Bad news. Our high-impact and award-winning Marketplace project in Timor-Leste is shutting down due to a cut in donor funding - Building Markets

Bad news. Our high-impact and award-winning Marketplace project in Timor-Leste is shutting down due to a cut in donor funding

by Building Markets
June 4, 2010

Effective 1 July 2010 the award-winning Timor Marketplace project, and the “Buy Local, Build Timor-Leste” campaign operated by Peace Dividend Trust (PDT) will begin to phase out. Although the project has successfully redirected over $16m to Timorese entrepreneurs, it will be closing due to a lack of funding.  Unless additional donor support can be found, PDT will regrettably cease activities later in the year.

The results from the project to date are significant. Since launching operations in 2007, the PDT team in Timor-Leste has accelerated over $16 million of confirmed new spending on Timorese entrepreneurs. The estimated result is as high as $23 million.  The project has facilitated more than 10,000 contracts through its matchmaking services with a total value of nearly $8 million. Of these nearly $7 million were directed into economically disadvantaged rural areas. In addition to this the Tender Distribution service successfully closed 261 tenders with a total value of over $8 million.  The annual economic impact of the project is comparable to 0.41% of GDP in 2007; 1.51% in 2008, and 0.91% in 2009.

This project was launched to address the critical problem that only a small fraction of international money being spent to support Timor Leste is actually spent on Timorese businesses.  The vast majority goes to international companies and consultants. The Marketplace project fixes this by providing services that drive donor spending into the local economy, which in turn generates wealth, creates jobs, and produces tax revenue.

The project has provided five services to connect international buyers with Timorese suppliers.

  1. Business Verification: presently the project’s Business Verification team, in cooperation with the MTCI, has verified 2,700 businesses in Timor-Leste, and each has a unique business profile found at  The Timor-Leste site is due for an upgrade to a full Timor-Leste Business Portal in the next 3-4 weeks.  This team has also generated key reports on the state of the private sector and the labour market in Timor-Leste, found here. Since its launch on 20 May 2008, Timor-Leste at has had 20,000 visits with business profiles being viewed 98,000 times.
  2. Matchmaking: The project Matchmaking Team pro actively connects international and national buyers and domestic suppliers across the country.  To date the Matchmaking Team has facilitated or created over 14,000 business transactions with a confirmed value of $8 million.
  3. Tender Distribution: The Tender Distribution Service (TDS) pushes tenders via email, the web, SMS and hardcopy to businesses in Timor-Leste.  It has provided support services to businesses in developing their bids.  To date the TDS has distributed 496 tenders to 23,000 recipients (many repeat clients).  The value of tenders won by PDT clients is over $8,000,000
  4. Marketing: The Marketing and Advocacy Team manages the Buy Local Build Timor-Leste campaign, which creates awareness and knowledge about the project and the domestic private sector in general.
  5. Training: The training activities were suspended in 2008 due to lack of funding, but 2008 saw PDT launch “Doing Business with UNDP” guidebooks in 2008, designed to assist local business win tenders with UNDP.

PDT works across Timor-Leste’s 13 districts, assisting over 2,700 businesses, the Ministry of Tourism Commerce and Industry (MTCI) and other national partners.  They stand to lose a useful service when the Marketplace project closes in July 2010.

The Peace Dividend Marketplace Timor-Leste project was launched in August 2007. It has field offices in Baucau, Covalima, and Viqueque and works with local businesses in each of Timor-Leste’s 12 rural districts in addition to Dili.  The Marketplace project supports long-term economic recovery by increasing procurement of goods and services available in country.  In 2009, after on an in-depth field analysis of the project, the US-based Skoll Foundation awarded PDT a $750,000 prize and the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship due to the innovative and high impact nature of the project.

PDT is grateful to the Ministry of Tourism Commerce and Industry (MTCI) for its partnership to date, and to its donors, AusAID, the Government of Norway, Eni, the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives and the Arsenault Family Foundation.

For more information please contact Edward Rees at +670 735 1078 or [email protected]

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