2nd Global Forum on Business Incubation commences in Hyderabad

2nd Global Forum on Business Incubation commences in Hyderabad . ICT professionals from over 60 countries are participating in the Forum 6-10th November 2006.

Hyderabad, November 6, 2006: The 2nd Global Forum on Business Incubation jointly organized by the Information for Development Program (infoDev) of the World Bank and the Department of Science & Technology, with the Government of Andhra Pradesh, opened today.  The Forum will bring together experts and stakeholders from around the globe to exchange knowledge and ideas on how Information & Communication Technology (ICT)-led innovation and entrepreneurship can drive growth and competitiveness in developing countries.

More than 300 participants from over 60 countries, including technology entrepreneurs, business incubator managers, venture capitalists, policymakers and development partners will deliberate on the theme "Empowering Economies through ICT. An outcome of the Forum will be action plans and implementation strategies for regional and global networks seeking to promote ICT-enabled entrepreneurship and innovation.

Under the Business Incubation concept small enterprises are provided services for supporting them to use ICT in the early stages of business development. This involves helping them to establish and accelerate their growth and success, and then scale-up when they reach a certain level of maturity.

The experience shows that those businesses that offer ICT services or in some way utilize ICTs as a fundamental aspect of their business model face complex challenges that are highly dependant on local circumstances and context. The obstacles that these start-ups in developing countries face include:

Limited and costly access to telecom services, particularly the Internet;

Burdensome business regulations;

An absence of basic business support services;

Lack of advice, mentoring and best practice guidance; and

Limited access to appropriate financial resources.

Mr. Vivek Chaudhry infoDevs Program Administrator for the Incubator Initiative said, The 2nd Global Forum on Business Incubation will capture the key lessons from across the regions that can be shared globally. infoDev will also continue to support research that provides sharing insights into designing, implementing and operating sustainable business incubators and into the fundamental challenges facing technology entrepreneurs.

Business Incubator Initiative results so far have been extremely positive. The Incubator Initiative directly supports more than 60 business incubators worldwide through:

Financial and technical assistance to help existing incubators improve and scale up operations;

Facilitating development of new incubators;

Encouraging innovative local uses of ICTs and entrepreneurship; and

Establishing Global as well as Regional knowledge sharing networks.

The experience around the world and the immense knowledge base generated by the Business Incubation Initiative infoDev has developed a rich body of knowledge that can guide policymakers, donors and others as they seek to support ICT-enabled entrepreneurship and innovation in developing countries. Recent studies include:

Financing Technology Entrepreneurs

Assessment of International Best Practice for the Establishment of Sustainable IT Parks including country studies from Russia, Jordan and Vietnam

Country-level Competitive Assessments from the Caribbean, Tanzania, Ghana and Uganda.

Business Incubation Toolkit for Small Island Developing States

Monitoring, Evaluation and Impact Assessment of the Incubator Initiative.

infoDev and the Business Incubator Initiative (www.infodev.org/businessincubation) is a global partnership of international development agencies including the World Bank and other donors, working to maximize the impact of ICTs in development efforts, with a Secretariat at the World Bank. In 2002, in response to the challenges faced by ICT-enabled small enterprises, and with support from the Government of Japan, infoDev launched the Business Incubator Initiative aimed at fostering ICT-enabled entrepreneurship and private sector development in developing countries. The Initiative has also received funding and support from the Governments of Finland and India as well as other donor agencies, from local governments and partners, as well as the private sector. More than US$ 25 million has been mobilized, benefiting more than 100 institutions in over 50 developing countries in all regions of the world. Looking beyond the 2nd Global Forum infoDevs proposes to build further on the outcome of the meeting and keep up the momentum by working closely with regional networks to implement their action plans and to capture the key lessons from across the regions that can be shared globally through its on-line knowledge sharing and networking platform, iDISC.  infoDev will also continue to support research that provides sharing insights into designing, implementing and operating sustainable business incubators and into the fundamental challenges facing technology entrepreneurs.