What do we do exactly?
Exchange supports promising African entrepreneurs in their growth and scale-up. Provided that sustainable growth is achieved, such entrepreneurs can add extra value to the local community in the form of employment and better regional prosperity.
Exchange distinguishes itself from other non-profit organizations and NGOs by not opting for the traditional model of financial support, but by assisting entrepreneurs with tailor-made expertise. We are convinced this will lead to more sustainable solutions in the long term.
Africa has experienced promising economic growth in recent years. This brings unique opportunities, not only for local African entrepreneurs but also for Belgian companies. Exchange wants to match the needs of African entrepreneurs with the specific expertise of Belgian experts in the field. In turn, they receive professional guidance and unique access to the African entrepreneurial world. In addition, Belgian companies are given the opportunity to participate in an inspiring story about Corporate Social Responsibility and Employee Engagement.
Discover how we work and which services we offer to companies in North and South:
Local and international partnerships
A crucial selection point for the growth programmes is that they can be embedded into the local context. Exchange does not only look for relevant experience from the Belgian business world, but also wants to involve relevant local partners from the start onwards. On the one hand because specific local expertise is invaluable and guarantees in-depth and concrete knowledge sharing. On the other hand, to ensure that knowledge is also shared within the local context, so that as many players as possible in the region benefit from the development of the growth programme.
Focus on the private sector
Exchange consciously choses for private companies. The mission of Exchange explicitly fits within two of the focus point of the international Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): SDG 8 'Decent work and economic growth' and SDG 17 'Partnerships for the goals'. Within these two goals the importance of the private sector is underlined.
Specifically, Exchange wants to set up a partnership with a Belgian company for every African entrepreneur within a growth programme. Exchange uses its network in the entrepreneurial world and acts as a facilitator between African and Belgian companies.
Since 2018, Exchange has opted for focus. Focus on eight countries in (primarily Sub-Saharan) Africa. And focus on five well-considered sectors. chosing for focus means chosing for specialization and sustainable partnerships.
Discover our focus countries!
In 2018, Exchange resolutely chose for a new strategy. We no longer opt for 'all round' but for 'focus' on a few countries and sectors.
Exchange selected five focus countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and applied a number of well-considered criteria:
- Countries that recognize private entrepreneurship as a building block of prosperity and have a certain basic infrastructure.
- So-called 'frontier markets' or small emerging countries, with an economic development that is still in its infancy.
- Countries that enable private entrepreneurship in terms of legal framework, security, transport and communication, training, and the right workforce.
- Countries where Exchange stakeholders, its current and potential partners and grant providers are present.
- Countries that understand the economic opportunity of Exchange as a facilitator for a cooperation policy.
- Countries where Exchange already has its own rich, local experience and operation.
- Countries where Exchange has the right local employees or contacts.
In the past few years, we have expanded our portfolio to include eight countries, with Morocco and Tanzania joining the line-up in 2023.
And our 6 focus sectors!
In 2018, Exchange changed its strategy from "all round" to "focus". With focus, critical attention was not only given to the focus countries, but also to the sectors. In order to arrive at the selection of the sectors, both the growth sectors in the focus countries and the expertise available in Belgium were taken into account.
In addition, future driven selection criteria such as innovation, sustainable energy, the circular economy and automation (ICT) are highly valued. They are needed to find answers today for the challenges of tomorrow. Both in a government context and in collaboration with the private sector. Both in the North as in the South.