Building Markets Champions Female Engineer Working to Build Liberia

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Ruth Coker Collins, founder of Tabitha Renaissance Engineering & Design, has been an avid user of Building Markets’ USAID-funded SMI-L services since 2013. She originally contacted Building Markets because, after establishing her business, she found it difficult to identify larger clients and locate relevant tenders. Through SMI-L’s Tender Distribution Service (TDS), she now receives daily updates on tenders specific to her business. Tabitha Renaissance Engineering & Design also has a profile on the SMI-L Supplier Directory, …

Myanmar SMEs: Get Ready for Investment!

SMEs participate in the information session on the Champion Investment Program during GEW in November
The economy in Myanmar is rapidly expanding following the political and economic reforms that have opened the market to foreign investment. Positioned between the economic powerhouses of China and India, Myanmar has the potential to develop a robust international market. However, many businesses in Myanmar do not fully understand the process of opening their doors to foreign investment, limiting their ability to get involved. These businesses, especially small and medium size enterprises (SMEs), …

Swamps, Snakes & Sawyers: Logging Data on Liberia's Forests

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In February 2016, a team from Building Markets traveled to Maryland County in southeastern Liberia to meet with stakeholders and conduct research. This included collecting data for our next Extractive Overview Report on the forestry sector, which will be released later this year. Nearly 20% of the MSMEs Building Markets works with are in the Construction and Renovation sector but data is limited, thus illustrating the need to conduct a domestic timber value chain analysis. …

Emprema, an Emerging Recipe for Successful Women’s Entrepreneurship in Mozambique

Emprema members at Building Markets' event, The SME Reality and the Participation of Women in August 2015
Emprema is a diversified association of female entrepreneurs in Matola. It represents 68 women who operate businesses ranging from sewing and catering to agriculture and aviculture. Emprema offers strong support to its members, especially those far from urban centers. For instance, some of the female entrepreneurs are based in southern Matola, which is 40 km away from Maputo City. Given that it takes at least an hour for those women to travel by public transportation into Maputo City in order to attend Building Markets training sessions, …

Growing Slowly, Growing Steadily: The Yi-Tachura Association in Mozambique

The Yi-Tachura Association machamba, or small garden
The story of the Yi-Tachura Association starts with Glória Chambude, a burst of optimism and kindness who decided, after working for 15 years on her own, to open a part of her ‘machamba’ (small garden) to fellow farmers in 2014. Since then, 12 women and 3 men have joined Glória to work on her farmland, which is 72 hectares in total. The Yi-Tachura business model is inspiring. They joined forces and formed an association through which they pool resources and share knowledge and skills across their value chain, …

Bringing Bankers and Guarantee Providers Together to Increase SME Access to Finance

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Collateral, a common concept in formal economies like the United States and Canada, is a huge barrier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Mozambique. While financially educated loan applicants in the country understand that lacking collateral is an issue, less experienced businesses have often never heard of the term. Lacking assets to qualify as collateral makes a loan application too risky to be approved by a bank, however, it does not mean that Mozambican SMEs must be excluded from the formal credit system. …

Monrovia's "Cassava Queen" Dreams Up New Ways to Extend Her Reign

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Wedour Emily Freeman has big ideas. She owns and operates Bravo-Sister Enterprise, a business that produces and packages gari (also known as tapioca), flour made from ground cassava tubers, and other cassava products. Currently, Emily supplies local markets but, with support from Building Markets’ USAID Sustainable Marketplace Initiative-Liberia (SMI-L), she plans to export her goods to other countries on a regular basis. Emily established Bravo-Sister Enterprise in 2012 and it was one of the first businesses Building Markets verified in Liberia and registered on the SMI-L Supplier Directory. …

Access to Finance Training Brings Down Barriers Between SMEs and Banks

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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, …

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