Growing SMEs East Africa: November 21, 2013

Growing SMEs East Africa: November 21, 2013

Growing SMEs East Africa 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 to Markets and Access to Finance.

The afternoon program consists of the Marketplace and Get In The Ring Rwanda pitch battle. The marketplace is the part of the program where pre-selected entrepreneurs from emerging markets will present their companies to investors and peers. All entrepreneurs will have been through a rigorous selection process from BiD Network and its partners. Get In The Ring is an investment pitching concept in which two pre-selected entrepreneurs pitch at the same time, called a battle. Every battle consists of five short rounds, in which they have to convince the champions (the jury of financiers) of their businesses.

The Growing SMEs marketplace grew out of BiD Challenge 2005, the first international business plan competition. 18 entrepreneurs from all over the world went to Amsterdam to pitch their companies to investors. Since that year international SME marketplaces have been organized on annual basis and have grown consistently in the number of participants and the quality of business plans. This year BiD Network is organizing the Growing SMEs conference in Kigali, Rwanda and Veracruz, Mexico.

About RDB 

The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is responsible for fast tracking Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. RDB’s scope of work involves working with and addressing the needs of companies of all sizes; Large and also Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs). RDB supports SME development by offering Enterprise support services and Business Incubation. For more information visit

About JCI 

Rwanda Junior Chamber International (JCI) Rwanda is a chapter of the JCI worldwide community. This consists of 200,000 young citizens aged 18-40. JCI Rwanda started in 2004 and has more than 300 active members; most of whom are entrepreneurs and young professionals. Their run business plan competitions, coach in business plan writing, inspire leadership, networking and Ready for Finance training. For more information visit

About BiD Network 

BiD Network sources and selects business plans of small and medium sized companies (SMEs) in emerging markets. BiD Network offers tools, contacts and coaching to the best entrepreneurs, paving the way for them to access finance and start or expand their business. BiD Network actively connects investors to the best SMEs with a financing need of USD 10,000 and 5 million. For more information visit

For more information please contact Anneke Evers at

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