Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Getting my Tech into the Field - by Gaddy Weismann

You've got a great solution and want to install it in East Africa. Where to turn? You have two options: public sector and private sector.

The public sector:

·      "The World Bank" – Over $100B is distributed by bi-and multilateral aid agencies every year. Some examples of such agencies with which Israelis companies can work are the World Bank and the Inter American Development Bank.  Every Western country has a bilateral agency as well. These agencies are tough to crack, and for a small company, it is very difficult to get in the door.

·      Government contracts - You could skip the Western agencies entirely and go directly to an East African government for a contract.  This requires significant time on the ground and a very deep understanding of the political and bureaucratic challenges.  It's good to have a "matcher" on your team.

The private sector:

·         Aid consultancies - These large companies win the lion's share of aid contracts from multilateral and bilateral aid agencies.  Instead of winning a contract directly, you become one of their sub-contractors.  If you are a consultant, this is a great way to go. Try a website like DEVEX to get started. However, if you have a product, they may not be the best path to take.

·      Multinational corporations (MNCs) - As these markets grow, companies like GE, TATA and IBM are entering with force.  Just as Israeli high-tech firms sell to and are sometimes acquired by MNCs, the same is beginning to happen for the developing market, focused products as well.  

·      A local partner - Set up a JV with a local partner. You'll want to find someone you can trust.  Two things to look for are existing contracts with Western companies or investment from Impact Investors.

I am happy to have helped a number of Israeli firms expand through private sector methods by finding the right MNC, the right local partners or the right impact investor.


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