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Scaling up: Imitation being the highest form of flattery.

Last year I blogged about  a minor case of “Imitation being the highest form of flattery“.  Rather than a street vendor drawing our logo on the side of his mobile kiosk, the Timorese Government and a UN Agency have picked up our project model approach.

Its quite flattering actually.

Two weeks ago the Ministry of Economic Development and the Institute for Business Support (Instituto de Apoio ao Desenvolvimento Emprezarial – IADE) launched a website for a business development effort very much like the Marketplace project we ran in Timor-Leste from 2007 to 2011.

Out with the old:


And in with the new:

2012 onwards

We set up a searchable online business directory, as they now are.  We ran a Tender Distribution Service, as they now are. We ran a Business Matchmaking Service, as they are now.  We had a training service for a while too, as they now are.  This mimicking of the Marketplace project model is very gratifying.  There are a few other similar services on offer, but the new IADE effort has a couple of twists which will add value, such as the business counseling service run via its network of district based Business Development Centres.

You can read about our impact here, I very much look forward to reading more about IADE’s impact in due course.

Some may ask, why re-invent the wheel?  Well we were in talks with the Government to transfer our project services over a period of time, but given the vagaries of donor decision making, the Government muddle between the Ministry of Economic Development, and the Ministry of Tourism Commerce and Industry (MTCI) it just all fell through a hole in the ground.  A shame really.  You can see mock ups of our effort to transfer part of our service site to MTCI in late 2010, early 2011.

MTCI business database frontpage

Supplier profile page

In any event – the Marketplace project website managed to get 60,000 page views since we closed down last year, but now with this similar service going we will turn off the site.

Good luck to IADE – be sure to visit their site ( if you are looking to do business in Timor-Leste.


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