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Climate change litigation and event attribution - a panel discussion hosted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation - April 24th - NYC

Posted By Flavie Fuentes, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Friday, April 12, 2019

The Thomson Reuters Foundation invites you to a panel discussion on the role of event attribution science in climate litigation.

“Event attribution” is a ground-breaking new field of study that determines what proportion of a specific extreme weather event can be blamed on climate change.

Experts suggest that it could play a major role in climate change litigation, which in turn could reshape climate mitigation and adaptation policies globally.

Join us on April 24th, and hear leading experts in the sector share their insights on how this cutting-edge science could hold businesses and governments accountable – and drive climate-related lawsuits.

The panel discussion will be followed by a reception.

Speakers:

  • Jeffrey Sachs, University Professor and Director of the Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University
  • Michael Burger, Executive Director, Sabin Center, Senior Research Scholar and Lecturer in Law, Columbia Law School
  • Julie Arrighi, Climate Advisor, Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre
  • Peter Frumhoff, Director of Science and Policy, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Lindene Patton, Partner, Earth and Water Law Group
  • Moderator: Sebastien Malo, Climate Correspondent, Thomson Reuters Foundation

 

Date and time:

 Wed, April 24, 2019

5:30 PM – 7:30 PM EDT

 

Location:

 

Dentons

1221 6th Avenue

New York, NY 10020

 

RSVP here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/what-are-the-legal-ramifications-of-event-attribution-tickets-59534027880

Tags:  Climate change  Climate litigation  event attribution 

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Accion invests in CÍVICO to accelerate access to innovative financial services in Latin America

Posted By Lisa Johnson, Accion, Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Bogotá, Colombia, April 3, 2019 — Global nonprofit Accion announced today an investment in Latin American digital platform CÍVICO. The funds will help CÍVICO invest in technology and analytics, expand its merchant network, and develop its suite of financial services.

CÍVICO is a digital platform that enables access to information and services to improve the quality of life of individuals in Latin America. The company provides micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Bogotá, Colombia; Mexico City, Mexico; and Santiago, Chile with a platform to connect with local customers as well as business information and payment services. CÍVICO also provides a strong value proposition to its merchants with electronic payments, e-commerce, business education in digital marketing techniques, coupons and loyalty programs, as well as better bookkeeping techniques. Today, CÍVICO has more than 600,000 registered merchants and helps serve more than 4 million consumers.

“We’re excited to bring on Accion as our newest partner. With its decades of experience supporting financial services innovation in Latin America and around the world, we know Accion’s investment and advisory support will be critical as we scale our services and reach in the region,” said Ricardo Pombo, CEO and Co-founder of CÍVICO.

"Latin American entrepreneurs often lack access to formal financial services and adequate business training. Through its simple, digital platform, CÍVICO is closing this gap and helping small businesses thrive," said Michael Schlein, President and CEO of Accion. “Accion is excited to bring our global expertise to CÍVICO’s experienced management team and help leverage its innovative technology platform to scale financial services in the region,” said Radhika Shroff, Deputy Chief Investment Officer of Accion Global Investments.

As part of its merchant customer acquisition strategy, CÍVICO uses an innovative crowdsourcing model to identify and confirm MSME information, including the business’ names, contact information, hours, and services. This information, along with merchants’ and users’ data, helps CÍVICO learn more about the MSMEs it serves, connect them with local customers, and develop deeper profiles that can be used to better understand community needs and ultimately provide entrepreneurs with tailored financial services. The company also partners with large financial service providers to help entrepreneurs access the electronic payment systems they need to accept credit and debit cards, allowing them to increase sales.

In addition to financial support, Accion is providing advisory services to enable CÍVICO to reach more clients throughout Colombia, Mexico, and Chile. The advisory services will support the company as it further develops its financial services distribution and enables more merchants to access quality digital services.

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About Accion

Accion is a global nonprofit committed to creating a financially inclusive world, with a pioneering legacy in microfinance and fintech impact investing. We catalyze financial service providers to deliver high-quality, affordable solutions at scale for the three billion people who are left out of — or poorly served by — the financial sector. For more than 50 years, Accion has helped tens of millions of people through our work with more than 110 partners in 50 countries. More at http://www.accion.org>.

 

Link to associated blog: https://www.accion.org/how-one-platform-connects-cities-and-boosts-small-businesses/

Tags:  communities  digital economy  emerging markets  financial inclusion  impact investing  innovative finance 

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Beyond Traditional Gender Lens Investing: An Intersectional Approach

Posted By Melissa Benn, The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, Thursday, April 4, 2019
Updated: Thursday, April 4, 2019

By Melissa Benn, Senior Program Analyst, and Alexandra Solomon, Senior Research Analyst for Ethics and Human Rights 


Gender Lens Investing: “The deliberate integration of gender analysis into investment analysis and decision-making

Gender lens investing (GLI) is “an investing approach that deliberately incorporates a desire to make a difference in the lives of women and girls, while meeting the risk/return objectives appropriate for an institutional portfolio.” The Criterion Institute and Jackie VanderBrug, Managing Director of Global Wealth Management at Bank of America, developed a comprehensive gender lens investing framework, defining, disaggregating, and evaluating the ways in which various investments can benefit and empower women.

Overall, GLI can include, but is not limited to, investments along the following three pillars: (i) Increasing access to capital for women, (ii) workplace equity for women, (iii) products and services for women.

Source: Investor toolkit with a focus on girls and young women. SPRING Accelerator, October 2018. Page 14.

Intersectionality: The interconnected nature of social categorizations, such as race, class, gender, and sexuality, and how they overlap to create interdependent systems of disadvantage and discrimination

In development contexts, women are often considered to be a singular unified cohort that can be grouped together and served based solely on their gender. However, women are not a monolith. This overly simplistic classification interferes with the development community’s ability to serve the most vulnerable populations of women. Intersectionality broadens the concept of “women” and brings visibility to women with differential identities.

Because different groups have different needs, one must pay explicit attention to, and create, programs and solutions focused on different categorizations of women. Such solutions and programs may include, but are not limited to: race, ethnicity, income level, food security, income security, education level, location, financial literacy, access to information, land ownership and access, number of children and/or dependents in the household, disease burden, and marital status. Accounting for these factors would create a truly intersectional and impactful venture fund that does not overlook or exclude women with varying degrees of vulnerability.

How do we best address intersectionality to ensure the three above-mentioned pillars of GLI are inclusive?

 

Increasing access to capital for women

At the US Chamber of Commerce’s International Women’s Day Forum, Jamie Sears, Executive Director of Americas UBS Community Affairs & Corporate Responsibility, spoke about the “myth of meritocracy in the entrepreneur space” and how “discrimination is structural and persistent.” According to the World Bank, 70% of formal women-owned small- and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries are either excluded by financial institutions or are unable to access financial services that meet their needs, resulting in a $287 billion gender funding gap annually. As investors rethink their impact and more purposefully direct capital flows, they have the opportunity to work with development actors to promote not only economic change and empowerment, but also the ability to address the accompanying shifts in attitudes, policies, and practices required to result in sustainable system change.

 

Workplace equity for women: Promoting gender equity throughout the value chain

Understanding how value chains are embedded in the social context that defines differential roles, opportunities, and barriers to success is essential to maximize efficiency, productivity, and profitability. Gender-blind and need-blind investments risk exacerbating gender inequities, failing to identify opportunities for economic growth, and widening the looming gender funding gap and gender agricultural productivity gap, which stands at an estimated 30% in Malawi. A purposeful focus on gender and other intersectional dynamics sheds light on the otherwise invisible relative disadvantages that all kinds of women face and can inform investment strategies in new or improved value chains.

Similarly, many development actors focus on microfinance as the silver bullet to women’s economic empowerment. However, by focusing on microfinance within spheres already in women’s limited areas of control (ie, market vending, textiles, etc), it is easy to overlook the root causes of inequities and not address larger systems built on patriarchal norms – such as politics, health care, and education – that exploit women and perpetuate their lack of adequate representation.

Further up the value chain, we see a growing body of evidence has linked gender diversity to measures of better performance, including return on invested capital (ROIC), return on equity (ROE), and ROE volatility. While this evidence highlights ROI for women’s representation and the damaging nature of gender-blind investments, more research is needed to parse out the different identities of women, such as women of color, women of varying income levels, LGBT people, and women living in the Global South.

 

Products and services for women

Very few companies directly address the needs of women, let alone the needs of women in the Global South. Jackie VanderBrug draws attention to the need for products that address the challenges that women face and how innovation has been gender-blind in many ways to date. In agriculture, for example, technology is “necessarily filtered through the gendered patterns of agricultural labour, household enterprises, family food consumption decisions and social structures.”

According to the SPRING Accelerator Investor Toolkit, “girls and young women do not need to be the direct end users to be impacted by a business’s products and services.” Investors can focus on ecosystems and specific industries, such as EdTech, that benefit and accelerate the success of women.

 

Foundation for a Smoke-Free World’s Agricultural Transformation Initiative in Malawi

If the work of the Foundation and the work of the development community is to address the needs of the most marginalized peoples, we must strive to define inclusion beyond gender. While women continue to be underserved and underutilized along the value chain, we have the ability to think deeper and to address the many layered issues that the most marginalized women in the world face.

The Agricultural Transformation Initiative’s (ATI) Investment Support Facility (ISF) in Malawi is focused on integrating smallholders into investor-grade transactions. All transactions in the pipeline must include women in a substantial way, integrate significant numbers of smallholder farmers into their business models, and demonstrate meaningful income and productivity increases for smallholders. We seek to answer the question: What does it mean to truly and materially integrate and include all women?

If you have ideas for helping to ensure the ISF is an intersectional investment fund, please comment below! We are always looking for new ideas to ensure we support the most vulnerable communities in Malawi and are eager to have you be part of the conversation.

Download File (TIF)

 Attached Files:
GLI framework.tif (180.23 KB)

Tags:  Africa  capacity development  entrepreneurship  impact investing  Malawi  Women  women's economic empowerment 

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Working with investors to develop proactive talent strategies

Posted By Rebecca Harrison, African Management Initiative, Thursday, March 21, 2019

Working with investors to develop proactive talent strategies 

Human capital is a key challenge for many SGBs. Getting and keeping the right team in place is critical to propel ventures to scale – yet founding teams often struggle to find the right fit. Many investors in African companies have tolAMI they want to focus more post-investment support on developing talent within their investee companies. But they often aren’t sure how to develop a talent strategy that cuts across their investment portfolio.

AMI hosted a roundtable discussion in Nairobi last month for around 30 early and growth stage investors into East Africa interested in adopting more proactive talent strategies for their portfolio companies. We shared 3 models we’ve seen used to provide post-investment human capital support, and hosted a candid discussion around what is and isn’t working.

AMI identified the following three broad buckets for ways to engage around talent at a portfolio company level. We heard from various investors, who shared how they are using different approaches to help their investee companies build out the teams they need to scale.

Three models:

Facilitative model   This could also be described as the ‘matchmaking’ model. The facilitative model is used when investors help companies understand their talent needs, identify and introduce them to quality providers, and then show them how to engage. The investor’s role here is primarily diagnostic and facilitative, and aims to support needs that are specific to each founding teams/organisation. Some investors are using TA funds to finance these interventions.

Examples: For AHL Ventures, talent is one of the main post-investment challenges that companies across their portfolio face. They often work with their companies on creating a talent plan or helping them directly acquire talent. They also refer investee companies to talent providers, where appropriate, using experience on what has worked with other portfolio companies to inform recommendations. For example, AMI has worked with AHL to train employees in several of their investee companies, including MKOPAPowerGenEthioChicken and Equity for Tanzania.

A different approach within the facilitative model was shared by CDC Groupwhich is developing an online directory for investee companies providing information on different human capital services available, including services specific to talent development – training, recruiting etc. CDC aims to make this directory available more broadly with the goal of also building the broader ecosystem (see supply-side model below).

Direct model The direct model differs from the facilitative model, as it works to identify a very clear need across the investor’s portfolio, instead of working on a case-by-case basis. This model is focused on solving a specific challenge, for example developing middle managers, hiring CFOs or working on enterprise sales. The goal is to offer a structured programme or intervention that cuts across the entire portfolio. This approach is becoming increasingly popular as investors deepen their understanding around critical talent challenges, and is often funded by a blend of investor/TA subsidy and direct payment by the company.

Examples: Acumen identified a need across its portfolio to strengthen middle management skills and build leadership bench strength below the executive team. They first partnered with AMI 3 years ago to develop cross-portfolio programmes for both middle and senior managers and now run at least one programme annually. Interestingly, Acumen started by subsidising the programmes significantly, but has gradually phased this out. Companies now pay directly, and many have worked this into their annual planning and budgeting processes.

Shell Foundation took a similarly direct approach, offering AMI management programmes to companies across its portfolio on a cost share basis, after identifying management skills as a cross-cutting need. In this case, Shell Foundation allowed companies to engage AMI on their own terms, but provided the cost-share to make this possible. More than 100 have continued to work with AMI on a fully commercial basis, demonstrating that investors can often play a catalytic role in demonstrating the value of human capital services to companies.

Finally, Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P) hosts a pan-African entrepreneurship club for its portfolio companies, where portfolio companies are invited to exchange ideas and debate on various issues including recruitment and retention. I&P also hosts seminars on specific topics of interest to entrepreneurs.

Supply-side support A small and growing group of investors are working to strengthen the ecosystem of human capital providers itself, either through grants and investments into supply-side players, or through experimentation with innovative sector-building models.

Examples: Shell Foundation is working with Argidius Foundation and Bluehaven to develop a Talent Facility to encourage and enable early-stage enterprises to invest in talent even when cash is constrained. Bluehaven, AHL and I&P have all invested directly into human capital providers such as AMI and Shortlist. And both Bluehaven and Argidius Foundation have provided grants to build the talent ecosystem more broadly.

Top learnings from investors:

Each of the 30 investors in attendance have several years of experience working in the impact investment sector in East Africa and globally, and shared openly about what they’ve learned around human capital. Here are a few high-level learnings

    • Investors can and should influence, and even incentivise, founding teams to focus on talent. Investors noted that founders themselves needed to be bought into human capital as a strategic priority. Investors can make their expectations clear in this regard, both before investment during diue diligence and after investment, at a board level.
    • Human capital is a core strategic priority not a ‘nice to have’ – is it on the agenda at board meetings? Many companies and investors agree that talent is important, but then spend their board meetings talking about fund-raising and sales targets. Investors who sit on boards can push talent issues up the agenda by asking the right questions around talent strategy.
    • Proactive talent strategy is more effective than reactive crisis management: Investors have seen talent challenges emerge when companies grow very quickly. Investors can encourage companies to get the right human capital systems and structures in place ahead of (or at least at the beginning) of a period of aggressive growth, and can share lessons learned from other portfolio companies.
    • Investors have seen key needs cut across portfolio companies. Some key themes emerged from the discussion – for the example the need to develop middle management, the shortage of strong CFO candidates and challenges with enterprise sales. However investors working at different stages of the investment cycle noted that different approaches are required for early-stage businesses versus more mature companies. Investors can benefit from sharing notes with others investing at a similar stage.
    • Due diligence should include a structured focus on management capacity & learning mindset. Many investors are being more intentional and structured about probing the management capacity of founding teams and their broader leadership. Some noted the importance of ensuring that entrepreneurs themselves have a learning mindset, and so are likely to build a learning culture across the organisation.
    • Start with simple interventions that work – A quick and easy way to start leveraging your experience as an investor to drive talent development is to introduce functional heads from within your own portfolio to each other. For example, introducing the head of marketing from two of your investee companies to each other is extremely beneficial for growth, learning and innovation.

We’d love to hear from any investors who have tried approaches not listed here. What’s worked for you? What are you still trying to figure out? Can we help?

AMI delivers a practical and scalable approach to workplace learning using a blended methodology that combines online courses with in-person workshops and practical hands-on application. AMI has rolled out 70 programmes across 13 African countries and directly trained over 26,000 people, including hundreds working at investor-backed growth companies. In 2019, AMI was named one of the Companies to Inspire Africa by the London Stock Exchange Group.

Tags:  Africa  capacity development  east africa  emerging markets  Human Capital  impact investing  impact investment  investors  smes  social enterprise  social impact  talent  Training & Events 

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Legal Workshop for social enterprises

Posted By Flavie Fuentes, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Monday, March 18, 2019
Updated: Monday, March 18, 2019

Are you a social enterprise with legal questions or concerns? If you are already a member of TrustLaw, the Thomson Reuters Foundation's global pro bono program, please join us on April 3, 2019 in NYC for lunch  for our Legal Health Check Workshop where you will be matched with expert lawyers from JP Morgan and Simpson Thacher who will be able to identify your legal needs through our TrustLaw Legal Health Check, and draft priority requests that determine the legal assistance needed. 

If you are not a TrustLaw member yet, please contact us at emily.donohoe@thomsonreuters.com to check your eligibility. 

Tags:  legal  Pro Bono  social enterprise  TrustLaw 

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TrustLaw's Impact Webinar

Posted By Flavie Fuentes, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Wednesday, March 6, 2019

 

 

We know how easy it can be to get caught up in the numbers, so we’re inviting you to something a little different. Join TrustLaw Director Nicholas Glicher in conversation with two of our most active and impact-driven members as they discuss how pro bono legal support is helping them achieve their missions.

 

RSVP here: http://www.trust.org/trustlaw/training-and-events/i/?sfid=a113z00000M2DCRAA3 


 

 

Tags:  impact  legal  pro bono  TrustLaw 

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Creating a Supportive Ecosystem for Entrepreneurs in Emerging Markets

Posted By Amanda Epting, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Tuesday, February 19, 2019

MIT D-Lab is excited to share an upcoming panel as part of the 2019 Harvard Social Enterprise Conference Sunday, March 3. If you're in the Boston area please consider joining us there.

Creating a Supportive Ecosystem for Entrepreneurs in Emerging Markets

How can different types of stakeholders forge partnerships and actively create entrepreneurial, innovative ecosystems in developing economies for sustainable positive societal impact. The panel will foster conversations on how partnerships and productive ecosystems can be created, even in the most difficult environments. Panelists will discuss the individual, market-level and systemic impacts of creating more inclusive, productive 'entrepreneurial ecosystems' based on their experiences.

Tags:  ANDE Members  entrepreneurship ecosystems  innovation  Social entrepreneurship 

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Designing Agricultural Research that Leads to Commercialization

Posted By Mark Sevier, Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation, Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Join Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 for a webinar on designing agricultural research-related interventions with commercialization as the intended scaling pathway. Click here for more information and to register:

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_B9Lu4BeXRdaMcLBLPxtHZQ

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2018 was another whirlwind year for us at the Branson Centre

Posted By Gizelle Riley, Branson Centre Of Entrepreneurship - Caribbean, Friday, February 1, 2019

We made great memories, forged strong partnerships, and solidified our position as the region's leading accelerator for scaling businesses. We've wrapped all of our big stories, accomplishments and milestones achieved last year in our Annual Report

Click HERE to download. 

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Join the BiD Network Impact Investment Trip Rwanda & Uganda

Posted By Gert van Veldhuisen, BiD Network, Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Are you interested in investing in increasingly attractive destinations for foreign investments? For the fourth time, BiD Network organises an Impact Investment Trip to Rwanda & Uganda. From 10 - 16 March, BiD Network offers potential angel investors the opportunity to visit a number of well-prepared businesses from their portfolio.

The trip offers angel investors:

  • Unique opportunity to personally meet Rwandan & Ugandan entrepreneurs
  • Get insights in impact investing in Rwanda & Uganda
  • Potentially co-invest with a group of like-minded investors
  • Opportunity to create a positive impact together with financial return

Interested in joining this year’s trip? The cost of the trip is 2,500 EUR, including accommodation, flight Kigali - Entebbe, all other logistics and all meals, but excluding VAT and intercontinental flights. Space is limited, so secure your spot now by contacting BiD Network’s CEO Gert van Veldhuisen (gert.vanveldhuisen@bidnetwork.org). More information: https://www.bidnetwork.org/impact-investment-trip-rwanda-uganda/

Tags:  East Africa  event  impact investment  investors 

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