Market Place Revolution: Leveraging Business Networks for Impact

By Doug Seebeck, President, Partners Worldwide

Market Place Revolution:
Leveraging Business Networks for Impact

This November 8-9, an international business conference will be hosted just outside Chicago, Illinois. Individuals from over 20 different countries will be in attendance, many of whom are part of the global business network of Partners Worldwide, an organization that works to empower and equip owners of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in developing communities through long-term global partnerships, an approach that is unique in two aspects.

The most important characteristic of this model is the partnerships that are formed. The Partners Worldwide team pairs local business development organizations or individual SMEs with what are termed Global Business Affiliates (GBAs), groups of experienced and resourced business professionals from a variety of backgrounds and skill sets. These business professionals commit to developing long-term relationships with local organizations and businesses, helping to provide mentoring, training, access to capital and advocacy. In this holistic environment of trust and reciprocity, both parties benefit from the established relationships.

Additionally, this model focuses on serving businesses in the “Missing Middle” of developing countries. Going beyond traditional microfinance, Partners Worldwide serves businesses whose need for capital exceeds the capacity of most microfinance institutions, but who are not yet large and profitable enough to access and utilize the high interest loans that characterize the financial environment in developing economies.

The aim of this method is to create jobs in the most effective way possible by leveraging the capacity of growing businesses. The importance of jobs is illustrated in a document recently released by the World Bank. The World Development Report 2013: Jobs, names jobs as the primary source of stability and development in impoverished countries. The report indicates that business is the sustainable solution to poverty, with 90% of all jobs being created in the private sector.

The purpose of Marketplace Revolution ’12 the conference in early November is to encourage, equip and connect businesspeople who are using this method to transform communities by combining business and ministry to meet both physical and spiritual needs. Business professionals, entrepreneurs, university students and international development workers will share lessons learned and draw new insight from the efforts of businesspeople in the Partners Worldwide network who are fighting poverty around the globe—available at four plenary sessions and over 30 workshops. Highlights of the conference include:

  • Plenary speaker Stuart Hart, professor of management at Cornell University and author of Capitalism at the Crossroads, demonstrates opportunities to create jobs for the billions around the world who list “a good job” as their number one life priority.
  • Pat-Nie Woo, a textile manufacturer in Hong Kong, sees the transformation of his business, his industry, and his city through a God-given vision for sustainable development.
  • Effective support of growing businesses in post-earthquake Haiti requires loan products designed to match the needs of SMEs. Dominique Boyer of loan distributor Fonkoze will share best practices of loan distribution and its essential role within the 100,000 Jobs in Haiti Initiative.
  • Plenary speaker Alfa Demmellash, CEO of Rising Tide Capital and one of Forbes’ 5 Most Powerful Women Changing the World with Philanthropy, will share her own story. She will illustrate how business training and resources are essential to start and grow successful small businesses in low-income, urban communities, providing insight from her organization’s successes in urban New Jersey.

To learn more about the conference or to register to attend, visit

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