Wood Habitat, a promising company!

 

 

Programme Coach
Robert Myncke
Experten Team
Philippe Vandorpe
Bedrijfspartner
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Personal project becomes professional company

 

Wood Habitat was founded by the young female entrepreneur Paradis Imfura. It all started as a personal project but quickly developed into a professional company with a good reputation. Paradis uses local materials and focuses on creative designs and quality details. Because she is very open towards a close collaboration with her customers, the demand for beautiful locally produced furniture keeps increasing. In 2015 Wood Habitat started with its own wood workshop focusing on custom made furniture designs. Recently Wood Habitat also started producing doors and interior accessories.

Wood Habitat provides jobs to 40 people and trains a big number of young people. At least 30% of its employees is in training. Trainees get offered a permanent contract after finishing their traineeship. Wood Habitat offers decent jobs: permanent employees receive several social advantages.

What do you want to do ?

Big ambitions, intense growth programme

The ambition of Paradis is big: towards 2024 she wants to at least triple Wood Habitats turnover and create not less than 120 stable jobs. Except for Rwanda she also wants to sell her furniture on the Congolese, Ugandese, Kenian en Burundese market. She also aims to get a great client satisfaction: selling a product means the start of a profound client relation. She also would like to be the first in the East African Community (EAC) to sell upholstered furniture. Until now, all upholstered furniture is imported from outside EAC.

To reach this ambition Wood Habitat will have to improve several domains in the company: the production speed and the quality has to progress, if Wood Habitat wants to maintain and enlarge its clientele.

The growth progamme will focus on quality control: there is a need of quality templates for each product and technical sheets for intermediate check. Also cost control will be addressed: for each product there will be an estimation of work time and material. The teams of Wood Habitat will also get a specific training: the goal is to have a specialised team for each of the products but also have teams responsible for specific departments in the company, like waste management, security and cleanness, energy and resources. The Exchange coach Robert Myncke will help Paradis to achieve her goals. Also the use and maintenance of wood machinery will be checked by an Exchange wood expert. Exchange will also look for an upholstery expert to give Paradis a specific training on this topic.

The entire Exchange team is looking forward to this promising and very diverse growth programme!

Custom made furniture designs

in Rwanda

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Informative radio helps farmers move forward!

 

Farm Radio Trust

Programme Coach
Johan Cottenie
Company Partner
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Farm Radio Trust is an organization that fosters rural and agricultural development in Malawi through the use of radio and other information and communications technologies (ICTs). In Malawi the agricultural sector accounts for one third of the GDP and 90% of export revenues. With 80% of the population living in rural areas, the vast majority of Malawians support their livelihoods with farming activities. With a very limited number of commercial farms, Malawi is a country of small farmers. The government support for farming families is mainly focused on large scale input subsidy programmes. Farmer education and agricultural information services are, however, very limited. The government subsidizes only 1 extension worker for 3900 farming families, while the recommended ratio is 1 out of 500. In 2009 Farm Radio Trust Malawi, a branch of Farm Radio International, was founded. The organization uses innovative methods to reach the Malawian farming populations. Because the spoken word is the most effective way to reach an illiterate or poorly literate population and all households have a radio, Farm Radio Trust uses participatory radio programmes to reach the farming population. The radio programmes are combined with other information channels (SMS services, whatsapp messages, call center) to educate and strengthen Malawian farmers. In 2018 FRT reached an audience of 4 million farmers.

Financial sustainability

In terms of finances Farm Radio Trust is at a crossroad. Although the organization delivers services that are in fact government responsibilities (extension services, farmer education) the organisation doesn’t receive any government funding. Instead several international donors support FRT with grants (USAID, Flemish Government, Farm Radio International). Nevertheless Farm Radio Trust faces the challenge to become less dependent on donor funding and develop financial sustainability.

 

For Farm Radio Trust it's key to develop a new and innovative vehicle for income generation. Needless to say, the organization will safeguard its mission and focus on strengthening the position of smallholder farmers. Since the financial capacities of farming families are very low it is unlikely that a focus on small farmers as paying clients will generate sufficient income. Therefore, income generation stands high on the agenda! Together with Exchange a pragmatic and innovative commercial strategy will be developed.

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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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Fighting malnutrition with affordable food!

Sesaco Ltd.

Programme Coach
Robert Myncke
Expert Team
Eugene Nicolaes
Company partner
Register your company as a candidate!
Just like in many Sub-Saharan African countries, a large part of the Ugandan population suffers from malnutrition. According to Broederlijk Delen, around 25% of Ugandans are malnourished. Although the country is known for its fertile soil and is sometimes referred to as the food source of East Africa, the prices of the food produced often turn out to be too high for the poorest layers of the local population.

A company with a clear mission

The mission of Sesaco Ltd. responds perfectly to this need for affordable and nutritious food. The company, located in Kampala, specializes in producing soy products with a high nutritional value. The focus of the food company is specifically on the lowest layers of the population. That is precisely why the products of Sesaco Ltd. are sold at the lowest possible prices.

A large part of the products are supplied to international aid organizations that are committed to the many refugees in the country. Consequently, Sesaco is also contributing to the most basic need of this vulnerable group.

Factory with growth potential

More than 100 people are employed at the factory of Sesaco. Often women, often low- or unskilled. Deploying these people more efficiently in the production process could mean a substantial increase in production. This represents a major opportunity for both the company and society in a still unsaturated market. That is why Sesaco received access to the Yield Uganda Investment Fund of the European Union. A second investment from the fund, for the modernization and automation of a new plant, can be obtained after a positive evaluation of the growth results.

To achieve this, Exchange and Sesaco are entering into a partnership with the aim of achieving positive growth results. One of the possible routes that can be explored is the creation of a line with new premium products that will also appeal to the middle class of Uganda. Improving efficiency and setting up a well-thought marketing campaign are also promising possibilities. In addition to Exchange, KPMG will also guide the process. More than enough reasons to believe in a successful scale-up of this social company!

opportunities-in-a-growing-market

Opportunities in a growing market

in Uganda

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Kleine landbouwers omscholen tot agripreneurs dat is de missie van Gudie Leisure Farm (Oeganda).

Social entrepreneurship and sustainable farming companies: a booming business in Uganda!

Gudie Leisure Farm

Programme Coach
Katy Vancoillie
Expert Team
Johan Borghys 
Marieke De Vos 
Company partner
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From small farmer to clever entrepreneur

 

Gudie Leisure Farm (GLF) is a city farm located in the suburbs of Kampala. As a social business, GLF wants to train smallholder farmers to become true agricultural entrepreneurs: agripreneurs. GLF developed the ‘Agripreneur Champions System’. This gives farmers practical training at the city farm or their own farmsAs well as on areas such as poultry, pig farming, aqua culture and greenery, the highly practical training focuses on business-related subjects that guarantee the sustainable growth of the agro-companies.   

Since it was founded in 2009, the social business has trained at least 63,720 farmers. In addition, the company carried out an assignment in the context of livestock management for the Belgian development agency Enabel. Mastercard Foundation also firmly believes in the potential of Gudie Leisure Farm and therefore decided to offer the agricultural school long-term financial support!

A passionate entrepreneur behind the wheel

Standing at the head of the GLF is inspiring entrepreneur Gudula Naiga BasazaThe general manager of GLF received a doctorate from Ghent UniversityShe has always been led by her two greatest passions: educating people and contributing to the improvement of the social and economic circumstances in Uganda. In 2017, she was nominated by Vital Voices as one of the hundred most influential women on the African continent.

GLF as the agricultural training institution

The ultimate dream of GLF is to become an open university for agriculture in Uganda. To reach that goal, the organisation first wants to focus on the construction of a fully functional training centre. GLF is adamant that they are recognised for the superior quality of their training and education courses. As such, Exchange and GLF are working together to set out a growth programme that will allow their ambitious goals to be fulfilled. As GLF is driven by passion and social engagementExchange is also convinced that the growth programme will not just lead to positive economic consequences for GLF itself, but will indirectly deliver improved socio-economic conditions for the smaller farmers in Uganda. 

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Sustainable growth with an eye on the international market

Manumetal

Programme Coach
Dominiek Dolphen
Expert Team
Robert Myncke
Evelyne Eneman
Michel Bossaer
Clo Willaerts
Willy Peeters
Gert Van der Sypt
Jef Boiy
Chris Merckx
Company partner
Register your company as a candidate!

Manumetal is a furniture manufacturer in Kigali (Rwanda). Established more than fifty years ago, Manumetal started as a Belgian company, but is now privately owned by Rwandans. As the name intimates, the focus for Manumetal initially lay on metal furniture. Over the years, they delved into wooden furniture production. Recently, even aluminium furniture has found its place. 

Manumetal is ambitious and is surfing along on the wave of growth currently being enjoyed by the Rwandan market. The company wants to optimise its potential for innovation and the opportunities offered by diverse and high-quality local expertise. In doing so, Manumetal will respond to the needs of the growing Rwandan middle class.  

Ambition and challenge, hand in hand

Exchange and Manumetal have worked together in recent years. In 2018, we decided to transform this collaboration into a growth programme. First and foremost, the growth programme aimed to improve the efficiency of the production of metal and wooden furniture. New, modern designs, and the production of high-quality chairs are among the ambitions of the growth programme. Better quality and design will create infinitely more potential for the domestic and foreign markets.  

When we speak about the foreign market, we do not just look at Congo and Uganda as export countries. An introductory meeting was also held with a delegate from IKEA 

Ambitions of this sort bring necessary challenges with them. In the first place, there are the logistic challenges related to machines, infrastructure and distribution. In addition, there are challenges in terms of marketing and product quality.

A well-thought-out growth plan

In August 2018, the programme coach from Exchange worked together with the local manager Mr Bayigamba on the pillars for the Manumetal growth programme. The growth plan consists of three pillars that need to form the basis for the sustainable growth of the company:  

 MOVE, DIVERSIFY, GROW 

  • MOVEJust like many other companies in Kigali, Manumetal was required to relocate to the industry zone outside the city on short noticeExchange will provide an architect and technical expert to efficiently prepare and guide the move. With the right approach, the move could be turned into an opportunity for Manumetal. Could the mechanical installations be improved? Could the production spaces be more efficiently set up? How could the production process be organised to make it more in line with lean principles? The goal is to have the relocation completed by the end of 2020.  
  • DIVERSIFY: Manumetal wants to diversify ins markets, ins products (including design products) and its customer segments (including high-end customers). Meanwhile, the Exchange coach ensured that Manumetal could already enter into various partnerships. Through these partnerships, Manumetal can appeal to a larger market segment. An Exchange marketing expert guides Manumetal to put their new products on the market. Another Exchange expert ensured that the marketing manager of Manumetal could do an internship here in Flanders with various Flemish furniture manufacturers in order to gain new ideas. An expert carpenter will train the staff in perfect finishing of the products, so that they can also appeal to other customers and other markets. Finally, an investment expert and financial expert will look at how Manumetal can attract investors, save and make smart investments in view of the relocation.
  • GROW: Manumetal wants to grow and therefore focuses on export. Growth means more complex processes. That's why an IT expert will help the company to set up a well-integrated digitization of processes. An export expert will guide them in the export process of products. Manumetal is also a progressive company in the field of HR. The company not only scores well on gender equality, but focuses on the dual-learning system that aims to address the shortage of highly skilled technicians. How? By letting students do apprenticeships in companies. And this they do successfully! Manumetal plays a pioneering role and attracts a very high number of trainees in the workplace. The company is also subsidized for this by the Work Development Agency in Rwanda.

Innovative partnerships

Throughout the growth programme, Manumetal will always look for new partnerships. Since the start of the growth programme, we can proudly say that a large number of partnerships have already been started, all of which contribute to the growth of this Rwandan company. The social impact of Manumetal also increases thanks to these partners.

In order to continue the pioneering role in the field of training young people, an internship agreement was concluded with a technical Rwandan school. Students can not only gain practical experience within the company, but are also invited to work out and produce new products together. In this way Manumetal not only focuses on the sustainable growth of the company, but also on the professional growth of ambitious Rwandan youngsters!

Manumetal also started a partnership with Mass Design, an American-Rwandan architect collective that strongly focuses on architecture that promotes justice and human dignity. In addition to designing buildings, Mass Design is also very strong in interior design. Manumetal will take care of the production of this interior and will also offer a number of furniture in the Manumetal catalog. Moreover, the designers of Mass Design and Manumetal will work together on the development of the "affordable housing program" of the Rwandan government. With this program, the government wants to offer low-income and middle-income Rwandans affordable and decent housing in Kigali.

Remote Group is a construction company that, among other things, carries out the construction work of the affordable housing program in Rwanda. Manumetal has previously worked as a subcontractor for Remote Group. Remote Group and Manumetal are now strengthening their partnership whereby Manumetal will become a permanent subcontractor to Remote Group. As Remote Group manages many sites in Rwanda, the number of orders for Manumetal will also increase.

Sokoa is a French company that is one of the leading producers of office chairs in Europe. The company is based in the Basque area of France, an economically disadvantaged region. The mission of the company is to ensure economic development and job creation in this region. Sokoa has also been looking beyond Europe for several years. The company wants to enter the Rwandan market and Manumetal proved to be the ideal partner for this. Therefore, in the new factory hall of Manumetal, a workplace will be provided where Manumetal will assemble chairs for Sokoa and, in time, also produce chairs itself. We look forward to this promising partnership!

verfrissende-marketingstrategie-voor-manumetal

Refreshing marketing strategy for Manumetal

in Rwanda

Local partnerships as a catalyst for growth

in Rwanda

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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
Register your company as a candidate!

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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Say ‘Cheers’, to social fruit juices!

Delight (U) Ltd.

Programme Coach
Jos Craemers
Company partner
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Profit and social engagement go hand in hand 

Delight (U) Ltd. is a private business that has been producing and selling fruit juices on the Ugandan market since 1996. Under the name ‘Cheers’, you’ll undoubtedly find their fresh juices in all local supermarkets. One to remember!  

The administrative centre of the company is in Kampala, but the actual corporate activity takes place in the Nwoya district in North Uganda.  

The presence of Delight in the region has a clear social and economic impact on the local society. Together with the Danish group aBi Trust, the juice producer is the driving force behind the establishment of the Nwoya Fruit Growers Cooperative Society. This is a cooperative that brings various groups of small farmers together in ‘grower groups’. Thanks to the establishment of the Growers Cooperative, the local farmers receive a fair price for their products. This is an important step forward in the fight against poverty. And it’s happening in an area that was ravaged by the Lord’s Resistance Army not long ago. 

Thanks to its social work for the North Ugandan region, Delight has been included in the prestigious list of ‘Companies to Inspire Africa 2019. 

A big step towards self-sufficiency

In 2019Delight began a collaboration with UDC, the government authority for agricultural development, for the construction of a new factory in the Nwoya district. The new factory will be an important move for Delight. Every step in the production chain will be included in the company’s own operations. Delight will cultivate and grow its own fruit, partly via a partnership with the Nwoya Fruit Growers Cooperative Society. Delight will be able to process the fruit into juice itself and take care of the distribution and sale of the juices on its own. In doing so, both Delight and the government hope to become more independent from neighbouring companies that currently control a great part of the market. 

Cooperative as a lifeline

To ensure sufficient supply of fruit to the factory, good coordination between Delight and the Nwoya Fruit Growers Cooperative is crucial. Exchange will act as a facilitator in this relationship. For example, we will set up a post-harvesting system in collaboration with the cooperative to get a correct estimate of the harvest. Furthermore, the Delight training center will be used to further train the cooperative and logistical issues will be dealt with. In this way, Delight can continue to live up to its reputation as a smart company. Where profit and social engagement go together.

Nieuws: Marketingstrategie voor hotelschool - Exchange vzw.

Preparing fruit growers for the market

in Uganda

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Stronger together for fair trade

Katikamu Poultry Co-operative 

Programme Coach
Noël Keersebilck
Expert Team
André Mouton
Koen De Praetere 
Register as an expert
Company partner
Register your organization or company as a candidate!

A bigger player on the market

In central Uganda, the rural district of Luwero is blessed with fertile grounds. They have ensured that the agricultural or ‘agro’ industry is the most proficient economic activity in the region. However, the many small farmers active in the region rarely have the scale or the capacity to enter into fair-trade contracts. As such, they are often helpless victims of negotiation processes for both the purchase of raw materials and the sale of their own products and harvests.  

Approximately thirty chicken farmers have joined forces. The Katikamu Poultry Co-operative is the result. This organisation consists of both, farmers who breed poultry to sell meat, as well as those who concentrate on egg production. The farmers act as one groupwith their sales and purchases centralised. Together, they have become a major player on the market. And that has given them a stronger position at the negotiations table. The cooperative has used this, first of allto ensure fair tradeAs well as the scale benefits, the cooperative has invested strongly in the sharing of knowledge between membersAn extra benefit strength of the Katikamu Poultry Co-operative is the diversity of its entrepreneurial members. There is a balanced share of males and females, young and oldthat always welcome new members.   

Support, expansion and sharing of knowledge

The founding of a co-operative is no easy task. Strong, basic structures that allow the voice of every member to be heard need to forthe cornerstone of such an organisation. The principle of ‘one member = one voice’ forms the basis of every healthy co-operative. It led Exchange, together with the Katikamu Poultry farm, to decide on a growth programme that would focus on the sustainable expansion and support of the cooperation

As well as providing their technical expertise in areas such as chicken feeding, the purchase of raw materials, quality and hygiene, Exchange joined them in looking for ways to structurally support the cooperative. With the right expertise and sharing of knowledge, the enterprise has grown sustainably into a strong co-operative that provides fair trade and income stability for the local farmers. 

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African Honey Bee

Sustainable micro-beekeeping as an economic activity in rural communities in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal

 

Discover this growth program...

African Honey Bee (AHB) is a social enterprise that supports families in disadvantaged rural communities in starting up sustainable microbeekeeping businesses. On the global level, there is great demand for honey products, in particular products that meet quality and fair trade standards. The population living in the vast rural areas of South Africa is in great economic need. Setting up family honey business in these areas not only has an economic impact, but also has a positive impact on local nature through pollination and improved agricultural yields. In addition, AHB has a huge positive environmental impact by preventing the practice of 'honey hunting'. Honey hunters collect honey from wild beehives, using fire and smoke in an uncontrolled way to stun the bees and therefore causing frequent forest fires. AHB joined a sustainable partnership with a private company in the region, the Sappi plantation, which focuses on training people to keep bees in a responsible manner, providing an extra income and safeguarding the Sappi’s plantations from fire – a win-win situation for every stakeholder.

AHB is an independent initiative that gives to hundreds of local families the opportunity to market their honey through the AHB beekeeper trust cooperative. Over the past two years, AHB has trained 1200 beekeepers in Limpopo, Mpumalange and KwaZulu-Natal. 425 families have become active beekeepers, producing and selling honey. The effects of AHB training courses go beyond just developing new competences for the rural population. Promoting entrepreneurship gives self-confidence and empowers the communities involved.

The AHB model design aims to generate positive effects on the 3 p's (profit, people and planet) by stimulating:

- The development of sustainable micro-enterprises
- Food Safety
- Capacity-building
- Poverty reduction
- Biological agriculture
- Biodiversity protection
- Strengthen agriculture by spraying
- The design of niche markets for export

Exchange and African Honey Bee worked together for the first time in 2015. An expert in apiculture supported the company in the introduction of the most recent and most environmentally sustainable production techniques. The adoption of excellent beekeeping practices resulted in a strengthened training programme for the communities involved.

Attracting social investors to achieve inclusive growth

After this collaboration, AHB continued to grow. At the end of 2016, the contacts between AHB and Exchange have been strengthened again. At that time, the two partners already started thinking about an long term approach. The needs of the company are diverse: in addition to the technical needs in the field of production technology, there are challenges in several other areas (strategic management, marketing, packaging, certification and distribution). The management of AHB set up a plan to triple the current number of beehives in-house over the coming years. The company is therefore looking for social investors to support further growth. To this end, Exchange have set up a collaboration with Benevolab Belgium, the CSR programme of BNP Paribas Fortis that gives bank employees the opportunity to contribute as volunteers to NGO projects in the South. Two experts from BNP Paribas Fortis Belgium conducted a financial analysis of the company in May 2017, and an investment plan was redacted on the basis of their analysis.

 In Belgium, Exchange started discussions with
Kampani, a Belgian social investment fund, aimed at strengthening companies in the agrofood industry in the South. In the first half of 2018 Exchange plans to further strengthen this cooperation in order to arrive at a well-developed investment file that meets the questions of Kampani and / or any other social investors regarding the commercial operations of AHB. In addition, we are working together to raise cooperative funds around AHB Beekeeper through resources that are made available through national and international development initiatives. If funds are successfully found for this ambitious expansion, Exchange is ready to start a process together with AHB to tackle the next steps in the development of the company with a focus on marketing and in-house packaging.

Development of a structural partnership

To realize this growth program and to guarantee its sustainability, Exchange is working on setting up a structural North-South partnership. Attracting investors is essential for the company to grow further, and therefore a strong financial partnership has been created. Its core objectives are:
1) Supporting AHB in developing a realistic investment request
2) Making the business case of AHB in Flanders known to potential social investors, realizing a proper due diligence
3) Setting up a broader support program for the company over different business processes and thus achieving an intense guidance.
4) Leasing with Belgian organizations for funding social smallholder programmes.