Alexander De Croo invests 12 million euro in a partnership with sustainable companies

The Belgian Development Cooperation and King Baudouin Foundation launch rolling call for projects for the new Business Partnership Facility 'Enterprises for SDGs'

Bridging the gap between businesses, NGOs and the academic world both in Europe and developing countries with a view to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals together: that is what the new Business Partnership Facility 'Enterprises for SDGs', a support programme being launched by the Belgian Development Cooperation (DGD) and the King Baudouin Foundation, is all about. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and International Development Alexander De Croo is setting aside total funding worth some €12,000,000 for this purpose over the next five years.

The new Business Partnership Facility will support business projects working with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and academics on meeting at least one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The United Nations' 17 objectives aiming to eradicate extreme poverty and make our world more sustainable by 2030:. An ambition that can only be fulfilled if entrepreneurs and private companies also get involved.

Minister De Croo, the Belgian Development Cooperation and the King Baudouin Foundation launch the first call for projects for 'Enterprises for SDGs' in the margins of Queen Mathilde's round-table discussion with companies about the Sustainable Development Goals at the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB). This event is the last of a series of company visits and round-table discussions Queen Mathilde has undertaken over the past year in which she entered into dialogue with companies that have signed the Belgian SDG Charter.

Positive innovation
The idea behind the new funding programme is to work together to get through the challenges initially facing start-ups and eventually reach a point where the new business is commercially viable. At the same time, projects must also produce positive social, economic and environmental innovations with benefits for the local community.

Alexander De Croo: "Many Belgian companies are ready to embrace the Sustainable Development Goals. That is a good thing because the private sector has a lot of expertise and resources and can play a key role in ensuring that the SDGs are achieved. This benefits not only development policy but also businesses themselves. Businesses that take sustainable development at heart are stronger because of it."

Involving the private sector
The King Baudouin Foundation (KBF) for its part welcomes this new form of cooperation with the authorities, as it builds on its own long-favoured model of involving the private sector in collaborative ventures with others and putting faith in local partners that are willing to do their bit.

The KBF is fairly unique in Belgium in having the ability to draw on many years' experience in independently and flexibly managing calls for projects. This call will also give it another chance to learn more about best practices on how to involve companies - from Belgium and elsewhere in Europe and from developing countries - to achieve the SDGs

Specifically, there will be two calls for projects each year, the first of which will be launched on 12 December 2018. Partnerships can submit their applications for support now at www.kbs-frb.be/EnterprisesForSDGs. These will then be assessed by an independent selection committee in the spring of 2019. The funding provided to support any given project will range from €50,000 to €200,000 and in any case will be no more than double the partners' own financial contribution to their project. An annual budget of around €2,000,000 (€11,500,000 across the five years) has been set aside for this purpose. and Therefore the number of projects receiving support will depend on the scale of the various candidate projects.