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The popularity of TV shows such as Dragon’s Den has highlighted the work of British entrepreneurs who have the talent, drive and opportunity to succeed in business. But what if you have that talent but live in a developing country where opportunities are few and far between? Now entrepreneurs from all across the region are being asked to lend their support. 

A new appeal launched by Gateshead-based international development charity Traidcraft Exchange sets out to help raise awareness of those “Hidden Entrepreneurs” in Bangladesh, Kenya and Senegal.

The Traidcraft Hidden Entrepreneur appeal is one of the schemes supported by the Government’s UK Aid Match scheme, under which every donation from the public made before 11 April, is matched by a contribution from the Department for International Development.

The appeal encourages people in the UK to donate to support entrepreneurs in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Traidcraft Exchange’s Chief Executive, Robin Roth explained how even the smallest donation could make a real difference for the hidden entrepreneurs.

“In this country, we often take business support for granted. Compare that with someone in a developing country where a funded business training session could ignite their potential and change the quality of life for many people. A small donation could pay for basic tools for their business or help them to branch out into new markets.

“By donating to the appeal, people can help entrepreneurs learn the skills they need to turn their potential into profit and use that profit to feed their families and educate their children. There’s the added advantage that every pound donated by the public before 11th April will be matched by the UK Government, enabling us to help double the number of budding entrepreneurs in Kenya, Bangladesh and Senegal.”

One local entrepreneur who spoke at the launch event and has pledged to help the campaign is Andy Stephenson, Founder of Weekend Box Club – a successful business based in Newcastle which has won a series of start-up awards.

“I know from my own experience that the North East is an entrepreneurial hub so it’s a perfect match for Traidcraft Exchange’s Hidden Entrepreneur appeal through which people can both give more to charity and invest in the businesses of people who really need that support,” he said. “One example is that of Sumi from Bangladesh who received business training from Traidcraft Exchange and then opened a small shop on the road near her house selling snacks, basic food and fertilisers. Her business and confidence has now grown and now her shop is able to support the education of her young son.”

Also speaking at the event was Eleanor O’Neill from Newcastle based luxury knitwear brand Study 34.

“The work of Traidcraft Exchange is very close to my heart. Their work helps people in some of the world’s poorest countries to develop skills to build their businesses, make a profit, feed their families and educate their children.”

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said,

“In the world’s poorest countries, farming is often the main source of income and yet the majority of farmers still live in poverty.

“By matching donations to Traidcraft Exchange’s Hidden Entrepreneur appeal, UK aid will help thousands of people in Kenya, Senegal and Bangladesh develop the business know-how needed run sustainable enterprises. This in turn will create better futures for their families and communities,” added Penny Mordaunt.

 The Hidden Entrepreneur appeal will run until 11th April 2018.

For more information or to donate go to www.traidcraft.org.uk/hidden

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