The online Agribusiness Community of Practice brings together more than 120 members representing over 60 incubators in about 40 countries.
Click here to register for the CoP online platform and access resources, participate in lively discussions and network with your agribusiness peers.
The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (ICRISAT) partnered with infoDev to host the meeting which formally launched the new Agribusiness Global Community of Practice (CoP).
The Agribusiness CoP is part of the broader Agribusiness Entrepreneurship work program co-sponsored by the Government of Finland and Nokia, where infoDev is applying its innovation and technology expertise to create and accelerate the growth of innovative, value-adding agribusiness SMEs that reduce poverty, facilitate sustainable incomes and increase productivity and competitiveness.
The goal of the Agribusiness Community of Practice is to leverage infoDev's global network of agri-focused incubators to create a peer-to-peer community of practice amongst stakeholders who are committed to the development objectives of the agribusiness program. Specifically, the CoP will enable the sharing of lessons learned and good practices in how to use ICT and business incubation effectively as a tool to foster the start-up and growth of innovative agribusiness SMEs; the identification of successful innovative agribusiness SMEs that to motivate further business creation; and the creation of a platform that opens possibilities for B2B linkages that expands markets for the target SMEs.
The kick-off meeting in Hyderabad provided an opportunity for community members to share experiences in person and to create important framework documents for the CoP activities in 2010-2012. The meeting brought together business agri-incubator managers, agribusiness SMEs, experts and related entities representing India, Thailand, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Zambia, South Africa, Macedonia, Mexico, the UK, USA and Finland.
In addition to learning from presentations on global agribusiness challenges and opportunities and from international agribusiness support organizations, participants defined a shortlist of key areas of interest for the CoP to respond to with activities in 2010-2012. A series of break-out sessions around these areas of interest was an interactive and inspiring "funnel approach" to convene the international insight, experiences and commitment of participants to the CoP work going forward. The presentations and discussions at the meeting also feed into infoDev's Agribusiness Incubation Best Practices Assessment & Training Module being carried out by Agrifood Consulting International in the coming months.
A key outcome of the meeting, the Hyderabad Declaration of Cooperation (attached), highlights four priority action areas for advancing agribusiness: Access to finance, Introductions to new markets, Policy issues/raising awareness, as well as Capacity building for incubator managers. These action areas are currently being defined in further detail and a final work plan with deliverables and resourcing will be set out in cooperation by the global CoP members and infoDev shortly.
Before this first face-to-face meeting, CoP members have had the opportunity to network online, discuss important agribusiness topics, share files and shape the Agribusiness CoP work program through the iDisc.net online platform. Between face-to-face meetings, the iDisc.net platform will continue to be a virtual meeting point for CoP members and integral part of the knowledge-sharing and networking that the community is founded on.
The Government of Finland and Nokia have strong partnerships with infoDev. This strong partnership has most recently culminated in the form of the Creating Sustainable Businesses in the Knowledge Economy program, focusing on innovation and competitiveness among SMEs in the information and communication technologies and agribusiness sectors in particular.
Mr. Pekka Puustinen, the Deputy Director General of the Department for the Americas & Asia at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, addressed the participants during the closing ceremony and was presented with the Hyderabad Declaration of Cooperation. He reaffirmed the Government of Finland’s commitment to supporting an agribusiness agenda, stating: "Despite the recent global economic crisis, Finland is one of the very few countries in the OECD that has increased its amount of Overseas Development Aid... and we are committed to working with infoDev to support agribusiness and the development of innovative agri SMEs in developing countries."
CoP participants will have the opportunity to present the findings of their work at future face-to-face meetings and through the iDisc.net online platform, as well as planned webinars. infoDev’s 4th Global Forum on Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Helsinki on May 30 – June 3, 2011 will be an important milestone for the CoP activities and for showcasing the results of its work.
For further information, please contact Ms. Heidi Humala, Project Manager, email@example.com.