Press Release May 2012
Leading Entrepreneurs, Investors and Experts Gather to Accelerate SME Growth in Emerging Markets
Kigali, Rwanda – After six successful editions, Growing SMEs will be held on 17-18 May 2012 in Kigali, Rwanda. This premium marketplace will highlight successful strategies and businesses to explore and activate the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) development in East Africa and beyond.
‘Growing SMEs seeks to identify a new generation of entrepreneurs and get them growing a business that creates jobs and supports emerging market economies’ says Thierry Sanders, Founder of BiD Network Foundation. This year, BiD Network and partners will recognize and reward these leaders in Kigali, Rwanda.
Day one is a unique combination of presentations, focus sessions, workshops and panel discussions. The Forum will bring together renowned experts, entrepreneurs and financiers to share knowledge, ideas and latest trends in SME growth and finance. The Forum speakers include, among others: Gert van Veldhuisen, Founder of Investors Club Netherlands, Jorge Jaramillo, Board Member of Antioquia Business Angel Network and Wanjohi Ndagu, Partner, Pearl Capital.
On day two, 21 high growth entrepreneurs will showcase their emerging market businesses at the Marketplace and will pitch to 110 prospective financiers. Entrepreneurs from 12 countries undergo rigorous selection, expert guidance and training sessions. This year, the finalists include an expert IT company from Burundi that creates and installs medical softwares, a community-oriented lighting solution from Rwanda for rural Africa and an affordable solar lantern through innovative distribution from Kenya.
Investors will be introduced to viable market opportunities, will network with regional and international peers and will join a closed session on angel investing in East Africa.
Alex Verdone, Credit Suisse said “I gained a greater understanding of the participants in the SME universe and also met several individuals who are working to raise venture capital and funds to invest in emerging markets. I look forward to witnessing the journeys of the contacts I made at Growing SMEs.”
Since its creation in 2005, Growing SMEs gave exposure to 190 entrepreneurs, and welcomed 2700 participants in the Netherlands and in Colombia. Thanks to our partners JCI Rwanda, Rwanda Development Board, Enterprise Development Network, and Bernard Van Leer Foundation for making Growing SMEs happen.
For more information and to register for Growing SMEs, click here: http://rwanda-2012.growingsmes.org/
About BiD Network
BiD Network contributes to sustainable economic growth by stimulating entrepreneurship in emerging markets. With over 40,000 members and 10,000 business plans, BiDNetwork.org is the world's largest online community for emerging market SMEs, coaches and investors. Since 2005, BiD Network has launched 490 businesses, created more than 3500 direct jobs, and mobilized $12 million from investors. In November 2010, BiD Network was chosen by a G-20 jury as one of the 14 most innovative SME Finance organizations in the world.
About JCI Rwanda
Registered as a National Membership Organization with Rwandan legal status, Junior Chamber International (JCI) Rwanda is a chapter of the JCI worldwide community. This consists of 200,000 young active citizens aged 18-40. JCI Rwanda started in 2004 and has more than 200 active members; most of whom are young entrepreneurs owning SMEs and young professionals. Their main activities are business plan competitions organization, coaching in business plan writing, leadership, networking and Ready for Finance training. They seek outstanding members to inspire others.
Anneke Evers, East Africa Coordinator, BiD Network
Tel. + 250 784048404
Mob. +31 6 2489 7004