"BGC has been an incredible support for my company, World Peaces. Elaine's keen eye, understanding of the challenges facing artisans, and her knowledge of the international marketplace is unparralled. There are few people who know the sector in Africa as well as she." Connie de Jong, Owner, World Peaces
We offer a full range of consulting services for short or long-term initiatives. We collaborate with international firms, donor agencies, governments, NGOs or individual companies. BGC's strength is in its market-driven focus and results-oriented philosophy. With over twenty-five years of experience in entrepreneurship development and in the handicraft value-chain few others offer the depth of experience and knowledge specific to this industry.
Project Design and Implementation
We create value-chain strategies, design long-term projects and specific programs or initiatives. We specialise in implementation, using pro-active and market-driven methodologies to render the strongest and most sustainable results possible. We have successfully designed and/or managed projects in Zambia, Mali, Niger, Lesotho, Morocco, Ghana, Namibia, Kenya and the West Africa Region.
Our market linkage programs are customized according to client needs, size and capacity. Market linkage activities include managing international trade show pavilions, buyer tours, web-marketing, and in-country or regional expositions. We have an extensive data-base of international buyers, of professional artisanal production companies from across Africa, as well as the experience of managing trade events across the globe.
Training and Coaching
BGC designs and implements entrepreneurial training programs employing interactive methodologies as much as possible. We also design follow-up coaching and mentoring programs to support entrepreneurs during the difficult stages of business growth and transition once the formal training has ended. Coaching can be in-person or virtual. Topics include costing and pricing, marketing, branding, intellectual property Issues, trade and export readiness, agency management, environmental compliance, product design, and more.
BGC's sourcing services links buyers to a wide range of artisan groups, both known and emerging artisan companies. After years of working with artisans helping them develop marketable product collections and training them in meeting buyer expectations and professionalism, we know not only thousands of groups in many different categories, we have a deep knowledge of production and growth capacity. We can also support groups with on-the-ground mentoring to meet buyer needs.
Research, Studies, and Writing
BGC can generate sector-wide, country-specific or regional assessments and can undertake studies on most topics related to the handicraft value chain. BGC completed a Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) research and mapping study for the European Commission focussing on Standards, Certifications and Intellectual Property in the handicrafts sector. We have done numerous value-chain assessments across Africa.
BGC co-authored the Guide Practique d’Export de l’Artisanat Tunisien vers les Ëtats-Unis (Practical Guide for Exports to the US from Tunisia). Bellezza authored the The Handicraft Export Guide, A Comprehensive Handbook, 2019
Product Design & Development
BGC's market-driven approach to product development has strong sales results. BGC takes into consideration costing/pricing, procurement challenges, shipping constraints, enviornmental complicance, and international standards as well as target market trends when working with production companies on product development. Many collections we developed 15 years ago are still selling today!
Effective branding is important for companies as well as for whole sectors. It is particularly important for handicraft sectors in emerging economies to create brands that inspire international buyer confidence.