Branding the African optimistic way of life

Quake advertising

Programme Coach
Clo Willaerts
Company partner
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Immediately noticeable in Rwanda is that the advertising landscape is very small. Multinationals that establish themselves in Rwanda have their own branding that is ubiquitous, but local brands are rarely in the picture in advertising.

Quake advertising is a marketing and advertising agency that wants to ensure that these African brands become locally relevant. Quake's ambition is to position itself as an African advertising agency for African brands and markets. Maurice, the young entrepreneur behind Quake tries every day, together with his young team of very driven young developers, project managers, social media and PR experts, to make this dream come true, but he faces a number of challenges.

Employee retention and attracting big customers

After a positive feasibility study in early 2019, Exchange and Quake advertising decided to start a growth programme. In April 2019, a coach was appointed who identified the following challenges at Quake:

First of all, it is difficult for an advertising agency to attract and retain talented young developers. Indeed, many young talented developers are experiencing strong growth after recruitment and take the leap to larger companies with better paid jobs.

A second challenge is convincing large customers in order to extract more income. Quake works for many small customers, which proportionally provide a lot more work, while generating little income. By bringing in a few large customers, they can also continue to provide work for the smaller, local brands.

Exchange is committed to responding to these two challenges. The Exchange coach provides permanent coaching through bi-monthly contact. Together with Quake, other necessary Exchange expertise is now being further mapped. Together with a lot of optimism we try to realize the ambition of Quake.

We already believe in this African dream from Maurice & co!

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Tech solutions for Social and Economic Impact

 

UX

Programme Coach
Philippe Van Oosterzee 
Expert Team
Philippe Janssens
Company partner
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UX is an award-winning Mozambican company developing locally ­relevant, market­-driven and self-sustainable tech-based products and services for high social and economic impact in emerging markets. They pioneered a novel bootstrap approach for start­-ups in markets with no access to impact investment and poor services. This by providing affordable tech consultancies for development agencies and businesses in exchange for ownership of the products created. By using the know­-how of development experts and tying it to their product and business design experience, they have ensured that development programs become self­sufficient after donor fund depletion. This has allowed UX to create their own disruptive solutions by aligning commercial success to social good.

UX, based in Maputo, currently provides IT solutions and support to 3 different sectors:

  • Employment: providing platforms for web and mobile recruitment.
  • Education: implementing technologies for training and education.
  • Financial Inclusion: creating mobile services for the unbanked

Connecting Tradepeople with Customers

One of the most innovative products of UX is ‘Biscate’, an online job board, which connects tradespeople working in Mozambique’s informal economy (which far outweighs the formal sector) to middle-class customers, who once had to look for signs on trees to find a plumber or electrician. The service is designed to work not only on smartphones but on many workers’ low-cost basic handsets. At the last count, 47,000 workers were connected to 25,000 customers.

Low data costs leading to popularity of mobile money

Another sector UX is looking at is ‘informal finances’. Mobile money platforms such as Vodacom’s M-Pesa, which came to Mozambique in 2013 after being introduced in Kenya six years previously, are growing in popularity. In Mozambique, mobile data costs are among the cheapest in Africa: one gigabyte cost as little as $2.71, compared with $7.67 in neighbouring South Africa, according to an index from Research ICT Africa (2nd quarter 2018).

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Smart IT for a stronger health sector

ClinicMaster International

Programme Coach
Frank Louwers  
Expert Team
Jan Ghys
Jan Van Damme
Jo Leunis
Company partner
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Software to help people

The ICT company ClinicMaster International is to be found in Uganda’s lively capital cityThe SME was founded in 2013 and continues to grow today. ClinicMaster develops and sells a software programme that assists hospitals in the daily follow-up of their patientsIn the meantime, the software package is used in ninety different hospitals in Uganda, Kenyand South Sudan.  

The start-up mentality

Although the SME has now been active for five years, it still acts with a truly ambitious start-up mentality. The fifteen employees are involved in daily decisions and the long-term strategic choicesAccording to General Director and founder Wilson Kutega, this horizontal structure and co-creation are the secrets behind the success‘Our employees are more closely connected with our clients. They’re better placed to identify their needs than the management team ever could be,’ he claims. ‘The open communication and involvement of the personnel makes ClinicMaster what it is today: a great place to work, grow and develop your skills!’

Innovation that keeps you ahead of the competition

In a globalising world, this SME is also being confronted with increasing competition from national and international players. Players who are bringing more innovative products to the market and who can count on larger marketing budgets. It is up to ClinicMaster to maintain its market position in the sector and to invest in innovation and sustainable growth

Exchange and ClinicMaster signed a long-term partnership. In the meantime, also Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs has joined the partnership. The goal: to remain ahead of the competition and allow the SME to grow.

 

The SOME IQ action plan was born. It highlights six strategic goal (Sales, Organisation, Market & Marketing, Employees, Innovation and Quality). This ambitious action plan ensures ClinicMaster will grow its client portfolio through better quality and services. As a result of this, they will be able to create even more sustainable employment opportunities in the region. With the growth programme, Exchange and ClinicMaster are aiming to make ClinicMaster the leading IT company in the Ugandan health sector. 

Nieuws: Oegandese ondernemer op bezoek in België - Exchange vzw.

Ugandan entrepreneur visiting Belgium

in Uganda

eHealth: a booming Business

in Uganda

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Technology hub with outspoken social goals and a woman in charge

Mhub

Programme Coach
Maarten Van Eynde
Expert Team
Rik Michel
Yvan Rosseleer
Company partner
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MHub is a technology hub and business incubator in Lilongwe, Malawi. The company was founded in 2013 by Malawian tech-entrepreneur Rachel SibandeMHub stimulates technological entrepreneurs with training, competency development and mentoring. Through this, MHub aims to expand the ICT sector in Malawi and increase the employment opportunities across the country. The company has a very strong socio-economic profile and focuses on developing the talents of young people.  

MHub offers diverse services: 

  • Mentoring and incubation for tech start-ups; 
  • Organisation of hackathons and start-up courses; 
  • Partnerships with the business world and industry, aimed at the development of technological solutions; 
  • Software development. 

CISCO instructors and diverse revenue streams lead to high-quality growth

Well-trained professionals will be essential for setting up a market-oriented range of services. Trainers with internationally recognised certificates are of major added value for MHubEducated trainers may make the difference with the guiding of hackathons for younger people.  

As well as this, it is essential that MHub expands commercially. Only this way will it reduce its sensitivity to subsidies and gifts.  

There are two major benefits to a partnership between Exchange and MHub. Both the technological challenges (educated employees/trainers and an innovative and powerful offer) and the challenges in relation to business development (diversification of revenue streamsare being tackled, always with an eye on results.  

Concretely, this translates into the following goals for the growth programme:  

  • Certifying MHub trainers as CISCO trainers.
  • Developing high-quality and up-to-date technological services.
  • Guiding MHub in the commercialisation of their offer 

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Chamber of Commerce

SME development: industry and agriculture in the Kigoma regio

 

Discover this growth program...

Programme Coach: 

Johan Hosselaer 

Experts:

Eugene Nicolaes

Company Partners:

PASS Tanzania Image result for icoon link

Bank of Africa Tanzania Image result for icoon link

Kigoma is one of the poorest regions in Tanzania and receives very little attention from international donors. The region, however, has considerable potential for economic development. The Belgian development cooperation, in this region, focuses primarily in the areas of water supply and sustainable agriculture. For some years, Exchange has been developing activities in the region in order to realize maximum synergy with the federal development cooperation. Exchange explicitly focuses its interventions on the ground in support of the private sector. To this end, Exchange set up a first collaboration with the Tanzanian Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture in Kigoma (TCCIA) in 2015.

TCCIA was founded at national level in 1988 with the aim of strengthening private sector development by offering advocacy, information, service and training. The government supports policy activities of TCCIA but does not provide funds for the operation of the various chambers. The member contribution forms the operating resources for TCCIA. TCCIA is currently represented in all 92 regional districts. TCCIA Tanzania has more than 10 years of experience in setting up and managing Community Based Microfinance Groups (MFIs).

In the Kigoma region, TCCIA has been active since 1997 and has more than 2000 members (with various profiles, both family income-generating activities and SMEs). Since 2005, TCCIA Kigoma has been setting up MFIs as a way of offering financial services to very small businesses in the area.

An enabling environment for a powerful business climate, stimulating access to financial services and credit

The financial services organized by TCCIA, so-called MFIs, although well managed, are too small and fragmented to be effective and actually contribute to the business climate in Kigoma. Exchange has been active for several years in realizing entrepreneurship projects in Kigoma and recognizes that an innovative approach is necessary to create a truly 'enabling environment' for poverty reduction through entrepreneurship.

To this end, Exchange already cooperated with TCCIA Kigoma in 2015. Johan Hosselaer, a financial expert, took the first steps to further professionalize TCCIA's services. The conclusions of this initial collaboration were that TCCIA is a strong player in the field of granting microcredits, but that the actual provision of business development support to the SME's in the region is hardly discussed. Facilitating the access to affordable bank credits for this group turned out to be a very big need to create an 'enabling environment'. In 2017, the collaboration with TCCIA Kigoma was deepened and a growth program was set up in which TCCIA, in partnership with other local service providers and local banks, developed a structure in which TCCIA members have access to affordable bank credits combined with intensive business development guidance.

Development of a structural economic partnership

To realize this growth program and to guarantee its sustainability and local embedding, Exchange is working on the set up of a structural economic partnership in the region. The provision of financial services and business support is a new activity for TCCIA. Cooperation with regular service providers in these areas is therefore recommended. The growth program is in this sense both a program aimed at the further professionalization of TCCIA and a process aimed at realizing a local economic partnership in Kigoma.

  1. The core objectives in the detailed growth program are: Professionalize the services of TCCIA
  2. Making banking services accessible to SMEs in Kigoma
  3. Combining banking services with business support
  4. Maximum cooperation within local banks and business support initiatives

The goal of strengthening an entrepreneurial climate in Kigoma by offering accessible banking services and business support can only be realized within this broad partnership. Based on opportunities for each of the partners, a qualitative offer is being developed that delivers tangible results for the SMEs in Kigoma. The results of this growth program can therefore be detected at the SME level. At the same time, the partners will also achieve their objectives. TCCIA professionalizes and expands its services. The business development partner gains access to the members of TCCIA, a large group of SMEs in Kigoma. The Tanzanian banking partner will have the opportunity to offer savings and loan products to a new customer group that is strongly supported. Within this partnership, bringing together financial and business support expertise is central. Exchange facilitates that expertise sharing. After the feasibility study, high-quality regular service providers willing to cooperate were identified and willing to cooperate. In addition, local embedding is essential for the success of the partnership. For this reason, within this growth program Exchange opts in the first place for the deployment of South expertise. Rather than supplying expertise, Exchange covers the roles of facilitator and project coordinator. However, if necessary, its activity can change. Exchange provides a specialized program coach with knowledge of the banking world and with the necessary know-how to guide the design of this economic partnership.

Step-by-step growth program

This growth program is based on an extensive feasibility study that took several months. Determining the needs for private sector development in Kigoma and developing feasible initiatives tailored to the local context has proved to be a complex exercise. It was therefore decided to create this economic partnership in a very pragmatic and step-by-step manner.

The research started in February 2017. In the months that followed, an extensive assessment was carried out in which the company profiles, financial needs and management capacities of the members of TCCIA were mapped out. Ultimately, 50 companies were selected and underwent a credit analysis to become potential partners. This exercise was carried out on the spot and then intensively monitored from distance by Johan Hosselaer, financial expert of Exchange. Furthermore, PASS, a partner offering business development services, has carried out company audits in a professional manner. In addition, discussions were held with local economic actors to realize a strongly supported local partnership. The feasibility study was a first important step in the professionalization of TCCIA and formed the basis for the development of a local economic partnership through the first successful collaboration between TCCIA and the services of PASS.

In November 2017, on the basis of the results of the feasibility study and under the guidance of Johan Hosselaer, an intense round of talks with potential bank partners in Dar es Salaam was set up. Four bank partners were introduced to the economic partnership in Kigoma (TPB, NMB, CRDB and Bank of Africa). In 2018 the negotations with the bankpartners continued and resulted in a collaboration with one of them. In the summer of 2018 the first training initiative was set up in Kigoma. Some 60 SME's participated in a 10 day training course (2x5days) focused on agri-business management guided by experienced PASS trainers. This training was complemented with a one week training on financial management by the bank partner. In november 2018 Johan Hosselaer, programme coach and Eugène Nicolaes, financial expert, will travel to Kigoma to formalize the collaboration with the bank partner and PASS and to set up a first pilot in which they will screen and assess the investments projects of some of the involved SME's and guide them towards bankable investement plans.