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TrustLaw Awards: you are invited!

Posted By Flavie Fuentes, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Tuesday, September 18, 2018

TrustLaw is the global pro bono program of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a new ANDE member. We connect non-profits and social enterprises around the world with the best law firms who provide pro bono legal assistance to drive social change.  

We will host our TrustLaw Awards next week on September 26th in Times Square, NYC. These awards recognize high impact pro bono projects and lawyers who have gone above and beyond in providing  pro bono legal assistance to non-profits and social enterprises. Each award will commemorate an extraordinary commitment to social change through the power of pro bono.

Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth will open the ceremony and a panel discussion on Business and Ethics will follow. We will then have drinks and nibbles and would love to meet with ANDE members!

You can RSVP here. Hope to see you there! 

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Public Private Partnerships to Address Emerging Threats to Smallholder Farmer Food Security

Posted By Mark Sevier, Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation, Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Background: Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Feed the Future (FTF) initiative. The goal of this announcement is to develop public private partnerships to support smallholder farmers and complement the U.S Government Global Food Security Strategy[1] by directly engaging with the private sector to empower farmers with the tools and technologies they need to face the wide range of emerging threats and shocks in smallholder agriculture. These threats and shocks include fall army worm[2], coffee rust, and other plant and animal pest or disease issues, as well as drought, other natural hazards, and weather-related issues that impact food production and security. Helping smallholders access capital and resources, build assets, and manage risk are important strategies to prepare for and recover from these threats and shocks. Through these activities and investments, private sector agribusinesses will target smallholder customers with proven solutions to these emerging threats, thereby improving smallholder production and regional food security, while also establishing profitable product lines and expanding market opportunities for sustainable business growth. Additionally, Partnering for Innovation and USAID will help private sector partners assess and improve adaptability and responsiveness within their own business models, distribution channels, and inventorying systems to build their capacity to better help farmers proactively reduce and manage risk and recover from shocks and stresses. The full solicitation is posted here.

Funding Opportunity: Overall funding from Partnering for Innovation for this solicitation is up to $3 million with up to five partnerships anticipated.

Deadline for questions:  Deadline is September 14, 2018 by 11:59 pm EDT; answers will be posted to the funding page.

Deadline for submission: October 3, 2018 at 11:59 pm EDT. To complete the application, please use the budget template and budget costs notes posted to the funding page.

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GroFin, shortlisted for Finance for the Future Awards 2018

Posted By Shailen Neewoor, GroFin, Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Updated: Thursday, August 30, 2018
We are excited and proud to announce that GroFin has been nominated as a finalist for the ICAEW & Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) - Finance for the Future Awards 2018 - in the 'Building Sustainable Financial Products' category.

GroFin was shortlisted in the Building Sustainable Financial Products, which recognises organisations that create sustainable business products that are financially sustainable.

GroFin entered this prestigious award to share the achievements of the GroFin Model – an integrated solution of finance and business support to small and growing businesses. The application of this model through the Small Growing Business (SGB) Fund has sustained over 37,000 jobs in Africa since its launch in 2014.

Guido Boysen, GroFin CEO, said: “We are thrilled to be a finalist in the Finance for the Future Awards. This achievement is thanks to the support of our investors, partners and staff. The nomination is an endorsement of our efforts to support and grow SMEs across our 11 countries of operations in Africa.”

Tags:  ANTHOS  Calvert Impact Capital  CDC  DFID  DGGF  FINFUND  FMO  International Finance Corporation  Mastercard Foundation  Omidyar Network  Open Society Foundations - Soros Economic Developm  Rockefeller Foundation  Shell Foundation  Skoll  Triple Jump  USAID 

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SEAF Launches Gender Equality Scorecard ©

Posted By Robert Webster, Small Enterprise Assistance Funds (SEAF), Monday, August 27, 2018

SEAF Launches Gender Equality Scorecard ©

 

Washington, D.C. (August 27, 2018)

 

SEAF, the emerging market impact investing firm, has announced the launch of its proprietary Gender Equality Scorecard (“GES”), which will be a vital tool to support the promotion and achievement of women’s economic empowerment and gender equality in SEAF’s global investments.  The GES is initially being piloted in SEAF’s investments in Southeast Asia and it is expected to be used eventually across SEAF’s world-wide, impact investing platform.

                               

Jennifer Buckley, SEAF Senior Managing Director, stated, “SEAF’s Gender Equality Scorecard is launched with the conviction that those firms that realize internal gender equality in terms of compensation, leadership and other factors are superior financial performers and powerful drivers of women’s economic empowerment.  In this way, SEAF sees enormous potential in using the GES to create shared value for women, investors and entrepreneurs.”

 

SEAF’s Gender Equality Scorecard will assess potential and existing SEAF investees on gender equality, scoring across six key gender equality vectors:  pay equity, leadership and governance, workforce participation, benefits and professional development, workplace environment, and women-powered value chains.  These assessments will identify opportunities to improve gender equality and hence guide SEAF’s critical post-investment value creation work.

 

The Scorecard was born out of SEAF’s current gender lens investing initiative, the SEAF Women’s Opportunity Fund.  This Fund was launched in partnership with the Investing in Women (“IW”) initiative of the Australian government and focuses on women-led/owned businesses in Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia.  The Criterion Institute, the gender lens investing think tank and an IW partner, has played a critical role in GES’ development.

 

“SEAF’s Gender Equality Scorecard represents an exciting and innovative development to advance gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in the impact investing space,” explained Joy Anderson, President and Founder, Criterion Institute. “We are delighted to partner with SEAF and look forward to the GES’ continued development and influence.”

 

Bob Webster, SEAF Managing Director, said, “The Gender Equality Scorecard is the next key step in our gender lens investing journey and we look forward to working with our partners, including future stakeholders such as asset managers and academic institutions, in assessing its validity and improving it over time.  After its pilot use in the SEAF Women’s Opportunity Fund, its use will be expanded to SEAF’s next generation of gender lens investing initiatives, which are currently under development.”

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Tags:  creating shared value  emerging market  financial inclusion  gender equality  impact investing  impact investment  inclusive business  innovation  womenCreating Shared Value  women's economic empowerment 

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FINCA International Launches FINCA Ventures, an Early-Stage Impact Investor

Posted By Michael Leen, FINCA International, Wednesday, August 22, 2018

ANDE Member and global microfinance pioneer FINCA International has announced the launch of FINCA Ventures, an impact investing platform that provides patient capital and pre- and post-investment support to help early-stage social enterprises achieve growth and scale.

FINCA Ventures aims to accelerate the growth of social enterprises developing goods that align with FINCA’s charitable mission, thus fostering a market for affordable, high-quality and life-improving products and services for low-income families.

Over the past 18 months, FINCA Ventures has invested in six social enterprises serving emerging market customers, including Amped Innovation, BioLite, Eneza Education, Good Nature Agro, Ignitia and Sanivation. The investment profile for FINCA Ventures spans energy, WASH, education, health, agriculture and fintech, with a geographic focus on sub-Saharan Africa.

For more information, visit www.FINCAVentures.com

or contact Ami.Dalal@FINCA.org and Alex.Evangelides@FINCA.org

 

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Tags:  ANDE Members  BOP  impact investing  social enterprise 

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Why Iraq makes a compelling case for Impact Investments

Posted By Shailen Neewoor, GroFin, Tuesday, August 21, 2018

In December 2017, Iraq confirmed it had defeated the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, three years after the jihadi group swept through the country, seizing some of its largest cities and wreaking havoc on the local population.

Now, authorities estimate Iraq needs nearly US$90 billion to restore the country that has been reeling under the impact of occupation by the ISIS. While the 10-year reconstruction plan will cost US$88.2 billion, at least a quarter, US$22 billion, is required immediately.

Of this, Iraqi officials state that at least US$17 billion will go toward rebuilding homes. The United Nations estimates 40,000 homes need to be rebuilt in Mosul alone. A major city in northern Iraq, Mosul was affected most deeply by ISIS extremists who devastated homes, schools, hospitals and economic infrastructure, displacing millions of people.

GroFin Iraq Client - Basra Driving Institute

And the turmoil in Mosul is just the tip of the iceberg. Across the nation, the war against the ISIS displaced more than 5 million people – of which less than half have returned to their hometowns in Iraq. Moreover, more than 4 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance with 3 million unable to regularly attend school in Iraq, according to UNICEF statistics. As many as one in four Iraqi children live in poverty in the nation of 37 million.

Also, as OPEC’s second-largest crude producer and home to the world’s fifth-largest known reserves, Iraq needs up to US$7 billion to repair its oil and gas fields as it is currently struggling to pay the international firms running them. Against this backdrop, the Middle East as a whole, especially countries like Kuwait whose deep pockets rely on oil production, have taken a hit in recent years as energy prices crashed and only recently began regaining ground.

Given the enormity of the humanitarian and economic crisis that is threatening to engulf the Middle East as a whole, governments from around the world have pledged billions of dollars in loans and investment for the reconstruction of Iraq. Indeed, Iraq secured nearly US$25 billion in investment and credit during an international donors’ conference in Kuwait City, with Britain and Turkey leading the charge.

While some observers question the rationale for investment instead of aid, it cannot be denied that having a long-term stake in Iraq – as is implied by an investment over a prolonged period of time – promises sustained and targeted engagement and interest in the country. Long-term investments are most certainly the need of the hour, with schools, sanitation and basic health care all sorely needed in areas devastated by the ISIS.

Such infrastructure projects could well be undertaken by private sector companies, backed by the World Bank or external donors. Indeed, to support rebuilding efforts in Iraq by attracting investors, World Bank officials have been pointing to legal guarantees available in post-ISIS Iraq, courtesy an investment law that offers ownership, unlimited cash transfers and tax breaks, among other benefits.

GroFin Iraq Client - Al Majal Technical Services (AMTS)

However, officials acknowledge a feeling of fatigue from international donors, especially since the ISIS occupation has sparked the biggest mass migration since World War II. Moreover, ennui has set in, as this is the second time in less than two decades that Iraq has turned to the international investor community and government allies for support in nation rebuilding, the last time being the aftermath of the 2003 war.

At this critical juncture, Iraq needs a concerted focus to rebuild the nation by raising funds from right-minded and long-term investors in a manner that is sustainable and inclusive. It is here that impact investors, with their sense of mission, emphasis on blended returns instead of purely financial returns, and focus on developing vital needs sectors such as schools, hospitals and energy, have an important role to play.

Within the impact investing arena, pioneering organisations such as GroFin that have an entrenched presence in the Middle East, can lead the way for the investor community as a whole. GroFin’s dedicated Nomou Iraq Fund supports 81 local entrepreneurs and has extended funding of US$ 4.9 mn to 9 homegrown SMEs that sustain a total of 657 jobs and support 3,285 livelihoods per annum (all figures as at end of 2017). Moreover, Nomou Iraq’s finance and support touches many lives at the base of the pyramid (BoP), with 46% of all employees at investee SMEs comprising low-to-semi-skilled workers, while 700 customers served per annum belong to BoP households.

Ultimately, impact investments are the need of the hour for Iraq as the war-torn nation grapples with an uncertain future in the absence of the required funding to build basic infrastructure for its residents, currently counting as many as 3 million internally displaced persons. If you are an investor seeking to make a difference in the Middle East, GroFin Iraq would be happy to partner with you and enable you to reach out to local entrepreneurs whose businesses are generating employment at scale and touching multiple lives.

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Funding Opportunity: Solicitation for New Agricultural Partnerships (SNAP) in Cambodia

Posted By Mark Sevier, Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation, Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation is now accepting applications from private sector firms in response to its Solicitation for New Agricultural Partnerships (SNAP) in Cambodia.

Partnering for Innovation will provide funding on behalf of USAID/Cambodia by developing shared-value partnerships with private sector companies selling high-quality inputs and services to small, medium, and/or large-scale farmers. The partnerships, which will benefit both the business and its farmer customers, will be designed to develop Cambodia’s agricultural sector and spur economic growth by introducing or scaling commercial products and services that increase farmer productivity. 

For-profit businesses, including domestic and international businesses registered in Cambodia, are invited to submit an application. Applications are due by September 14, 2018. 

To learn more, review requirements, and apply, please click here!

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Need help on an impact investing question? Work with Duke MBA students this year

Posted By Carrie Gonnella, The Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke, Thursday, July 19, 2018
Updated: Thursday, July 19, 2018

The CASE i3 Consulting Practicum (CASE i3CP) offers your organization the opportunity to engage with a team of carefully selected MBA students from Duke University on an impact investing question you are currently addressing.  You benefit from the passion, fresh perspective, independence, and technical expertise our students bring to the CASE i3CP.  Our students benefit from the opportunity to apply their academic learning to an of-the-moment issue in the impact investing space.

How it works:  We select 5 to 7 impact investing-related projects annually and match each client with a select team of Duke University Fuqua School of Business MBA students.  Teams spend on average 400 person-hours researching, analyzing, and making actionable recommendations that they incorporate into client deliverables.  Teams work remotely with you and are directly supervised by Cathy Clark, Duke faculty member and Director of CASE i3.

Previous clients and projects:  We're proud to have a 100% client satisfaction rate over the last 3 years.  Some of our 30+ previous clients include Calvert Impact Capital, World Economic Forum, Investors' Circle, SJF Ventures, Mercy Corps, Big Path Capital, and more.  You can read a Q&A with one of last year's clients, Quantified Ventures, here.  Some of our past projects have related to investment landscaping, impact assessment, product formation, and deal and industry diligence.

Final student deliverables remain confidential to the client, but a few of our clients have already gone public with the work our students did for them.  You can find a blog post by SJF Ventures here and from Investors' Circle's PCC fund here.

We're thrilled with the responses we've received from clients:  

  • “The CASE i3 Team was a dream to work with.  They were curious, diligent, and rigorous in their research and analysis – always ensuring that the work would be helpful and relevant to our organization in the long run.” – Calvert Impact Capital
  •  “We benefited greatly from the CASE i3 team’s diverse skill set and self-directed approach in analyzing opportunities for expansion.”  – Mercy Corps Social Venture Fund

How to apply:  Applications are open until August 31, 2018 to work with our MBA students over the 2018-2019 academic year.  To find more information on the work timeline and the online application, click here.  Email Carrie Gonnella at carrie.gonnella@duke.edu with any questions.

Tags:  Access to Finance  capacity development  education  finance  impact investing  impact investment  MBA  mentoring 

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Defining Financial Exclusion: why we need to focus on the problem, not just the solution

Posted By Lexi Doolittle, Small Scale Sustainable Infrastructure Development Fund, Thursday, July 19, 2018
Updated: Thursday, July 19, 2018

There’s a lot of discussion on financial inclusion, the value of the bringing an individual into the fold of the formal financial system, and the potential benefits of that inclusion. However, there is little discussion on what it actually means to be financially excluded and how, because of this exclusion, the lives of the working poor, their communities, and entire institutional systems are more insecure, costly, and constricted. 

This new article from S3IDF engages with the lived realities of financial exclusion with the intention of driving a movement where various stakeholders collectively create an intelligent foundation on which we can develop replicable pathways towards sustainable financial inclusion for more stable, affordable, fruitful livelihoods for the financially excluded, their families and their communities.

 

 

Tags:  Access to Finance  capacity development  Entrepreneurship  finance  India  Private sector development  Social entrepreneurship 

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5 steps you can take today to start measuring your business impact

Posted By Nazila Vali, Business Call to Action at UNDP, Monday, July 16, 2018

How to start measuring the impact of your business to advance the Sustainable Development Goals.

By Rabayl Mirza, Impact Management Specialist at the Business Call to Action 
 

Shea nut worker, Burkina Faso. Credit: Ollivier Girard/CIFOR
Impact measurement can be challenging if you have never done it before and don’t know where to start. Even the savviest professionals sometimes find it hard to choose between various tools, methodologies and frameworks available. Truth is, knowing what impact you’re making doesn’t have to be complicated. We have identified a few simple things anyone can do to kickstart impact measurement:

1. Write down your goals and put them up so you can refer to them every day. Having specific, measurable goals visible serves as a daily reminder to you and your team about what you’re working towards. Integrating your goals with the Sustainable Development Goals as a first step is a practical way to chart your progress towards the global agenda. 

2. 
Define your beneficiaries. Saying your project helps women and children is not enough. Identifying the exact demographic and profile is a critical step towards quantifying impact. It is especially important to get feedback on your impact from your beneficiaries and to not make any assumptions. L’Occitane, an inclusive business, worked with BCtA as part of the BIMS (BCtA Impact Measurement Services) to learn more about the women farmers they source their shea butter from. The specific insights emerging from that process about the needs of their beneficiaries helped them make their engagement more impactful. Read their case study

3. 
Give yourself a deadline. Breaking down targets into short term and long term is valuable so you can keep track of progress over time and know what needs to be prioritized. Aligning your targets with the SDG targets positions your efforts globally and helps communicate your impact clearly to your stakeholders.

4. 
Find out what your peers are doing. Research similar business models, get in touch with relevant experts in the field, and apply best practices where appropriate. The BIMS case studies, for example, represent a great source of information about the impact measurement journey of 21 inclusive businesses. 

5. 
Sign-up for the Lab! The Business Call to Action has developed an online lab, which takes you through 4 integrated modules to assess your readiness for impact measurement, define your goals and plans, monitor your impact data, and finally, analyze impact data and report your results. Signing up takes a minute and you can keep coming back to refine, review and update your impact measurement plans.  
 

Tags:  Africa  impact  impact management  impact measurement  inclusive business  inclusive innovation 

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