Science - January 19, 2006

Business plans against poverty

A good business plan can help to reduce poverty. This is the idea behind the Business in Development Challenge, a competition in which people from developing countries and also from the North can submit a business plan.

The prizes consist of start-up finance for the ten best plans, and coaching for those starting a business. People at Wageningen UR will provide some of the coaching. Last year, the first time the competition was held, Rogier Verschoor of the IAC coached a new company in Nicaragua that was starting small-scale processing of cacao. Verschoor was also involved in screening the business plans that were submitted to select the most promising.

Wageningen UR is supporting partner once again this year for the Business Challenge, and a number of employees will be screening the entries and providing coaching for starters. The organiser of the competition at NCDO (National Committee for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development), Thierry Sanders, hopes in this way to provide new entrepreneurs with access to expertise and networks. Last year Fair Venture, the organisation set up for the project, received a thousand entries. In addition to the ten winners, another fifteen also received start-up finance from other investors. Sanders hopes this will happen again this year. / JT

Information: www.bidchallenge.nl

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