The global connectivity explosion that infoDev championed throughout the last decade has broken new paths to bring high-quality jobs to the marginalized. Accordingly, infoDev has refocused from ICTs to innovation and entrepreneurship support, designing new tools to help start-ups drive growth, tackle development challenges like climate change, and galvanize would-be entrepreneurs.
The private sector provides 9 out of 10 jobs in developing economies and is a leading engine of development. The main thrust of that comes from micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises, especially in technology sectors—a recent study argues that 3 jobs are created in a community for every new high-tech job.
However, entrepreneurs in developing countries often face barriers as they shepherd their ideas from mind to market. Notably, new ventures in emerging and frontier markets frequently lack affordable infrastructure, business mentors, training opportunities, access to financing, connections with regional and global marketing channels, and even a favorable innovation ecosystem.
Multiple parties—entrepreneurs, business support centers, investors, technology leaders, regulators, academia, development partners, and others—have developed granular solutions and insights with currency across sectors, countries, and stages of growth. infoDev’s unique grassroots network of business support centers allows the program to crystallize that knowledge, share it, and use it to set up cutting-edge innovation centers across the globe.
In response to the many hurdles faced by entrepreneurs in developing countries, infoDev works to improve competitiveness, employment and sustainable, inclusive growth by helping innovative technology ventures. infoDev serves its clients, donors, partners, and the wider development community by:
Experimenting and pioneering on-the-ground approaches to supporting growth-oriented entrepreneurs in developing countries.
- Influencing the global innovation and technology entrepreneurship agenda.
- Developing and implementing scalable programs specifically targeted for mobile, climate and agribusiness enterprises.
- Promoting inclusive strategies that benefit marginalized groups, women, people living in extreme poverty, minorities, youth, and others.
infoDev has a number of major projects underway for FY14-15. infoDev has secured funding from the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, UK’s DfID, the governments of Denmark and Norway, AusAID, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) to develop specialized networks of Mobile Applications Laboratories and mobile Hubs, Climate Innovation Centers, Agribusiness Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centers , and seed-stage financing facilities across Africa, East and South Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Caribbean.
infoDev supports nine mHubs and four mLabs that provide app developers with networking, tutoring, and an array of business resources, including access to finance, and capacity building.
In addition to two operational Climate Innovation Centers (CICs) in Kenya and South Africa, the Caribbean CIC and the Ethiopia CIC launched in the first quarter of 2014 to accelerate the development, deployment, and transfer of locally relevant climate technologies in the region. Business plans for four other centers in Africa and Asia were created and planned for implementation within two years.
Following consultations with hundreds of local stakeholders, infoDev completed in-depth business plans for Agribusiness Innovation Centers (AICs) in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Nepal, Senegal, and Tanzania. The implementation of the AICs will begin in 2014 with Nepal and Tanzania, offering a suite of services ranging from technology, facilitiesand business coaching.
To ease the leap from framework to implementation, infoDev trains public officials, regulatory agencies, and business incubation leaders from Moldova to South Africa. Currently, there are more than 60 certified trainers around the world who have gone through infoDev’s Business Incubation Management Training Program, the first of its kind, which improves its curriculum with graduates’ experiences.