2SCALE is all about setting up partnerships around inclusive business champions. The development and selection of these partnerships is an important and critical step in the 2SCALE approach, and decisions made on this have to transparent and accountable. For this reason, 2SCALE has installed an external selection committee (SC). Composed of five experts, all women, coming from different institutions, the SC members have the heavy responsibility to advise on the go or no-go decision on the partnership proposal of a business champion.The 2SCALE Program Director is also a member and serves as an interface between the committee and the 2SCALE field team. A representative of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs joins the SC meetings as an observer.
On a quarterly basis the 2SCALE management team informs the SC about partnership proposals that the different country teams have brokered. The SC will review the proposals, based on the criteria developed by the program. The partnership selection is the fourth among five steps that compose the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) protocol within 2SCALE. Prior to assessment by the SC, partnership facilitators mobilize inclusive agribusiness ideas from the private sector, coming from so called business champions,and their ideas are screened by the country teams, who will then write a partnership description together with the business champion, which will be submitted to the selection committee. Once approved, a partnership agreement is developed and signed between 2SCALE and the business champion.
What is good in the process and in the composition of the committee is that we are complementary in our expertise. So that is really nice, we have financial expertise, we have the real African country expertise, I know things about these partnerships. Petra de Weerd-Nederhof, Professor of Organization Studies and Innovation at Twente University, and a member of the SC.
I see a lot of need on technical assistance in most of the companies. I think being part of the 2SCALE Selection Committee is the best way to contribute to overcome these challenges
Even though the SC has a diverse and relevant background, one of the challenges they face is to assess the information they are receiving. The partnership proposals they receive are a snapshot of reality, based on which they have to make an objective assessment. To enrich this information, 2SCALE also provides the SC with pitch video’s from the business champion. Watching a video makes it easier for the committee to get an impression of what the partnership is about, as it shows the business champion and also gives an impression of their factories, the farmers they work with and other aspects of the business. Also, developing such a video is a good exercise, because pitching their business is not always that easy for many entrepreneurs. The video’s could also be used as promotion material that the champion can use later, when the entrepreneurs need to present themselves to the outside world. “And in the long run they would have to pitch to investors and convince them to invest in their companies”, Marina Diboma says.According to Sonja Timmer, Investment Officer at Common Fund for Commodities, member of the Selection Committee, 2SCALE is really an opportunity to bring businesses to the next level while making sure that all stakeholders both from the supply side and from the demand side are aligned.
I think 2SCALE really helps to further professionalize businesses to that next step and to get commitment from both the farmers where extension services are important. But also on the other side of the value chain, the BoP consumer segments where there is a lot of potential that has not yet being explored although they are of course interesting markets, she adds.
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