Building Timely Traction for a Game-Changing International Non-Profit

Building Timely Traction for a Game-Changing International Non-Profit


B.V. Rio, an influential nonprofit hailing from Brazil and the UK, developed a network of environmentally conscious organizations in the timber business called Responsible Timber eXchange (RTX). BYG Advantage partner John Fargis became connected to the organization through his extensive work with organizations in Brazil. Following initial introductions, B.V. Rio engaged BYG Advantage’s Devin Wang and Tammy Zhu to help with three crucial goals in their endeavors to enter China: 

  1. Establish B.V. Rio’s online presence. This entailed setting up an official WeChat account for the NPO and developing a content flow to sustain a growing following. WeChat is a mobile social media and commerce app and the de facto means through which people in mainland China communicate virtually, learn about and transact with businesses, and otherwise access the internet. Its ubiquity in the PRC makes it an essential platform for businesses to have active company profiles. 
  2. Grow B.V. Rio’s network of partners. This entailed convincing manufacturers and NGOs to join the cause of promoting timber sourcing transparency. As Devin puts it, “A lot of global manufacturers and distributors are running into trouble with the European Union and the United States import requirements. If you’re a furniture company out of Guangzhou and trying to export into these places, you’re now facing a growing number of tougher restrictions pertaining to your timber sourcing.” Various Chinese organizations were in a position to help spread awareness of foreign markets’ requirements as shared by B.V. Rio. 
  3. Promote the RTX certification process and trading platform. This entailed convincing sellers to certify and buyers to purchase through certified sellers. B.V. Rio set up a trading platform enabling transactions. Buyers on the platform get lists of sellers who have been certified by B.V. Rio to guarantee that the timber is sourced legally, removing the need to research whether the suppliers are legal. Sellers can undergo a certification process and receive an official icon of certification. 


Within the first few weeks, Devin and Tammy were able to set up the corporate WeChat account and, through a few partners from BYG Advantage’s network, establish an initial following of influencers. From there, Devin set a cadence of four quality articles per month. The process of generating content involved finding relevant information, localizing it to the Chinese audience, and then formatting it into a WeChat article to publish. This WeChat account began generating a large buzz. 


The team went on two roadshows across China, meeting with heads of organizations and presenting at conferences. Setting up each roadshow involved a large amount of outreach and coordination work ahead of time. Devin researched which organizations were good target partners, and he confirmed with B.V. Rio headquarters before initiating contact. He would then find shared connections through the BYG Advantage network to broker introductions. On one of the 5-day roadshows, Devin and Tammy, along with the other B.V. Rio representatives in China, met with fifteen companies from Beijing, GuangZhou, Shanghai, and HangZhou. The group was invited to the China Timber & Wood Products Distribution Association (CTWPDA) main annual conference in Hangzhou, where they met many key figures from China’s timber industry. 


Devin and Tammy also hosted an online conference for B.V. Rio. Ordinarily, B.V. Rio’s main annual event is hosted in person in Africa over the course of two days, but because of the pandemic, B.V. Rio resorted to online, relying on BYG Advantage to host the first ever China section. Several representatives gave presentations, including Devin. Ultimately, the webinar was a huge success. There were many attendees from all over China, including those from the nonprofit sector, the manufacturing sector, timber sourcers, regulatory sector, and media. 


Finally, B.V. Rio was so happy with the traction generated by BYG Advantage’s efforts that they engaged BYG Advantage to create a report on the investor landscape in China. B.V. Rio’s goal was to raise more money in China, and they trusted BYG Advantage’s understanding of the market and of B.V. Rio, itself. The report included the categories of investors, market and policy incentives and disincentives for private investment, the general CSR (corporate social responsibility) landscape in China, and the trends shaping the investment landscape for firms like B.V. Rio in China. BYG Advantage was able to generate more than 100 warm investor connections for B.V Rio, well over the target of 20 leads. 

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