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Argidius - ANDE Talent Challenge
 The Argidius - ANDE Talent Challenge

The Argidius Foundation and the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs Announce Talent Challenge Winners

 Five finalists chosen to tackle the recruitment and retention challenges for start-up management in emerging markets                   

ZUG, Switzerland and WASHINGTON—April 12, 2016—Finding talented managers is a critical challenge for entrepreneurs everywhere, but it is especially difficult in emerging markets. To help overcome this hurdle, the Argidius Foundation and the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) launched a talent challenge to help identify, attract and retain middle- and senior-level managers prepared to guide these dynamic firms.

The Argidius–ANDE Talent Challenge (AATC) has now identified five promising solutions to the human capital constraints for small and growing businesses (SGBs). Pending final review, the finalists will be awarded grants of up to 200,000 euros to conduct pilot programs that will last up to three years, during which time ANDE will provide ongoing guidance. Provided impact targets are met, a grand prize of up to one million euros will be awarded to the most successful program with the greatest potential to scale.

These winning projects include:

Amani Institute will implement a new leadership development initiative to build skills of SGB managers in East Africa. Leveraging a three-week leadership training program as the cornerstone of the initiative, the effort will reach at least 300 middle- and senior-level SGB managers in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda over the next three years.

Creative Metier will develop the executive coaching market in Kenya by working with leading Kenyan executive coaches to support SGB senior leaders as well as training local coaching firms to provide ongoing coaching to small and growing businesses. If successful in Kenya, Creative Metier will seek to stimulate the growth of executive coaching for SGBs in additional markets.

Open Capital Advisors will extend their work in talent in East Africa by offering diagnostics, tools, and consulting services to SGBs in order to improve the entire spectrum of their talent strategy: pre-hire planning, hiring, and post-hire talent management. As part of this effort, Open Capital will develop a suite of Freemium talent diagnostics and tools that will be available to SGBs globally, via their own network and a number of partner institutions.

Shortlist will dramatically improve how job seekers identify career opportunities and how small and growing businesses source and screen talent. Focused on mid-level job openings, the Shortlist approach combines a suite of digital tools that lead to a lower cost yet more effective recruitment process, while providing every candidate with meaningful feedback on their application.

Village Capital will develop a comprehensive talent roadmap for SGBs by creating an open source curriculum on recruitment; training SGBs with a newly developed talent guide; and connecting communities with job opportunities in multiple regions. Initially, they plan to directly support at least 36 new SGBs from Africa and Latin America, as well as their existing 150 alumni enterprises in those regions.

“We’re pleased to have received so many qualified and innovative proposals to help solve the people puzzle for small businesses. We’re confident that we can work together to expand the pool of talented professionals ready to welcome the challenges unique to small and growing businesses,” said Nicholas Colloff, Argidius Foundation executive director.

An expert panel of SGB sector professionals selected the winners based on the clarity, feasibility, capacity, expected impact and scalability of the proposed solution. Applications were required to focus on at least one of the following Argidius Foundation-target countries in Latin America (Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama), West Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo), or East Africa (Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda).

You may read the full press release here. 


Photo: Vincent L Long. Courtsey of TechnoServe
en Francais
en Español
For small and growing businesses (SGBs) in most emerging market countries, it is extremely difficult to attract middle and senior level managers who are skilled enough to guide high-growth firms. The relative riskiness of working for an entrepreneurial firm in the context of often unstable economies and conservative business cultures drives talented managers to larger firms and government employment.

Likewise, while SGBs would like to invest more in developing existing employees via training or mentorship programs, they often lack the financial resources to do so.  Thus, SGBs face barriers at all phases of talent development:  recruitment, development, and retention.

To promote successful talent engagement strategies, ANDE and The Argidius Foundation are pleased to launch the Argidius-ANDE Talent Challenge. The challenge seeks to identify highly promising solutions to human capital constraints, provide funding to experiment with these models, and ultimately scale the best ideas.  

The challenge is open to all organizations (or teams of organizations) working to help small and growing businesses in specific emerging market geographies to recruit, develop and/or retain talent at  the middle and upper level management levels. The challenge is open to non-profit or for-profit institutions, including financial institutions.  Successful applicants will have significant expertise in offering or enabling human capital solutions to emerging market entrepreneurs and strong internal metrics and evaluation capacity with established tools for measuring impact.

Funds will be disbursed in two rounds of funding.  In the first phase, we plan to disburse grants of up to €200,000 to up to five pilot programs in April 2016. It is expected that the pilot programs will run for up to three years. However, the final timing will be determined based on the pilots selected. Based upon an evaluation of the pilot programs, we plan to award a grand prize of up to €I million to the pilot program deemed most impactful and most likely to scale.

For more details please review the full request for proposals found below 

Request for Proposal (English)
Request for Proposal (French)
Request for Proposal (Spanish) 

Have Questions?

ANDE  hosted a  series Q&A webinars. The webinar recordings can be found below. Password is "ande"

Or please read our "frequently asked questions"

Recommended Reading

 Q&A Webinar #1

 Q&A Webinar #2

AATC Webinar #2 from ANDE on Vimeo.










Photo: Vincent L Long. Courtesy of TechnoServe                                                                    Photo: Nile Spraque. Courtsey of TechnoServe