The Ripple Effects of Small Business Support: A Conversation with Solutions Journalism Network - Building Markets

The Ripple Effects of Small Business Support: A Conversation with Solutions Journalism Network

by Building Markets
April 24, 2023

Building Markets is consistently moving the needle to help small businesses access more market opportunities than ever before! In a recent conversation with Erica J. Edwards from Solutions Journalism Network for the Solutions Insights Lab, Building Markets’ CEO Radha Rajkotia highlighted the ways in which small business support translates into job opportunities, along with other lasting benefits like better outcomes for families and communities.

Speaking on our work in Türkiye, Radha explained how supporting entrepreneurship among the Syrian refugee community has brought tremendous impact to many, especially in light of the recent earthquakes. “All of those aid flows that are going into the country, they need actors on the ground to be able to actually respond and deliver services,” Radha pointed out. This is a major opportunity to include local, small businesses. For example, 75 local restaurants in Building Markets’ network are already helping to provide food relief to earthquake survivors and countless tender opportunities are becoming available as they rebuild.

When Erica inquired about what makes Building Markets’ approach unique for the problem we’re solving at Building Markets, Radha shared: “Most of the work that’s geared towards small business development is really often geared towards human capital development…You very rarely see a focus just on market access.” She elaborated to say, “Our assumption is that even a business that doesn’t have the best financial management practices, or doesn’t have the best management practices, if you give them a lucrative enough opportunity, they’ll work it out.” Sharing these opportunities gives everyone, regardless of background, the chance to earn income, offer jobs, and inspire others.

“What we’re able to do is really take advantage of their language and cultural links, and we support them to create new opportunities. Using these kinds of approaches over time in a number of different countries, we’ve generated about $1.3 billion in contracts and 74,000 jobs,” Radha said. We’re seeing long-lasting results from this model. Simple support can unlock exponential potential.

On Building Markets as a catalyst for change, Radha said, “There is a really strong push in international development to localize where decisions are made, to localize where funds are sent, from an international aid perspective. A lot of that focuses on local nonprofits and local community led organizations, which is awesome. What we want to do is make sure that local businesses are also part of that conversation because they are such a core part of how markets function and how aid is delivered and where resources and capabilities lie.”

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