Biogas Digesters Empower Dairy Farmers in Uganda

Biogas Digesters Empower Dairy Farmers in Uganda

Imagine: you live in a rural, off-grid village in Uganda. A few years ago, you invested your scarce savings in 5 calves. It seemed a wise investment: unlike maize or rice, cows provide income on a daily basis. However, in reality, the milk business turns out frustrating: Due to a lack of electricity and hence a cold storage facility, you can only milk once a day. Also, the traders take unfair advantage of your lack of cold storage and show up at the end of the day, offering rock-bottom prices.  Instead of the $13.80/day you could potentially earn, you earn only $4.5/day. Biogas powered fridges increase farmers revenues “This unfair power play is exactly what motivated our first clients to sign up for our biogas- powered gas fridge”, explains Gabriel Okello, COO of Green Heat. “Many of them had never heard of biogas technology, were unfamiliar with gas-fridges and hence had concerns about the performance and lifetime of the system. However, they were so frustrated with the status quo that they took the risk and invested $3,000, a very significant amount of money. Luckily, the biogas- digester proved to be a profitable investment: 4 of the first 5 customers used the fridge to expand their business activities, by adding more cows or by producing yogurt. The good news travelled fast and in the following months, 23 more farmers ordered a system.   Sustainable alternative for firewood Gabriel and his co-founder Vianney, established Green Heat in 2011. “The business idea all started out of laziness”, Gabriel tells laughingly. “I grew up in a rural village and as a kid, I...
DEALS, DEALS, DEALS

DEALS, DEALS, DEALS

How come businesses that have been labelled “investment-ready” rarely receive an investment? How come businesses complain they perceive access to capital to be a major hurdle, whilst investors complain there is a lack of high-quality deal-flow? The day before SANKALP in Nairobi various stakeholders came together to discuss these questions. BiD Network is one of the intermediaries seeking to bridge this gap, by working with both (informal) investors and entrepreneurs simultaneously. The gap still remains here, and whilst incubators and accelerators were reflecting on how they themselves could further facilitate the connection to investors, we invited investors to join us for an investor circle to discuss how to improve good quality deal-flow. Not surprisingly, the two frequently named issues passed the revue: 1) Talent gap – there is a strong focus on “the idea,” and whilst this is important for the potential scalability of the company, initially it is more about the management team’s capacity to execute that determines scalability. 2) Financial records gap – frequently multiple books are being kept. Even when businesses have been going through the deal-making process it has happened more than once that in the final stages the investor finds out there is yet another loan they were unaware of. Investors then are forced to discontinue the deal-making process to either prevent over indebtedness or because trust has been lost. It should be mentioned that all investors underlined the importance of a holistic approach. Whilst ranking the gaps, they unanimously mentioned the absence of any of their requirements translates into the business not being considered ready for an investment. The absence of trust, transparency,...
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...

Promising entrepreneurs from Kosovo to Holland

Guest post by blogger Stevan van Dijk of www.kosovo-info.com KOSOVO – Two Kosovar companies with a lot of potential to grow, will visit The Netherlands in October this year. Both of the companies are active in the food processing industry and are looking for Dutch investors, customers, partners, and experts to let their business grow. ‘Rizona’ sells both high quality fresh and canned vegetables. This will be an amount of 250 tons of vegetables, in the year 2015. The owner of the company is Bashkim Bytyqi. The other company, ‘Edona’, is specialized in selling sweet pastries like baklava, the famous ‘Turkish’ delicacy. Edona delivers her goods to many big supermarkets, restaurants and hotels. But her product does not stay in Kosovo, as also other European countries are interested. Owner of the company, Fatmire Maliqi, received the title of ‘most successful businesswoman of Kosovo’, in 2014. Owners of both of the companies will visit Amsterdam on the 7th and 8th of October to meet potential partners. If you are interested in the program, and the possibility to meet (one of the) owners, you can send an email to Annemarie van Mossel of BiD Network (annemarie.vanmossel@bidnetwork.org). She has also more information regarding the two promising companies. Interested in more about doing business 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...