Supporting Entrepreneurs in Developing Economies

BTS believes that companies have moral responsibilities to economic development, especially in impoverished areas. We actively seek to make real, lasting change in people’s lives. And we have the expertise that can make a difference.

At the core of what we do lies our One for One Ambition: For every participant we educate at BTS, we offer a person in a transitioning or developing region free training using our learning materials.

Savings Bank for International Cooperation

In partnership with the Savings Bank for International Cooperation (Sparkassenstiftung, or SBFIC), BTS has created a number of business simulation programs to teach business and financial acumen in developing nations. As of December 2017, such programs had been held for more than 64,000 participants in 12 countries. in 2017, 725 seminars were held globally.

64,000 Participants in 12 Countries

In 2010, BTS launched a solution called “Get to Know the Numbers,” featuring a board simulation on how to start an orange juice shop and manage money while building the business. The program focuses on five key categories: record keeping, employment of staff, banking, investments, and separation of family and business accounts. The results of the program have shown significant, measurable impacts, and we are excited to continue to implement this program in more communities and countries worldwide.

In the summer of 2015, BTS launched a pilot of a new orange juice shop program in Zambia for a group of 200 participants (65% female, 35% male). The program focused on five key categories: record keeping, employment of staff, banking, investments, and separation of family and business accounts. The results of the program showed significant, measurable impacts: in all businesses, the share of those doing record keeping increased from 65% before going through the program to 92% after the program, while the amount of men and women separating their business and family finances increased by 30% or more after the program. The share of participants employing at least one staff member increased to over 80% in all of the five industries or businesses listed.

BTS also partnered with the Savings Bank to launch the “Savings Game,” a program developed to target savings mobilization and financial literacy amongst students, private individuals, and young households. The goal of the program is to educate participants on the role of savings and family economics over a lifetime. After a successful pilot in Armenia, the program has been run in Kazakhstan, Ecuador, the Philippines and Russia. To ensure that local trainers are set up for success and can lead the solutions themselves, the developers of the program have been focusing on making the programs available in a variety of languages and organizing “train-the-trainer” programs.

In 2017, BTS and Savings Banks also launched a program for African farmers, which helps them manage cash flow while expanding their business into multiple crops and livestock. The program first launched in Zambia in April 2017, but the ambition is to reach farmers on all continents.

Hand In Hand International Logo

Citizen Center for Women Entrepreneurs

Hand in Hand, an organization first founded more than 20 years ago, fights poverty through education and training by helping women to start their own businesses. So far, more than 1.67 million women have been trained, leading to the development of 1.19 million micro-businesses (which in turn have improved the living conditions of more than 3 million people.) BTS has partnered with Hand in Hand to develop a customized business simulation focused on business literacy.

This simulation enables thousands of women—who know nothing about business—to run a fictional, small citizen center and learn the critical business ground rules. The women can make mistakes in the simulation, so they can ultimately succeed when running a citizen center in real life.

The project was launched in October 2011 and has made a tremendous impact.

BTS has been the perfect corporate partner for us because they understand our goal to create sustainable solutions to help the most vulnerable members of society—women and children. They have brought change to these villages that will last lifetimes and extend through generations."

Leni Ekendahl, Director of Hand in Hand, Sweden

Learn more about Hand In Hand International »


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