The Unique Opportunity for Syrian Entrepreneurs: A Conversation with the Syrian Economic Forum

Syrian Economic Forum will host the event, Promoting Business Formality for Syrian Entrepreneurs in Gaziantep on November 18, 2016 at the Gaziantep Chamber of Commerce. To attend this event, email gew@syrianef.org.
As the Syrian conflict is nearing its sixth year, causing enormous loss of life and displacement, the humanitarian needs have been acute and urgent. With the country in disarray, including its previously vibrant urban business centers of Damascus and Aleppo, it may seem out of place to talk about entrepreneurship now. However, starting and growing businesses continues to be a part of Syrian life, as it has been for centuries, both at home and in the diaspora, …

GEW is Here and We Can’t Wait to Celebrate Myanmar’s Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

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Today marks the beginning of the world’s biggest annual celebration of entrepreneurship. From competitions to workshops to networking gatherings, Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) connects participants with collaborators, mentors, and even investors. Building Markets is thrilled to be hosting Myanmar’s fifth annual GEW – and with more than 50 partners and 60 events scheduled across the country, it promises to be the most exciting, yet. Now is the perfect time to encourage aspiring innovators to start new companies in Myanmar. …

SME Partners with Building Markets to Create Culture of Workplace Safety

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After 30 years of working for the Ministry of Labor, Philip H. Davis had a firm understanding of the problems employees faced in the workplace. After retiring from the Ministry, Mr. Davis contacted two of his friends, Wanyi Harrison and Jacob Nagbe, and shared his vision to create a culture of workplace safety in Liberia. In 2011, the three established the West African Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (WAIOHS) as an NGO. …

SMEs in Nimba County Win Contracts, Train Youth

Nimba SMEs (2 of 1)
Ganta is the busy economic center of Nimba County and the second largest city in Liberia. Situated along the border with Guinea, businesses in Ganta benefit from the cross-border trade in the area, as well as from a strategic location on the well-paved road to Monrovia. Standard Metal Work Garage operates a noisy workshop on one of Ganta’s main thoroughfares. The business provides a number of metal works services, including welding, …

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. …

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