In the commitment's ramp-up phase, founding corporate partners commit to deploy employees who desire to consult virtually or in-person with 100 small business owners over the next three years; prepare the top 10 to 20 percent of these entrepreneurs to be investment ready; and provide Bpeace with financial support to drive this program.
In each community, Bpeace involves business and government leaders in their search for the industry sectors and small business owners most likely to create jobs.
Bpeace will augment its proven entrepreneurial development model--consisting of consulting, out-of-country apprenticeships, training, and networking--to include corporate finance and capital markets programming. Bpeace will leverage its network to educate investors, intermediaries and entrepreneurs on SGB or SME investment opportunities in these countries; corporate partners will help prepare entrepreneurs to access investment; and make introductions to facilitate strategic partnerships.
This commitment adds three new attributes to Bpeace's successful program:
- Expansion into El Salvador
Bpeace conducted a year of due diligence to identify a third conflict-affected country for our program. Its list of 40 criteria included: Where would job creation help reduce or prevent the reoccurrence of violence? Bpeace selected El Salvador because it has one of the highest homicide rates in the world.
- Corporation Skills-Based Volunteering and Externships
The power of Bpeace's engine is business professionals who join as members and freely volunteer their time and skills. In order to scale rapidly and maintain quality, Bpeace wants to partner with corporations on a sustained basis to deploy employees through a skills-based volunteer program.
- Advanced finance and capital markets programming
Bpeace recently enhanced its strategy to assist the top 10 pecent of its Fast Runner entrepreneurs in each cohort to become investment ready. This will change the type of Fast Runner entrepreneurs Bpeace recruits, and necessitates that both they and potential investors are educated on opportunities, and facilitate strategic partnerships.
September 2010 - Ongoing
Identify and onboard corporate partners.
Match corporate volunteers with Afghan, Rwanda and El Salvador entrepreneurs.
Bpeace field staff provides ongoing consulting and coaching to entrepreneurs.
Field Bpeace expedition of experts (corporate volunteers) to El Salvador; launch Race to Innovation competition to better assess entrepreneurial and market trends.
U.S. companies host 10 visiting young Afghan entrepreneurs - men and women.
Launch technology platform to facilitate daily interaction between U.S. experts and Fast Runner entrepreneurs.
Conduct annual census among all entrepreneurs in Bpeace portfolio - measuring job creation and changes in human and economic capital.
Launch application process for Bpeace Fast Runner program in El Salvador.
Conduct annual impact survey among all business and corporate volunteers.
Corporate experts visit El Salvador to interview and select pool of entrepreneurs.
U.S. companies host visiting Rwandan entrepreneurs.
U.S. companies host 15 visiting Afghan young entrepreneurs - men and women.
Pilot advanced finance and capital market training.
May 2010-September 2013
Launch intensive ground consulting among Salvadorian entrepreneurs.
U.S. experts visit Mazar, Afghanistan for ground consulting with Afghan entrepreneurs.
U.S. companies host 15 Salvadorian entrepreneurs.
Cycle of corporate volunteers consulting virtually, traveling to the field and hosting entrepreneurs coming to the U.S.; ongoing coaching by Bpeace field staff in Afghanistan, Rwanda and El Salvador; annual census.
l investors - on opportunities, and facilitate strategic partnerships.
In conflict-affected countries, entrepreneurship and the growth of small growing businesses (SGBs) are key to creating employment for women and men. Small growing businesses are the bridge to education, poverty reduction, improved health, and ultimately less violence. Yet entrepreneurs in these insecure communities lack the business experience and access to experts, markets and capital to build sustainable businesses. When successful, the employment these entrepreneurs generate sparks a multiplier effect that sustains thousands of families and boosts local purchasing power, which in turn lifts other businesses, creates even more employment, opens new markets and accelerates the community up the path to prosperity and peace.
Bpeace is an award-winning non-profit network of business professionals who volunteer skills to entrepreneurs in conflict-affected countries to help them scale their businesses, create significant employment for all, and expand the economic power of women.
Women - Women's advancement is critical to creating and maintaining peace. Bpeace focuses on male and female entrepreneurs who are committed to hiring women and advancing women's economic power.
Fast Runners - Bpeace selects motivated managers with the business acumen to grow their businesses quickly and sustainably. These people are called Fast Runners.
Middle Market - Bpeace selects entrepreneurs capable of delivering scalable outcomes in their communities, well beyond the level of micro-finance, but typically under the radar of international investors. These businesses are often referred to as SMEs or small growing businesses (SGBs).
In a country that has yet to see the true potential of women professionals, computer science appears to provide a culturally acceptable career path for women in Afghanistan. That is why Bpeace is looking to partner with technology companies to create a program to accelerate the ability of Afghan women to excel at software development and software engineering and secure well-paying jobs, which will have a multiplier effect that attracts more women into the profession.
Bpeace's early success in El Salvador is easily scalable with additional financial support and an expanded coalition of skill-based volunteers. In particular, Bpeace seeks multi-year financial commitments; and the involvement of skill-based volunteers in food processing, lean manufacturing, and technology.
Bpeace is considering entry into Guatemala, and seeks a financial partner.