Digital goes rural

Contrary to popular thinking, digital is not just the domain of young people living an urban lifestyle. With an average internet and device access of well over 65% in most rural areas, we can increasingly explore the benefits digital can bring to improve life in the rural areas around the world. What first kicked off in terms of financial inclusion at a personal level now enables the progress of entire local and regional communities through digital ecosystems.

At BPC we believe in tackling real life issues with digital solutions, which begins with understanding which issues prevent people and businesses from economic progression. Taking full part in the economy starts with farmers, people running small businesses or factories and as long as they do not have access to working capital, to advice, to government grants etc... they cannot fully participate and more importantly contribute.

Often the existing economic backbone in a country does not support people who are ‘not on the inside’. Access and participation are however key to empowerment. If we then link those people or businesses to possible suppliers, advisors and clients we create a network of cooperation. This means stepping up into the real economy and enjoying and bringing real progress. Ultimately this will make not only the individuals but also regional and national economies more powerful and independent.

With this in mind we built the BPC Marketplace as a foundation for any possible SME or agricultural ecosystem. The digital ecosystem is merely a part of a successful ecosystem as we experience in all corners of the world.

Trust & Loyalty

Particularly in more vulnerable rural communities trust is key. Digital trust is invisible, and the more trust there is in the ecosystem, the higher the volume and loyalty of users.

We believe that this digital trust is embedded in our approach and technology. Multi stakeholder projects fare on transparency, expertise and moreover experience. An open partnership, that is agile in its approach from formulation to going live requires, even more than a monolithic project, a clearly defined business goal. All partners, regardless of their role, need to consider a go to market approach to find, train and retain users. This in turn calls for an open mind towards trying, testing and tweaking.

Finally, trust as we know comes by foot and goes on horseback, so a very robust delivery approach and infrastructure with 24x7 availability, a back-up and recovery plan are a minimal requirement. All partners in the ecosystem must be able to rely on a market that is ‘open for business’.

The BPC Marketplace

The digital ecosystem BPC Marketplace is an enabler for local entrepreneurs to run their business more efficiently. This in itself means connectivity to the players that make this possible:

  • Financial service providers and fintech players for working capital requirements, payments, insurance etc.
  • Suppliers to purchase any goods and services on a more economic scale
  • Auxiliary services such as machine rental, legal services, labor, logistics and transport
  • Government for tax payments, grants and subsidies
  • Clients get access through an eCommerce style platform or open marketplace to acquire the goods brought into the ecosystem.

A typical example of a digital agricultural ecosystem looks as follows:

 

//www.bpcbt.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/bpc-agri-ecosystem.png

 Everybody wins

Any ecosystem is in principal a shared economy and so it stands or fails with the success of each individual link in the chain. Apart from the economic and efficiency benefits of being able to support a full life cycle from production to sales and delivery, there are also insights gained through the combined data. Buyers get a view on movements of the market; governments get visibility on the success or lapses of their programs, banks get more insight in the true risk and profile of their clients, producers get better and comparable insight on market prices and financial health and so on.

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