UNIDO and Microsoft: Business Information Centres (BIC) Network
The BIC programme is aimed to provide ICT-based business information, training and Internet access to rural entrepreneurs in Sub-Sahara Africa on a commercial basis. It builds on ICT and business development services as a tool to enhance the productive capacity and competitiveness of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), particularly in rural areas where access to information is a challenge.
The BICs provide demand-driven and sustainable ICT-based information and advisory services and training to MSMEs. The main benefits include improved decision making through tailor-made business information, relevant ICT training, entrepreneurial advice and ICT support, unprecedented access to new markets, technologies and services, and increased competitiveness and productivity. The innovativeness of the approach was recognised in 2007 with the “Africa Investor Award” in the category “Best Initiative in Support of Small and Medium Enterprise Development”. The African Investor Award, an international benchmark for excellence in responsible investing in Africa, recognises and rewards innovative development projects initiated by the private sector, governments and NGOs.