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Best Practices voor een duurzame toekomst
24 november 2007

Bid Challenge: 3,427 business plans mix development and profit

The competition offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop and execute business plans that improve living standards in developing countries at a profit. BID believes this helps directly reduce poverty; it generates jobs, income and spurs the local economy.

The number of applicants has grown over the years. This year the BID Network Foundation received 3,427 business plans of which 2,036 have been selected to go on to round one. In 2006 BID received 1600 plans of which 903 had been approved. And the quality of the plans is improving, says Leontien Peeters for the BID Network Foundation: "Our format is clearer, so applicants have a better idea of what we want. This is reinforced by the partnerships between BID and local organisations in developing countries. The fact that these partners are connected with an international network makes participation more prestigious for competitors."

This year the BID Network Foundation also organised national competitions in seven developing countries and aims to set up a total of twenty national competitions before 2010. Fourteen winners of the seven national BID Challenges will present their plans at the final on December 4th and compete for an extra international cash prize.

The national competitions were open to residents of the countries in question. The submitted business plans had to target the country of residence. Implementing the competition on a national level has many benefits. Language barriers are removed and local networks, finance and expertise can be mobilized for more effective results. By organising national competitions in different countries, the BID Network Foundation hopes to stimulate local markets for meso-finance and business development services.

During the first competition (2005) most business plans came through networks of development organisations. This is changing, which also has its effect on the plans. Peeters: "Thanks to the local presence in developing countries of banks like ING, Rabobank and FMO we are able to tap more hardcore businesses with a strong social and development component instead of idealistic development projects with a business component."

The ultimate aim of the competition is to bring about the start or growth of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with a strong development component. The BID Network Foundation claims it is very successful in achieving this. Peeters: "We try to follow these enterprises as well as we can. We can't hold the BID Challenge responsible for all the jobs that have been created by the SMEs, but we think they run into the thousands."

P+ webtip: BiD Network

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