Report of Growing SMEs East Africa 2013

Thursday the 21st of November Rwanda Development Board (RDB), BiD Network and JCI Rwanda organized the 9th International and 2nd East African edition of the Growing SMEs – Connect.Exchange.Invest. – conference at the Lemigo Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda. Growing SMEs is an umbrella concept under which different unique events take place around the world. During this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week BiD Network and its partners actually organized three Growing SMEs events geared towards SME growth: in Jordan, Mexico and Rwanda. Growing SMEs East Africa Conference Growing SMEs East Africa 2013 was opened with a networking cocktail at Italian restaurant Via Veneto. Conference participants had the opportunity to connect and get acquainted with the topics being discussed during the conference the next day on the 21st. The official conference was opened by Ambassador Valentine Rugwabiza, CEO of Rwanda Development Board. She sketched the importance of SMEs being the back bone of the Rwandan and East African Economies. She went on to state the importance of regional integration:“Rwandan SMEs need to get connected to international supply chains. They can find these in East Africa already though; hence strategic partnerships within the EAC need to be encouraged.” Executive Director of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) Randall Kempner focused his key-note on the meaning of ‘Access’ in the entrepreneurial Eco-System. The main theme of this year’s conference was ‘ACCESS – For SME Growth’. Where the 2012 conference focused solely of Access to Finance, this year’s conference took a broader look at the whole ecosystem affecting SME growth, split further into Access2Markets, Access2Information/Networks and Access2Finance. Kempner said that Access to Skills should not be forgotten.“There is a clear...

Growing SMEs East Africa: November 21, 2013

  “Growing SMEs Connect.Exchange.Invest”, the premium international conference for ambitious entrepreneurs and investors returns to the East African Region in Kigali, Rwanda, on November 21 of this year.  Kigali Rwanda, October 17th – After a successful first edition in 2012 the international conference for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in emerging markets, Growing SMEs, will return to Kigali, Rwanda on Thursday 21 November. The Rwandan Development Board, JCI Rwanda and Dutch based NGO BiD Network will be hosting this Global Entrepreneurship Week featured event where entrepreneurs, (inter)national investors, policy makers, and experts on the topics of Starting and Growing businesses will get together. “We believe that small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of every economy. With this conference, we are trying to create a new generation of entrepreneurs and get them to start the business that will create jobs for other people and that will move economies.” – Thierry Sanders, Director and Founder at BiD Network. 300+ participants will join to connect with local and international networks of entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders. They will exchange expertise, best practices and lessons learned, and accelerate investmentin high-growth SMEs. Over 30 entrepreneurs from Rwanda, Burundi, Liberia, Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya will be presented during a Marketplace and the first Rwandese Get In The Ring pitching battle. The conference will have the presence of featured speakers, experts in the field of finance and starting as well as growing businesses. After the keynote opening the conference will split up in breakout sessions, workshops and panel discussions. Topics that will be discussed will relate to the overall theme ‘ACCESS. For SME Growth’ that exists of three tracks: Access to Information & Networks, Access...

The 5 finalists of the ICT Challenge 2013

BiD Network and partners are pleased to announce the 5 finalists for the ICT Challenge 2013, the competition seeking businesses to accelerate entrepreneurship & innovation in Burundi, Liberia, Rwanda, Kosovo, and Palestine. Congratulations to Fabrice Mutekano from Burundi, Henri Nyakarundi and Innocent Munyaneza from Rwanda, Salah Ahmed from Palestine and Amos Sando from Liberia. These finalists were chosen out of close to 50 applications on account of their potential for growth, creativity and the overall quality of their business plan. They are invited for an all-expense paid business trip to the Netherlands in October 2013, including their participation at the event Implementing Inclusive Innovations. Thanks again to all participants, our jury and our partners. Stay tuned for more information about the event. The 5 Finalists: African Renewable Energy Distributor Country: Rwanda A.R.E.D. was founded in 2013, we designed and developed our first product called Mobile charging Kiosk (MCK) charja Vuba that is a one stop shop for our telecom customers. Our primary service is charging cell phones, but we also sell phones, airtime, do mobile money transfers. Charja Vuja will be operated by local franchisees. Each franchisee will lease the unit and have freedom to take the MCK unit to a specific location to serve their customers. Target areas will be markets, bus stops, and other areas where people gather both in urban and rural areas. Each franchisee will be required to enroll in our high quality training program before becoming an MCK unit operator. Franchisees will learn how to operate the unit and manage customers. **** E-Business in Rwanda Country: Rwanda E-business is a new kind of business in Rwanda.This is an online business, using a website...

The ICT Challenge 2013: Accelerating Entrepreneurship & Innovation through ICT

Amsterdam, February 18 2013 – The ICT Challenge 2013, supports ICT entrepreneurship in five emerging markets: Burundi, Liberia, Rwanda, Kosovo, and Palestine. This business plan competition – organized by BiD Network, in collaboration with Investment Partners; eVentures Africa Fund, SEAF, and the Palestinian Investment Fund (PIF), and Coaching Partner; Ernst & Young and Event Partner; TNO – aims to identify high potential business ideas, provide international exposure and finance. Information and communication technologies (ICT) draw societies and cultures together; strengthening economies, enterprises and communities around the world. The impact of ICT is magnified in emerging markets as it contributes to the development of education, health, markets, social capital and trust. Yet the industry still requires incubation in order to flourish, with 25% of the world’s population still unconnected from the benefits of such technologies. [*1] The ICT Challenge 2013 provides entrepreneurs with the assistance of the BiD Network coaching program, the access to a network of like-minded entrepreneurs, coaches and investors, and the opportunity to present their business plan to committed ready-to-invest financiers. ‘African SMEs are rapidly developing localized applications, content, platforms and solutions enabling over a billion Africans to use the web for communication, business, e-learning, and transactions. eVA Fund aims to capture the vast potential of digital media in Sub-Saharan Africa. We are delighted to partner BiD Network, who have proven effective at identifying potential investment opportunities, and training entrepreneurs to a matchmaking level’ says Vincent Kouwenhoven, founder eVentures Africa Fund. The ICT Challenge seeks businesses: • operating in one of the five following countries: Burundi, Rwanda, Liberia, Kosovo, or Palestine, • ICT focused, • growth  potential and a finance need of USD $10,000 to $1...