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Tech SMEs and development industry veterans fighting to make aid agencies more innovative and results-oriented

Unlock Aid

Unlock Aid

BAO Systems, an industry leader for digital data solutions, spearheaded the creation of Unlock Aid, a new organization of innovative development leaders.

The idea was to gather like-minded organizations who want to change the rules, shape the market, and strengthen the innovators.”
— Steffen Tengesdal

WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, UNITED STATES, September 17, 2021 / -- BAO Systems, a data-focused company that empowers partners to implement scalable and sustainable solutions that uncover data-driven insight, has led the creation of a coalition that drives major structural change in global development, starting with public institutions. Several small to medium sized technology and technology enabled companies have come together to form Unlock Aid. Together they will unleash the power, creativity, and speed of experienced innovators in development, helping to shape the market and drive faster, more sustainable, and less expensive outcomes at scale.

Many of the world’s largest international development agencies have a vital role to play to meet 21st-century challenges like climate change and pandemic response. Yet they are constrained by regulations and business practices established decades ago, and face challenges in delivering results or innovating at the speed needed to make a significant impact.

Steffen Tengesdal, CEO of BAO Systems, “As the originators of this concept, we are thrilled to see Unlock Aid launch formally. The idea was to gather like-minded organizations who want to change the rules, shape the market, and strengthen the innovators. Our vision has become a reality through a close working partnership over this year with the Starling Agency. We have an ambitious plan and are looking to make an impact with our agenda.”

BAO Systems strives to ensure that data are available, accessible, digestible, and used for programmatic decision-making across all levels of an information system or within an organization. Though an industry leader for digital data solutions, BAO Systems is a small business, and a majority of the company’s work is under a prime contractor for more significant funders like United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Unlocking Aid will begin collaboration with USAID to transform the agency into the most results-oriented, innovative aid organization in the world. At USAID’s Small Business Conference, Samantha Power, USAID Administrator, said, “small businesses are a vital engine for ingenuity and truly inclusive economic development. You bring fresh ideas to the fore.” She added, “we strive to make it as straightforward as possible to partner with us, because we recognize that expanding the diversity of our partners is critical to successfully and cost-effectively accomplish our mission.”

Unlock Aid is open to anyone, individuals and companies, who want to help shape the future of international development. The coalition welcomes feedback on policy ideas regarding the way forward for USAID. At the global level, the coalition seeks input in compiling a global policy agenda. Key areas for consideration are how to significantly increase innovation funding to rapidly incubate new ideas and scale up proven ones, streamline procurement rules to make it easier to work with locally-led organizations, new partners, and technology innovators, build pro-innovation, 21st-century workforces and promote radical transparency in contracting and procurement.

BAO Systems is a data-focused company with service and product offerings in the areas of data collection, data integration, data analytics and data sciences. BAO Systems is well versed in governance, compliance, data and information security, and has deep technical expertise in application development.

Kjerstin Andreasen
BAO Systems
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