Googles Guana Believe, Begin, Become
Google’s philanthropic arm, the Google Foundation, and TechnoServe, a nonprofit organization that supports entrepreneurs in developing countries, kicked off their “Believe Begin Become” business plan competition in the impoverished West African nation of Guana. Applications for acceptance opened Tuesday.
From the competition, designed to give a leg up to hopeful and unrealized entrepreneurs a chance to develop skills and ideas, 100 people will be selected for training. Ten of those selected will be granted seed or expansion money to grow their businesses.
Managed and executed by TechnoServe, the expected outcome of the competition is the development competitive, self-sustaining small and medium enterprises (SME). To date, most business in Ghuana, where 80% of the population lives on less than $2 per day, are micro-businesses or large companies.
“SMEs are a major driver of sustained economic growth, creating a ripple effect that creates jobs, boosts incomes and leads to improved social services,” said Bruce McNamer, President and CEO, TechnoServe.org. “But even though they can help reduce poverty, SMEs are precisely what the developing world lacks.”
Ultimately, TechnoServe and the Google Foundation say, the goal is to accelerate growth in countries that have recently achieved political and economic stability and are looking to increase to middle-income status.
The winners of the business plan competition will also receive what is called “aftercare” business development services to help ensure that they have the support and tools they need to continue business.
“The greatest lever for long-term development is helping Africans help themselves, by building businesses that generate the incomes that ultimately sustain social benefits and increase the standard of living,” said McNamer.
TechnoServe says that since it was founded, it has helped to create or improve over 1,200 businesses in 23 countries.