In Uganda, there is a small business whose model is based on manufacturing and selling products made from indigenous tree bark. The bark can be sustainably collected as this particular species of tree has the property of easily regrowing bark after being stripped bare. The material is fashioned into bags, accessories and other products where it is sold on the international market for a decent profit.
So, sustainable production of a desirable product fused with BoP ingenuity. Innovative enough for you? The Business in Development (BiD) network apparently agrees. The company is African Skin, and they were the winners of last year's BiD Challenge.The Challenge is back for another year, looking for the best in small sustainable enterprises to provide with startup investment. With this 3rd round opening on April 2nd, BiD will whittle down submitted business plans in an extensive screening process that ends with an awards event in December.
BiD looks for highly creative developing country entrepreneurs that have businesses with a social or environmental component and that will become profitable within three years. Winners receive mentoring services and 20,000 euros to get their idea rolling.
If you are interested in participating, BiD is still accepting business plans through May 31st - visit their homepage for more details. Also check out the seven country-level challenges they have just launched for 2007. If you're a socially minded entrepreneur this is worth looking into - maybe your company will be the next African Skin....