Great Challenges for Great Opportunities
Within the green economy, green businesses that have flourished in certain countries often show promise in other untapped markets. By replicating and adapting business models that have passed the proof of concept and trial and error stages in other markets, innovation can be de-risked for entrepreneurs and investors alike.
These new business models, however, require organic business-to-business partnerships and hands-on support to scale out of their home markets. Many organizations that try to enable cross-border matchmaking are often ineffective, cost-prohibited, or irrelevant for companies in clean-tech sectors. At the same time, international companies looking to enter new markets struggle to find high-quality partners that meet their requirements.
What infoDev Climate does
To facilitate the uptake of proven green business models and technologies in new markets, infoDev Climate has developed a unique set of business-to-business matchmaking activities, including business model diagnostics, ecosystem scan, and partnership facilitation. infoDev Climate has designed these activities by applying a unique approach that:
- Focuses on high-potential small and growing businesses;
- Builds the capacity of institutions already active within a given market;
- Achieves network economies by working with multiple countries on outbound and inbound business model innovation.
In South Africa infoDev Climate designed, tested, and implemented the following activities:
- Business model diagnostics and needs analysis: infoDev Climate provides a full company analysis to understand a firm’s business model and market needs. The data gathered are used to evaluate the firm's scale potential and derive a list of potential partners.
- Development of curated lists of local green companies: Inbound trade missions, organized by embassy trade offices, investment promotion agencies or portfolio representatives, look for introductions and matches with local firms but often struggle to get appropriate contacts and good recommendations. Working with GreenCape’s Green Sector Experts, infoDev climate provides inbound missions and firms with curated contact lists of recommended firms and ecosystem partners.
- One-on-one matchmaking facilitation: Identifying a positive/potential match is only the beginning of a matchmaking process. Delivering a standardized process for introductions and initiating the first few interactions by an honest and trusted agent is often critical to get entrepreneurs to a point where they feel comfortable developing a partnership. By offering this personalized service, infoDev Climate removes barriers of uncertainty and lead firms to a go/no-go decision point. This service is being tested by infoDev Climate and GreenCape with the support of GreenCape’s Green Sector Experts, cluster representatives, and trade office coordinators.
In Kenya, given different market conditions, infoDev Climate has started to test services that will help local green firms benefit from validated products, services, and operating models of non-Kenyan firms that are seeking to expand into the local market. Like in South Africa the team is using design thinking principles to develop, test, and implement this new approach with partners Enclude, GrowthAfrica, and GreenCape.