Editor's Choice, April 2011: DCED Directory of donor programmes that partner with business
This month's Editor's Choice is a set of web pages designed to help companies find a donor programme that might be of use to them. Whether you are looking for donor programmes that offer funds, technical advice, or are specific to one country, you can easily view the listings in this new directory of 40 donor programmes. It is produced by the Donor Committee on Enterprise Development (DCED) which has 21 members, comprising bilateral or multilateral organisations. As an example, it lists 19 programmes that provide grants and 7 that provide other forms of financial assistance. The specific listing for Zambia has 7 programmes and for Bangladesh 10 (including us, the Business Innovation Facility).
Why is this so good?
It is the first online space (that I know of) to put information in ONE place about different donor programmes. The need for this is often heard and felt in our engagements with companies within the Business Innovation Facilty.
The list covers only donor programmes that engage directly with business - not the wider realm of donor initiatives that support enterprise development or an enabling business climate. So is directly useful for businesses who do not want to wade through all the other detail of donor approaches to the private sector that you normally find on donors' own websites.
The pages and listing are very usable: from the first page you can choose whether to see all 40 programmes , or if you want to search for those that operate in your own specific country of interest, or narrow the listing by type of programme. Better still, there are useful quick links to the relevant sites and information sheets for each entry, or you can opt to view a draft overview document which contains a brief description of what each programme covers.
If the question is how to help businesses in developing countries actually tap into the various sources of support that are on offer, then clearly this is only a partial answer. There are plenty more initiatives within the development sector (from foundations or NGOs), and the commercial sector (from trade associations to commercial banks) that they may need too. But meanwhile, this is a really useful step forward to help us all see which donor programme does what and where.