Finding & Fixing the Gaps in the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Rwanda

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...

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...

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...

Week of the Entrepreneur: be inspired by border-crossing Dutch entrepreneurs

Next week, the Week of the Entrepreneur takes place in the Netherlands, an event that focuses on (starting) Dutch entrepreneurs and the future of their businesses. BiD Network does not only work with entrepreneurs from emerging markets, but also with Dutch entrepreneurs who want to start or grow a business in an emerging country. We have several years of experience in organizing a business plan competition for border-crossing Dutch entrepreneurs, called Ondernemen Zonder Grenzen, together with partners Crosswise Works (formerly NCDO) and EY. We take the Week of the Entrepreneur as an opportunity to highlight some of the Ondernemen Zonder Grenzen competition finalists from the last years.   African Clean Energy Entrepreneur Ruben Walker was one of the finalists in the 2013 competition of Ondernemen Zonder Grenzen. He started his business African Clean Energy in 2011 to provide a solution for the problem of cooking on open fires with the use of dirty and dangerous fuel, which is the case for three billion people across developing countries worldwide. African Clean Energy has developed a cookstove that “burns fuel cleanly to make mealtimes a smoke-free zone.” Today, his factory, located in Lesotho, produces around 200 cookstoves a day and he wants to expand this to thousands a day in several factories.   Martono & Company: Bast With Martono & Company, entrepreneur Jeroen Janssens wants to brings more awareness to consumers with regard to barbecuing. After traveling through Indonesia, he returned with the idea to turn the waste of coconuts into a usable and eco-friendly product for barbecuing: coconut coal, an alternative to charcoal. He turned this idea into a realistic business plan...

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...