Building Markets' Sustainability

Our goal is not to have our projects be sustainable, but rather help to make the local businesses we work with more sustainable. By helping businesses become more robust, we aim to build the economies of developing nations, reducing their dependence on aid and making them more resilient.

Impact on individual businesses

Our most obvious and direct impact is on the businesses we work with and is described by our results metrics, such as dollar value of contracts facilitated. Winning contracts enables these businesses to reinvest profits in skills and capital. This is how we help to make businesses more sustainable:

How do we help business become more sustainable?


Impact on 'the market'

Our impact on the local market as a whole is more wide-reaching. While this is difficult to measure, the marketplace services contribute to sustainability in local marketplaces by increasing:


 *See our impact research from Afghanistan and Haiti


Once Building Markets is fully operational in a country, we develop a context-specific exit plan, which involves considering the continuation or handover of each service separately.  Some services may outlive their usefulness in the marketplace and be subject to various levels of risk, while others continue to be in high demand and can be effectively handed over to local public or private entities.

In Afghanistan, for example, training and tender distribution services were handed over to the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (  In Haiti, training and tender distribution services were handed over to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry ( have also handed over the business data we collected over the life of the projects to local entities.

Why hand over some services and not others?

  • We focus on the highest impact services for which there is continuing demand in the marketplace. 
  • Some services have a catalytic or demonstration function enabling international buyers to connect with local businesses for the first time. Once those business relationships are established, those services are no longer in high demand.
  • Some services are more heavily geared towards suppliers and therefore continue to be valuable in facilitating business-to-business connections regardless of the size or trajectory of the international buyer presence in the country.