The Norwegian company Techbridge Invest had a great start in Kenya. The grant from Norec made the beginning easier. Now they advise others to explore the opportunities available through a Norec partnership.

“Through the Norec scheme, we gained access to expertise that strengthened us in Kenya. The grant from Norec, combined with support from Norad, reduced the risk and made necessary investments possible,” says Nermina Ljevakovic.

She is a former Norec participant at Techbridge Invest and has extensive experience in the finance industry.

Techbridge Invest works with start-ups in Kenya. With the help of Norec funds, a company working on rural electrification in Kenya has emerged. Small grants from Norec, along with other support schemes and the business sector itself, have created tangible changes benefiting ordinary people, employees, and companies.

“Businesses are in a unique position to lift people out of poverty and create jobs,” says Ljevakovic.

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Aid + Business = A Profitable Partnership

Ljevakovic is convinced that aid and business go hand in hand, having seen firsthand what a Norec grant has meant for development at Techbridge Invest.

“Aid funds give companies the freedom to explore new markets where the risk is often higher,” says Ljevakovic.

She points out that these countries often have a young and growing population, which offers great growth potential and many opportunities—if the risk can be reduced.

In combination with various grant schemes, Norec’s grant helps reduce risk and promote sustainable development in the Global South.

“The aid sector can encourage more businesses to take the plunge, thereby contributing to sustainable jobs in the South. But we need more Norwegian companies to take advantage of these opportunities and collaborate more closely with the aid sector,” says Ljevakovic.

She adds that developing countries have a great need for the expertise that Norwegian businesses possess.

“Exchange projects with the business sector strengthen economic growth, development, and innovation in the South,” says Ljevakovic.

Two SUNami solar-employees wearing red t-shirts are talking to a small business-owner. The small business-owner is a woman in a colorful skirt and a green tank top.

Norec can help businesses who contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals, or the 2030 Agenda, are a global plan to eradicate poverty, combat inequality, and halt climate change by 2030. Achieving these goals requires new forms of partnerships between public and private sectors. Here, Norec can play a crucial role.

“Norec funds an exchange program for young employees. This way, we support businesses, organisations, and institutions that want to actively work towards the sustainable development goals and strengthen their global partnerships,” says Tehetena Woldemariam, head of the business section at Norec.

Through Norec exchanges, businesses have the opportunity to send employees to partner institutions in other countries for a period of six to twelve months.

“This gives employees valuable international experience and new perspectives. When they return after the exchange, they bring back new knowledge and skills that benefit the entire organisation,” says Woldemariam.

Head of Section for public institutions and private secotor in Norec, Tehetena Woldemariam.
Head of Section for public institutions and private secotor in Norec, Tehetena Woldemariam

Many opportunities

Experience from exchanges can lead to better work processes, innovation, and a stronger culture of learning and development. Investing in people often yields returns that cannot be measured in monetary terms.

A Norec-supported exchange project can be a standalone project or a combination with other projects where the exchange of workforce and knowledge is a valuable contribution to a larger whole.

Woldemariam points out that collaboration between private actors and aid organisations like Norec is crucial to achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda.

“The aim of supporting exchanges in the business sector is for them to learn from other actors and become better equipped to develop solutions to meet global challenges. The business sector has both the ability and responsibility to contribute to a sustainable future,” says Woldemariam.

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