The Regional BDS Conference and Training

The Business Development Services (BDS) Conference & Training is a product of the Business Development Services Donor Coordination Group (BDCG) which was established in the year 2000. The secretariat of the group since inception has been MESPT. The BDCG members are drawn from various organizations working for sustainable market systems development through designing and implementing action-oriented interventions. The purpose of the BDCG is to maximize the effectiveness and impact of donor-led activities in market systems development through active capacity building, coordination, and information sharing. The Regional BDS Conference & Training is believed to be the largest learning platform to advance the practice of market development and value chain facilitation within East Africa and beyond. The event attracts professionals from donor funded organizations/projects in the private and public sectors, entrepreneurs, and policy makers. The forum seeks to reflect on growth of the markets, to address emerging market opportunities, showcases successful development models and interesting case studies from different regions as well as progress towards realization of development goals in the Eastern African region. The training aspect of the conference offers an opportunity for development practitioners to develop or update their knowledge and skills in markets systems development, facilitation, results management and explore potential for collaboration with other players in the development and business sectors. The conference & training is usually held in Mombasa, around November. In 2019, we marked the 14th Regional BDS Conference & Training under the theme ‘The role of private sector and other market operators in job creation within value chains.’ The training (3 days) and conference (2 days) was held from 24th – 29th November 2019. The 13th Regional BDS Conference & Training was held from 19th – 23rd November 2018 and the theme was ‘The role of Innovative BDS for Inclusive Market Development’. The 5 days training and conference had dedicated tracks featuring a great lineup of learning focused sessions. The focus was on deepening understanding of designing and implementing smart market subsidies and market systems; roles of different players; the importance of sustainability; design of interventions which catalyzes lasting systemic change; working effectively with market players; M4P vs Value Chain Development approaches.