha. Migisha had earlier posted on the kLab blog about the expectations while joining the innovation hub: “When coming to kLab, there is one thing in mind, a space to think and collaborate. My expectation in the space was to find people that could work within...

Kansen grijpen in opkomende markten | Businessplancompetitie ‘Ondernemen Zonder Grenzen 2013’ van start

NCDO, Persbericht Na het grote succes van de drie voorgaande edities, organiseren NCDO en BiD Network ook dit jaar de businessplancompetitie Ondernemen Zonder Grenzen. Deze competitie daagt de Nederlandse ondernemer uit een innovatief businessplan te schrijven dat er in slaagt om zowel winstgevend als duurzaam te ondernemen in Afrika, Azië of Latijns-Amerika. Wie vóór 18 juni een wereldidee indient krijgt een intensief coaching traject aangeboden. “Win-win situatie” NCDO en BiD Network, in samenwerking met Ernst & Young en De Investeerdersclub, willen met deze competitie duurzaam ondernemerschap stimuleren en Nederlanders inspireren om business opportunities te zien in opkomende markten. “Duurzame ondernemingen hebben een positieve impact in de ontwikkelingslanden. Er liggen daar volop marktkansen en de arbeids- en productiekosten zijn laag. Door banen of/en afzetmarkten te creëren, gaan de lokale economieën vooruit. Een win-win situatie”, aldus Kaline van Halder, projectleider van Ondernemen Zonder Grenzen.  “De nota van minister Ploumen laat zien dat het succes van Ondernemen Zonder Grenzen geen momentopname is. De combinatie van ondernemen en ontwikkelingssamenwerking heeft de toekomst.” Gat in de markt: ‘mobiele’ voorlichting in Afrika Voorlichting over hiv/aids is vaak nog heel ouderwets, met posters bijvoorbeeld. Hoe meet je daar het effect nu van? En wat bereik je er mee? Dit vraagstuk bracht Bas Hoefman en Hajo van Beijma van Text to Change ertoe hun marketing- en ICT-achtergrond te bundelen. Ze besloten mensen Oeganda voor te lichten via hun mobieltje en deden mee aan de businessplancompetitie: “We geloofden vanaf het begin in het idee, hoewel dat vertrouwen aanvankelijk door bijna niemand gedeeld werd. Intussen werken veel organisaties met ons samen en gaat het ontzettend goed. TTC zit inmiddels in...

GEC 2013 – Entrepreneurship as it should be

From March 18 to 21, Rio di Janeiro played host to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) where entrepreneurs, investors, government representatives and industry specialists – including BiD Network’s own Senior Advisor Maria Pontes – met to discuss practices and methods to facilitate entrepreneurship. The first two days of the conference hosted the main events with expert panels assembled to create dialog and discuss entrepreneurship trends. Day One Day one focused on policy. What can governments do something to spur entrepreneurship? Below are quotes from guest panelists that looked at how to support start-ups and smart government strategies to facilitate faster scaling of existing high growth firms. Lesa Mitchell (Kauffman Foundation): – ‘Crowd-funding will make a difference for how women will seek financing for their companies’ – ‘Start-up friendly legislation in the US is recent phenomena, only with Obama and the Jobs Act, Start-up 2.0 Act, Keep Brains, and visas for start up entrepreneurs.’ Conrad von Ingel (InnovaChile): – ‘Shake up the local ecosystem and connect with the world‘ Patrick Lim (SPRING Singapore): – ‘Messages should come from the successful entrepreneurs, they should act as role models.’ Esperanza Lasagabaster (World Bank): – ‘Micro-enterprise is a short term strategy for job creation, it is the high growth entrepreneurship that has the power to do this sustainably.’ Alessandro Fusacchia (Italy’s Ministry for Economic Development): – ‘We need ‘contamination labs at universities’, entrepreneurship is not made by business professors and students but by people across disciplines coming together.’ Daniel Isenberg (Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project): – ‘Entrepreneurship is natural, the government should just just remove the barriers to it.’ – ‘Unless the Brazilian government...

BiD Challenge México 2012 | The Finalists

BiD Challenge México 2012, the 4th edition of the business plan competition organized by Fundación E, encourages Mexican entrepreneurship through innovation in SMEs. After 7 months of a competitive challenge, the jury selected the following finalists amongst 100 participants: – Nueces Criollas Baby Garapiñadas – Hamacas de la Costa – Saudent – Ecoplog by EZfireliez – Producion de Nopal Mexica SC de RL de CV – Ecoveco – Bioactive Compunds from Sea Cucumber – Calentadores para agua Multiecologicos The eight finalists will pitch to investors at a private breakfast. Special congratulations to all participants and the finalists! For more information about BiD Challenge México 2012,...