Business trip Rwanda: April 2015

Last month, we went on a business trip to Rwanda to visit BiD Network entrepreneurs and to meet with both existing and new local business partners: current partners African Innovation Prize, Inkomoko, Ejo Partners and new partner Educat. The visited entrepreneurs are currently part of one of our programs, such as the United Entrepreneurship Coalition (UEC) and/or the IFDC Shape & Lead Program. Some we had already met before, others we met for the first time. We were excited to finally see the businesses that we have been working with and to hear the entrepreneurs passionately explain about their business plans. Some of the businesses visited are now ready for finance and offer interesting investment opportunities. Others are still developing and improving their business plans, but are on the right track to become ready to present themselves to investors as well. Read on to learn more about the businesses visited! Tekutangije Tekutangije is an innovative business in clean cookstoves that we have been working with since our Growing SMEs event in 2012 and that is now participating in our IFDC Shape & Lead program. Entrepreneur Isidore showed us around in his factory, located just outside Kigali, and demonstrated the sustainable cookstove he designed. This innovative cookstove can be used on both a small and a larger scale and is being sold to households and schools. Tekutangije’s cookstove distinguishes from their competitors’ because of its price/quality ratio. Tekutangije currently has 10 full-time employees, 20 employees upon request and a large number of piece workers. Among these piece workers are (ex)prisoners, who are given a job opportunity in return for a...

Interview: Vivienne Court invests in Rwandan coffee trader KAMG

Marcel Klooss of Vivienne Court visited our Get in the Ring Africa regional final last September 2014. That’s where he met Rwandan entrepreneur and coffee supplier Kamitatu Kayobotsi. On behalf of Vivienne Court, he is currently cooperating with and investing in mr. Kamitatu’s business KAMG Trading and Coffee Export. We interviewed Marcel about the investment process so far. Can you tell us a bit more about Vivienne Court and your impact investment practices? Vivienne Court is a trading firm based in Sydney, Australia. The setup of the company is that it has no shareholders but is owned by a foundation. Half of the profit of the firm goes to the foundation. The foundation looks for projects to invest in where the dollar impact is high and where ideally VivCourt can add something more in terms of management support.  As we just started it is a completely new area for Vivienne Court where we have no experience at all, so we are excited to learn along the way but also expect things to go wrong in ways we have no idea of yet. Everything is already very different in our current setup with KAMG than we initially thought it would be. How did you get in contact with Kamitatu Kayobotsi? BiD Network invited me to Get in the Ring Africa in Kigali, Rwanda, last September. During the event, I spoke to a lot of different people and entrepreneurs, including Kamitatu Kayobotsi: a Rwandan coffee supplier in need of investment. I visited his factory to learn more about his business. He seemed to have the right profile to match our foundation’s...

Philanthropy Day

Today is Philanthropy Day in the Netherlands. A recent study by ABN Amro MeesPierson by the School of Business and Economics of Maastricht University shows that wealthy Dutch citizens are willing to support and be involved with socially relevant initiatives, such as social-impact investing. And this is precisely in line with BiD Network’s mission: boost economic development and create job opportunities in emerging markets, through matchmaking between entrepreneurs and investors. A waste company in Uganda that collects waste and at the same time raises awareness about recycling and public health. A mobile technology company from Rwanda that develops mobile solutions for different sectors, such as agriculture and healthcare, while providing the Rwandan youth with new skills and job opportunities by offering code programs to schools and universities.These are just two examples of social entrepreneurs from emerging countries, who are able to start, grow and expand their businesses with the support of funds or (private) investments. They already have a solid business plan and growth potential. What they need is finance. BiD Network prepares entrepreneurs from emerging markets for finance. Our matchmakers and experienced advisors bring entrepreneurs together with interested investors. Business angels in our network are not so much looking for a maximum return – because these are high-risk investments – but more for a way to make a difference. They are dedicated and willing to share their knowledge and experiences. Join us Are you interested in impact investing in Africa and other emerging markets and BiD Network’s services for investors? Learn more on our investor...

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...

Somali Investment Forum: Boosting Somali Investment Opportunities

From 8 to 10 March 2015 the Somali Investment Forum took place in Nairobi, organized by the World Bank Group, US Embassy and Shuraako. The main purpose of the forum was to bring together Somali (diaspora) investors and businesses, aiming to return capital for growth. The Somali AgriFood team, consisting of IFAD, HIRDA, Collert Consultancy and BiD Network staff attended the forum and was actively involved. Pedro de Vasconcelos (IFAD) and Laura Smeets (BiD Network) were invited for the plenary sessions to discuss challenges and opportunities for and needs of diaspora to finance Somali businesses. HIRDA, Collert and BiD Network offered pitch training sessions to invited entrepreneurs prior to and during the forum. A marketplace was set up at which Somali entrepreneurs as well as financial and business service providers could showcase their products and services and connect with each other. Here, the Somali AgriFood team offered entrepreneurs and investors the possibility to get information about the Somali AgriFood program and fund and to sign up directly. During the forum, several plenary and breakout sessions took place and closed investor pitching events were organized for a preselected group of entrepreneurs. The actual outcomes of the forum in terms of deals made will surely become clearer in the coming weeks, but there is no doubt about the extent at which networking took place. We are grateful to Shuraako, the World Bank Group and the US Embassy for organizing this much needed forum, bringing together different players in the field of private sector development, aiming to strengthen access to new types of finance for Somali businesses. Do want to know more...

Invitation: Amsterdam Somali Diaspora Meeting – Presenting the Somali Investment Forum

Presenting the ‘Somali Investment Forum: Returning Capital for Growth’ Date: Tuesday, February 2, 2015 Time: 18.00 – 19:30 Location: SOMVAO – Hamerstraat 24, 1021 JW Amsterdam Shuraako invites you to attend a special meeting for Somali diaspora to be held on February 2, 2015 at SOMVAO office. In anticipation of the Somali Investment Forum (SIF): Returning Capital for Growth, (described below) hosted by Shuraako and the US Embassy. The Amsterdam diaspora meeting will provide an advance overview of the SIF, highlight investment opportunities, and solicit investors to attend and pledge capital. Somali-based businesses seeking capital will be invited to pitch their investment request at the Forum directly to investors. We will also provide an overview of likely participants (i.e., investors, partners, financial firms, etc.). The SIF will provide an excellent opportunity for networking. Forum Overview: The Somali Investment Forum: Returning Capital for Growth (March 8-10, 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya), will bring together diaspora investors/entrepreneurs, local Somali entrepreneurs, and sources of investment capital for a 2 ½ day event. Day 1 Breakout sessions will explore sector specific opportunities and needs and offer a trade show for participants. Day 2 will culminate in a ‘pitch ring’ where investors hear business presentations with the option to issue letters of interest and begin due diligence. Shuraako has secured an initial pledge of $100,000 investment capital which will act as a matching fund for local financial institutions, diaspora investors, impact funds, and others. An additional four investors have issued verbal commitments of $100,000 each and indications are that SIF commitments could well exceed $1million (USD). Shuraako has begun a grass roots promotion of the...