Donor programmes often share the use grants and technical assistance to encourage a firms to change their behaviour – by adapting their business model to be more inclusive, or expanding into new markets. Once this has happened, other firms may start up as a result – for example to copy the business model pioneered by a donor partner business, to supply goods and services to the business, or to distribute its products.
One example where this has happened is M-PESA:
- In 2007, Vodafone received a matching grant from DFID’s Business Linkages Challenge Fund to facilitate the introduction of mobile banking in Kenya. ‘M-PESA’ mobile banking not only improved access to credit for thousands, but also contributed to the creation of many new enterprises. According to Jack and Suri (2011), by 2008 there were 12,000 M-PESA agents buying and selling phone credit (which serves as a virtual currency for banking). By 2019, according to the phone company Safaricom, there are over 160,000 agents. However some may have been operating firms prior to the introduction of M-PESA, and then diversified their activities.
The former AusAID funded Enterprise Challenge Fund reports firm creation effects at portfolio level:
- Coffey International (2012) monitored 21 projects in seven countries in the Pacific and South-East Asia, and found that, since 2009, four projects have seen 38 new suppliers enter the market. Three projects have seen four competitors start up in the market, with the link to the ECF projects clear in two cases. One example is WING, a provider of mobile phone payment services that enables customers to transfer, store and cash-out their money using a mobile phone. An ECF matching grant funded 25% of the cost of extending affordable payment services to rural Cambodians. By the end of March 2011, two years after the grant was awarded, WING had reached more than 200,000 customers and at least two mobile payment competitors had entered the market.