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...

Success story: investment for Ugandan eco-resort Banana Village

21 years ago, Jemimah Semakadde started an eco-resort near Entebbe in Uganda. Initially meant as affordable holiday accommodation for local travelers, today Banana Village welcomes visitors from all over the world. With the help of BiD Network, Jemimah was able to find the investment needed to further expand and improve her resort. Banana Village was founded in 1994. “We bought the place to build a family home. However, the property is quite extensive and this brought us to the idea to start a budget accommodation to cater for our local people who could not afford the more expensive hotels, especially for their honeymoons.” Around 2000, more and more visitors from outside Uganda and Africa started to discover Uganda and enjoyed their stay at Banana Village. Via the website and Trip Advisor, guests from all around the world find out about the resort and share their recommendations. Still staying within an affordable price range, Banana Village is able to offer a comfortable place to stay in a peaceful and natural environment: “it is what people come here for and what they enjoy most.” What did you need the investment for? “From the start, we have been able to reach a domino effect: as we would build one hut, it would provide us with the money to build the next one, and so on. It has been going on like that until I received the investment needed and was enabled to put a much bigger effect on the property.” Before the investment, Banana Village had 21 rooms. The loan made it possible for Jemimah to add another 9 rooms at once,...

Interview: Rwandan Mobile Technology company HeHe Labs

Clarisse Iribagiza is the co-founder and CEO of HeHe Labs, a Rwandan Mobile Technology research and innovation lab. The company offers mobile solutions for different sectors, such as agriculture, infrastructure and healthcare, as well as code programs for schools and universities in Rwanda. BiD Network arranged a business trip to the Netherlands for Clarisse, filled with B2B meetings and an opportunity to pitch her business during our investor cocktail on March 26nd. She’s hoping to find investment to keep her business growing. HeHe Labs was founded in August of 2010, when Clarisse had finished a program in mobile technology and entrepreneurship during her studies in computer engineering. “The program made me realize I could build something meaningful with the skills I had developed during my studies. HeHe means “where” in Kinyarwanda and is based on the first application we built during the program, which was location-based and helped people to get around and find their way in Kigali. Working on this application helped us acquiring the skills needed to build different types of mobile information systems.” Can you tell a bit more about the sectors HeHe Labs is focusing on and some of your current applications? “I would say we are an engineering firm; our work is around research and product development. The applications we develop are quite diverse but all focused on helping organizations improve their operational efficiency through the use of ICT and specifically mobile technologies. Up to 80% of our population is involved in agriculture in some way. We have built a value chain agriculture application, as ICT enables to improve how agriculture is done. On...

Finishing Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014 with 3 final events

Friday November 21 we closed both Global Entrepreneurship Week and our Women in Business week with 3 spectacular final events: the Women in Business Challenge final, the Ondernemen Zonder Grenzen final and the international final of Get in the Ring: the Investment Battle. BiD Network played a major role in all finals, which were held in the beautiful Van Nelle Fabriek in Rotterdam. Women in Business final Our 9 Women in Business participants were on a business trip in the Netherlands this last week. The BiD Network team prepared a busy schedule full of B2B meetings, training sessions and networking moments for each of them. During the final event on Friday, the 5 finalists had to pitch their businesses for the jury and audience. The finalists were Yuli Torres from Peru with the business Sumaq Qara, Suzana Moreira from South Africa with her business moWoza, Ana Barrera from Colombia with her business Aflore, Claudia Esparza from Peru with her business Nasas y Amas, and Dora Karani from Burundi presenting her business Garden City. The final event was opened by Hendrik van Gent, director of BiD Network, followed by a word of welcome from Leon Wijnands, Global Head of Sustainability at ING. The topics women entrepreneurship and financing were further in-depth discussed by Saskia Vossenberg, researcher at the Maastricht School of Management, and Zairah Khan, founder of VIVEinvest. After this it was time for the pitches of the finalists, followed by Q&A sessions with the audience. All 5 finalists gave impressive pitches, on which they had a lot of training and practice in the days before. Finally, it was time...

21 November: 1 location, 3 final events, 25 finalists

Global Entrepreneurship Week is coming up and BiD Network is honored to be part of three final events that will be held on the same day and the same location. The final event of the Women in Business Challenge, the final event of Dutch competition Ondernemen Zonder Grenzen and the main event of the day, the international final of Get in the Ring: the Investment Battle, all take place on November 21 in Rotterdam. The international final of Get in the Ring will close off Global Entrepreneurship Week in the Netherlands. Women in Business This year BiD Network and ING organized the 5th edition of the Women in Business Challenge. The 5 finalists are inspiring women entrepreneurs from Burundi, South Africa, Peru and Colombia. Additionally, we have selected the 4 best applicants from Kosovo, Rwanda, Liberia and Palestine. During Global Entrepreneurship Week they will all be visiting Amsterdam for a week full of training, business2business and investor meetings and the final event on November 21. Together they represent a broad range of sectors, including mobile technology, financial services and employment services. The winning entrepreneur will be announced during the final event and receives a € 5,000 prize to start and grow her company. Click here for more information about the competition and the finalists. If you are interested in joining the final event of Women in Business please contact Sanne Boogers: sanne.boogers@bidnetwork.org Ondernemen Zonder Grenzen Ondernemen Zonder Grenzen is a business plan competition organized by NCDO and BiD Network in collaboration with EY and De Investeerdersclub for Dutch entrepreneurs with business plans in Africa, Asia or Latin America. This...