Access to Finance Training Brings Down Barriers Between SMEs and Banks

Access to Finance Training Session
When Building Markets launched its Access to Finance (A2F) program in Mozambique in early 2014, the team witnessed firsthand the difficulties small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) faced when applying for financing. Nearly every business was interested in accessing new lines of formal credit, but the process was challenging, especially for first time borrowers. After meetings with banks, Building Markets found loan officers clearly interested in increasing the supply of their SME clientele. …

A Year in Review: Building Markets Liberia Presents 2015 Market Overview Report

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A year ago, containing the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and reducing the escalating number of cases was the number one priority in Liberia. Now, the public health emergency has receded and focus has shifted from disease containment to economic recovery. To mark the year that began with such uncertainty and ended on a more hopeful note, Building Markets’ USAID Sustainable Marketplace Initiative-Liberia (SMI-L) is pleased to present its annual market overview report: Liberian Businesses: the Engines of Economic Recovery and Growth. …

Celebrating the Future of Entrepreneurship in Myanmar

Youth and Employment Forum in Hpa An
Myanmar’s National League for Democracy (NLD) won a landslide victory in the country’s general election this past November, opening the door to further progressive movement for the rapidly developing country.  This national election, the first since Myanmar transitioned to a civilian government after five decades of military rule, was peaceful, credible, and reflected the will of the people, who voted for the NDL majority in both rural and urban regions.  While the country still faces barriers to a free and fair democracy, …

2015 MSME Conference Shines Spotlight on Liberian Entrepreneurs

A panel including Minister of Commerce & Industry (MoCI) Axel Addy discusses the E+ Program, a MoCI and IFC co-sponsored MSME empowerment program designed to promote youth entrepreneurship thorough training and access to finance.
For the third year in a row, Building Markets worked with the Liberian Government’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) and other partners to produce the MSME Conference and Trade Fair. This annual event brings together SMEs and stakeholders to discuss challenges and opportunities local firms face and to showcase successful SMEs. This year’s conference, attended by over 450 people, highlighted Youth Entrepreneurship for Economic Empowerment and introduced the Entrepreneur-Plus (E+) program, …

SME Relies on SMI-L Services to Train Staff and Form Business Connections

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Athanase K. Kintiga and his wife, Augusta Davis, started their restaurant, Eden Park Cafeteria & Catering Services (Eden Park), in 2012 in Gbarnga, Bong County. Mr. Kintiga has a background in agriculture and previously provided training in animal husbandry. Ms. Davis has extensive experience in a variety of sectors, including restaurant and business management, cooking and pastry making. Together, they use their well-rounded skill set to run their business. After spending time consulting for NGOS and training students on agricultural processes, …

Building Markets Liberia Takes its Show on the Road

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After driving for two hours on the paved road to Buchanan, the trip to Sinoe County cuts through the jungle along a red, rutted road. Between stretches of deep green foliage are villages, colorful with drying laundry and goods to sell and lively with children playing and animals wandering. Located in southeastern Liberia, Sinoe is one of the country’s least populated counties. At dusk, Greenville, Sinoe’s capital, has something akin to Midwestern small town charm—a water tower presides over the town square and people gather at the local “drive-in” (chairs set up in front of a television in a gas station’s work bay, …

Market Linkages are Critical to Local SME Development

Milva Boaventura discusses Building Markets with potential clients at FACIM; Photo courtesy of Developing Market Associates
In August, CNBCAfrica.com weighed in on a popular topic within Mozambican media and policy-making circles with the article “How Mozambique Can Benefit More from Its Massive Gas Discovery”. Journalist Tendai Dube argued that building local business skills and growing the banking sector are essential measures to capitalizing on the country’s abundant natural resources. Yet, these two actions are not entirely sufficient. For example, here in Mozambique, many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may achieve the requisite capacity to compete for contracts but can still go unseen by large multinational companies. …

Ebola Free, Liberia Introduces Reforms to Encourage Business Growth

HE Joseph N. Boakai, Vice President of the Republic of Liberia; Photo courtesy of Developing Market Associates
Running a business in Liberia is hard. Last year, the World Bank ranked Liberia 174 out of 189 countries for its ease of doing business. This environment is particularly difficult for SMEs, which often lack the capacity or networks to navigate the business environment and access new opportunities. New signs show that the government is taking this issue seriously, and we at Building Markets are excited to see the results. On September 3rd  2015, …

SMI-L Advanced Bid Compilation Training Facilitates Over $6.8 Million in Contracts

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One of the primary obstacles Liberian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face when competing for contracts is assembling a complete and effective bid document. Bid documents are lengthy and include a number of technical components, especially for larger buyers, and businesses must follow very specific processes when compiling and submitting their bids. In response, SMI-L developed “Advanced Bid Compilation” training and introduced it in July 2013. Since its debut, SMI-L has delivered eight two-day sessions to 61 participants. …

Building Markets Connects SMEs to New Heineken Brewery

Myanmar suppliers, led by Building Markets' Matchmaking Manager Moung Kee Aung, meeting with Heineken.
On July 13th, Heineken opened the doors of its new brewery in Hmawbi Township, Myanmar, just outside of the capital, Yangon. The world’s third largest brewer is committed to having a positive social and economic impact, which will include creating 200 local jobs. At their inaugural event, Heineken’s CEO spoke about the importance of leveraging the company’s resources to engage the local market and develop a strong workforce. Building Markets is very pleased to announce that we are assisting Heineken in these efforts. …

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