World Water Day: Raising Awareness on Water

March 22nd is World Water Day; a day to raise awareness on the use and impact of water, or a shortage of water. While people in many western countries can use water anyplace and any time, this is not the case for most developing nations as millions of people don’t have access to safe drinking water. This year’s theme of World Water Day is ‘Water and Sustainable Development’. Water is one of the main sectors we focus on in sourcing and supporting entrepreneurs in emerging markets. AquaRed and Nazava Water Filters are two businesses in water that that have been able to grow with our support. AquaRed is a social enterprise linked to the International Red Cross that provides healthy drinking water distribution. They started in Ghana and are currently developing programs in other African countries. Through their projects, they create “a solid infrastructure and distribution network to bring the water to the people who most need it, empowering local opportunities and demonstrating that a sustainable and scalable operation can be created to start solving one of world’s most dire challenges.” Nazava Water Filters provides clean drinking water through selling water purifiers for households in Indonesia and beyond. In November 2010, the company was one of three winners of the Dutch based and BiD Network co-sponsored business plan competition “Ondernemers zonder Grenzen” (Entrepreneurs without Borders). With the obtained USD 86,000 in investment funds from partners Droomzaken and de Investeerdersclub, Nazava planned to expand the sales and marketing throughout Indonesia. Are you or do you know an entrepreneur wanting to start or expand a business in water in an emerging...

Happy steps towards a new lifestyle

HABI Footwear, a Philippines based Fashion Company working with urban poor mothers of Kawan in Sto. Niño, Philippines has signed a loan of USD 10,240 with a Dutch Angel investor. The loan will help HABI Footwear formally register as an exporting business and increase production to meet the increasing demand of foreign and local markets. HABI Footwear combines practical shoes with original designs, carefully handcrafted by women in the Philippines using socially and environmentally friendly materials. One step back: The initiative started in the last year of college when Janine Chiong and her team had to deliver a business plan as a graduation assignment. By then, businesses similar to HABI Footwear had already started in the rural communities in the Philippines. So how do they remain original? Janine mentions that HABI Footwear has partners in business rather than employees, ‘the relationship goes beyond business, it is also based on friendship’. Furthermore, the company has unique products produced in a unique way. No other business uses recycled racks and track tires to make footwear and the prices are lower than the competitors’, which combined gives HABI Footwear the competitive advantage they need. The company’s target market consists of people between 18 and 35 years old, who are very visible online. To reach this target group, HABI Footwear uses Facebook pages, Twitter and blogs. During the interview at Growing SMEs the Netherlands, last November, Janine offered an insight into the life of women entrepreneurs in The Philippines. ‘Women in The Philippines are very competitive and driven. It is really important that you put your heart into your business. There is a...

Growing SMEs: Award Season and an Entrepreneur of the Year

With the Growing SMEs Conference imminent, the finalists of Ondernemen Zonder Grenzen, the Women in Business Challenge and the Fast5 Challenge are now entering the final stage of the challenges. The culmination of these competitions will be announced at award ceremonies at the Growing SMEs Conference in The Hague. We will also be awarding the BiD Network Entrepreneur of the Year in the BiD Challenge International. The BiD Challenge International requested our partner countries submit at least two outstanding entrepreneurs from the last year. From this, eight competitors have been pre-selected: MobiStine – Palestine AxIS Investments Ltd. – Rwanda Iyara – Argentina Penda Health – Kenya HABI Footwear – Philippines Compost Liberia – Liberia Divine Masters – Uganda Hidroxiecuador – Ecuador As part of BiD Week, these entrepreneurs will be pitching their businesses to an expert jury. Choosing just three finalists will not be an easy task. The jury charged with this undertaking consists of: Kim Kiszelnik, Program Manager at Doen Foundation Saskia van der Mast, Investment Manager at dob Foundation Bob Assenberg, Goodwell Investments Karen Kammeraat, Informal Investor of De Investeerdersclub Margot Kam, Project Coordinator at Mesics Foundation During BiD Week, the business week preceeding the Growing SMEs Conference, all entrepreneurs receive extensive training, attend financial consultancy and B2B meetings, and have the opportunity to network with possible investors. The three finalists of the BiD Challenge International, chosen on November 14, will then pitch their businesses at the Growing SMEs Conference in front of an audience of peers, experts and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, attending in her role as Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development’ of...

Creative Partnership Challenge: From Donor Dependency to a Sustainable Business Model

The nature of BiD Network partnerships is changing. With the hope of establishing mutually benefitting relationships, BiD Network ran the Creative Partnership Challenge, between September and November 2012, to encourage the initiation of new projects funded by our partner organizations. Providing quality services to assist entrepreneurs starting or growing a business in emerging markets is the primary aim of BiD Network partnerships. Providing these services in the long term, however, require our partners (the service providers) to be self-sustaining entities. With this in mind, BiD Network’s relationship with partners is evolving, from donor dependency to a business model where both can generate income. The Creative Partnership Challenge is for existing partner organizations, and rewards participants who produce innovative and sustainable business models, focused on securing their own financing. The Creative Partnership Challenge encourages partners to finance their own operations, and as an innovative incentive to establish these financing channels, BiD Network will match 40-70% of the amount generated through their fundraising. Our panel of judges will select up to three winners of the competition, chosen from the entrants in Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Peru and the Philippines. The expert panel of judges features: • Maarten de Jong- Managing Director of Oneplanetcrowd, Partner at Pepperdecks • Paul van Aalst – Managing Director SOVEC (Social Venture Capital Fund) and BiD Network Board Member • Jaime Reibel- SME Manager – BiD Network The results of the competition will be announced during BiD Week, the business week preceding the Growing SMEs Conference, held in The Hague on November 11 –...

De Investeerdersclub Selected the Winners of Ondernemen Zonder Grenzen 2012

De Investeerdersclub deliberated to select the winners of Ondernemen Zonder Grenzen 2012 with the most innovative Dutch business plans to create jobs and incomes in emerging markets. From the initial 142 applications and the 15 finalists, the five following businesses will receive extensive coaching and matchmaking support: Meet Your Host, !SYOU, Research Africa, O my bag, Vrindavan. The five winners will have a very active role at Growing SMEs, in The Hague in November. Aside from participating in the marketplace with over 40 entrepreneurs, they will pitch in a private room to the potential investors of De Investeerdersclub. The official award ceremony of Ondernemen Zonder Grenzen 2012 will also take place at the conference. Congratulations to all participants in this challenging business plan competition, to the winners and to our partners; NCDO, De Investeerdersclub & Ernst & Young. The 5 Winners Meetyourhost.com Countries: Nepal, South Africa Yvon Gijsbers, created the traveler’s platform meetyourhost.com which allows you to meet local tourism entrepreneurs in emerging countries. A platform that offers a unique experience while allowing you to get to grips with rural life on holiday, this platform opens up a world of possibilities. !SYOU Countries: Colombia, Philippines !SYOU is a unique brand of footwear produced in collaboration with DAC-listed nations and co-designed with local creative talent and international designers. Entrepreneur Jaap Spoorenberg ensures !SYOU’s footwear is produced by local manufacturers, with locally sourced materials, and then sold with fair margins at a fair price globally. Research Africa Country: Uganda Floor Montanus noticed the potential of a market research agency in Uganda. The Research Africa project empowers low-income individuals as valued consumers...