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GroFin - Transforming SGBs in Africa & the Middle East

Posted By Shailen Neewoor, GroFin, Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Updated: Friday, June 15, 2018

Gain a deeper understanding of how GroFin, through its unique investment model in SGBs, is positively transforming small and growing businesses and the local communities they support. The inspiring success stories of its entrepreneurs exemplify the collaborative efforts of GroFin staff, investors, partners and clients. The 2017 GroFin Impact Report, Nomou Impact Report and Aspire Impact Report translates its faith in the power of the collective by asking the question “If not us, who? If not today, when? If not with our finance and support, how will these small businesses grow and succeed?”

2017 GroFin Impact Report

As at end 2017, GroFin has financed 675 small and growing businesses, supported 8,840 entrepreneurs, sustained a total of 86,190 jobs and touched the lives of 430,955 family members in the local communities across our 15 locations of operation in Africa and the Middle East. The report indicates that GroFin has made more investments in its priority sectors of education, healthcare, agribusiness, manufacturing and key services. Furthermore, GroFin invested US$ 60M in nearly 88 new small and growing businesses, with over 50% of the SMEs operating directly in our sectors of focus, sustaining 14,000 total jobs and supporting an additional 72,000 livelihoods. And to reinforce its value proposition of providing 'support beyond finance' the company introduced the GroFin STEP (Success through Effective Partnerships) Programme to support its SMEs and Entrepreneurs.

2017 Nomou Impact Report

The Nomou Programme is a regional initiative in MENA which was co-created by GroFin and Shell Foundation. As a result of the collaborative efforts of its investors, partners and clients, the Nomou programme is contributing to the alleviation of poverty and improvement of livelihoods in the communities where the programme operates, as well as striving to reduce the adverse impact of the humanitarian crisis in the region.

In 2017, the Nomou Programme supported 1,005 entrepreneurs, made investments into 103 SGBs, sustained a total of 10,287 jobs, touched the lives of 51,435 beneficiaries and added economic value of US$ 149 million per annum through its investee SMEs across Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Oman.

2017 Aspire Impact Report

Since their inception in 2014, the Aspire Small Business Fund (ASBF) and the Aspire Growth Fund (AGF) have sought to promote local entrepreneurship, employment and economic value-add in the Niger Delta. With the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) as anchor investor, the Aspire Enterprise Development Funds epitomise GroFin, a private development finance institution, and SPDC’s efforts to serve the local community with a combination of investment funds, business skills and market linkages.

In 2017 GroFin increased its commitment to supporting SMEs in the Niger Delta Region by investing in an additional 17 small and growing businesses and extending further funding of US$ 2.5M (140% increase from total amount invested as at end 2016). As at end of 2017, GroFin has supported 365 businesses, invested in 53 SMEs and sustained a total of 1,975 jobs under the Aspire Funds.

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Tags:  2017  A Access to Finance  Access to Finance  Africa  Agriculture  ANDE Africa  ANDE Members  Base of the Pyramid  Business  business training  capacity development  DGGF  East Africa  education  finance  impact  impact investing  impact investing; gender lens investing; gender; w  impact investment  impact measurement  innovation  Investors  Kenya  MENA  missing middle  Philanthropy; impact investing  Private sector development  Rwanda  SDGs  SGB  SGBs  SGBs; accelerators; East Africa  SGBs; Environment; accelerators; energy  SGBs; West Africa; Senegal; Africa; MENA; Entrepre  small and growing agrobusiness  smes  social impact  South Africa  sustainability  sustainable development  Tanzania  Training  Uganda  West Africa 

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Three Powerful Tools for Fintech Practitioners

Posted By Jane Del Ser, Bankable Frontier Associates, Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, January 17, 2018

By David del Ser

(Watch our video)

Since we launched the Catalyst Fund in 2015, we have helped 15 fintech entrepreneurs deploy novel approaches to bring products and services to their customers. We have distilled the successful patterns and behaviors we have observed into toolkits and posts for those considering fintech methods for their businesses, whether they be startups or established players.


At a high level, successful fintech startups adopt principles of Design, Risk Management and Product Management, and also put modern technologies like smartphones, artificial intelligence and cloud computing at the core of their value propositions. At successful fintech startups Designers, Product Managers, CEOs and Engineers reinforce each other in multidisciplinary teams to explore the overlap between what customers find desirable, what engineers can build, and what the business requires to grow.

Design

The function of Design is to represent the voice of the customer at all times to make sure a company stays centered on what matters most. Design is not a one-off process. In the spirit of customer validation, designers keep tight feedback loops with customers throughout the product development process, from early prototypes to usability testing of new features.


Through user research (UX) techniques like online surveys and one-one-one interviews, designers invest heavily during initial stages in order to know their customers like the back of their hand; what are their problems and pain points, and how can their company help? In fact, designers segment customers into personas to allow the team to constantly keep in mind different user profiles and needs.


Aesthetics matter. Designers work hard to perfect a product’s UI and its look and feel, so it can live up to the high expectations created by WhatsApp or Google. But great design goes beyond just user research and visuals during early product design stages. Successful inclusive fintech startups map out the Customer Journey and Service Blueprint in detail to fully understand the perspective of the user each time they  interact with the company.


Ultimately, great design creates trust, that elusive quality that all startups are chasing and that distinguishes them from their competitors. We’ve captured our lessons for startups to build trust with their customers through their products or services in our Design for Trust Toolkit.


Product Management

But designers can’t work in isolation; they need someone to lead the orchestra - and that’s where a product manager comes in. The PM takes a big picture view and works to ensure that designers, engineers and marketers all work towards the same goal. Crucially, she makes sure the product or service goal is backed by data and evidence. She keeps the whole process nimble through quick agile iterations focused on the activities of users, from initial onboarding to the retention phase. For example, using A/B Testing and usage analytics she captures details of how each users is interacting with every screen to inform engagement.


The effective product manager is very focused on the key metrics for the business, such as customer lifetime value or acquisition costs. She also works hard to explore the best channels to find new customers, including viral referrals and social media. As an example, our portfolio company Destacame has seen lead acquisition costs dropping to less than $3 through these types of digital channels. We explore some of the different tools and frameworks to help startups focus as they chart their journey from idea, to minimum viable product (MVP) and growth in our upcoming product/market fit toolkit.

Modern Technologies

And finally, you can’t have good fintech without the “tech” that is enabling these new approaches.


Most important are the smartphones, which run fintech apps and also act as channels to find and interact with users. For instance, several of our startups use WhatsApp to offer customer support and drive virality, communicating with users in the way they prefer. Smartphones can also be used to generate and capture user data, which is particularly valuable when targeting low-income consumers who traditionally have been anonymous. In that vein, our portfolio company Smile Identity validates and authenticates customer identities using selfies taken on their phones.


In addition machine learning and other artificial intelligence systems can improve customer value propositions and to automate internal processes like credit scoring using data from smartphones and other new sources like satellites. As an example, our portfolio company ToGarantido is exploring chatbots for sales of their insurance policies and customer support. Harvesting is using satellite data to understand credit and insurance risk with just a GPS read. Worldcover doesn’t even need customers to file a claim as their satellite systems award them automatically.


And software engineering helped Escala and Paygo Energy to automate most of their back-office processes to be responsive to their customers. It is easier and more affordable than ever for startups to leverage affordable SaaS solutions to architect their systems. Likewise, cloud computing is also a powerful technology that offers simplicity, lower costs and flexibility. There is no need to commit capital to purchase hardware and the team requires less engineering talent to keep the servers going.

Conclusion

In our experience, companies that harness the powerful combination of design, product management and modern technologies create better and more tailored value propositions. That makes for happier customers, which is what makes businesses thrive. By driving more usage, the fintech triad can create more impact in low-income populations. And digital channels and automated processes can significantly lower costs of serving customers, allowing for expansion to new markets and reducing exclusion.


Learn more by joining us for our webinar on the Catalyst Fund toolkits during the ANDE Sector Update call in January. Register here.


Tags:  Acceleration  accelerator  accelerators  Africa  ANDE Africa  Base of the Pyramid  brazil  Business Models  capacity development  early stage ecosystem  emerging markets  entrepreneurship  finance  financial inclusion  fintech  Grants Rockefeller  impact investing  impact investment  inclusive innovation  India  India; ANDE members  innovation  Kenya  Latin America  mentoring  Mexico  SGBs; accelerators; East Africa  smaholder farmers  smes  social enterprise  social entrepreneurship  social innovation  webinar  West Africa 

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GE and Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship Partner to Accelerate Mother and Child Health Innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa

Posted By Patricia Haines, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University, Tuesday, March 29, 2016

 GE and Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship Partner to Accelerate 

Mother and Child Health Innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa 

GE’s healthymagination commitment and Miller Center’s GSBI® will provide expertise, resources and growth opportunities for social entrepreneurs working on maternal and child health 

 

SANTA CLARA, Calif., March 29, 2016 - GE and Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship today announced a partnership that blends Silicon Valley entrepreneurial acumen with venture impact investing to tackle one of the world’s most pressing problems: maternal and child health. 

The partnership will focus on a training and mentoring program for social entrepreneurs working on maternal and child health innovations in sub-Saharan Africa. The program enables more women to experience better health by improving the quality, access and affordability of care. 

 

The partnership objectives support key elements of ‘Good Health and Well-being’, which is #3 of the 17 “Sustainable Development Goals” set by the United Nations, and focuses on the reduction of the global maternal mortality ratio and ending preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age. 

The healthymagination Mother & Child program will help social enterprises operating in sub-Saharan Africa addressing maternal and/or child health strengthen their business models, refine business plans, reinforce organizational development, manage talent and learn how to scale sustainably. The program is being offered to 15-to-20 selected participants. 

 

“This program supports GE’s long track record in developing innovations for emerging markets while increasing positive health outcomes,” said Sue Siegel, CEO, GE Ventures and healthymagination. “We are excited to join Miller Center to accelerate the growth of social enterprises and commercialize innovative ideas while serving as a resource for entrepreneurs working to improve access, affordability and quality of maternal and child health in sub-Saharan Africa.” 

 

The healthymagination Mother & Child program utilizes Miller Center’s Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) methodology, which has been proven and refined over 12 years of helping accelerate more than 560 social enterprises worldwide. The program will begin with a three-day, in-person workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, followed by a six-month online program accompanied by weekly, in-depth mentoring from Silicon Valley-based executives. Additionally, by introducing participants to GE’s portfolio of products, organizations will gain specialized support and training on technologies and resources for the maternal and child health sector. 

 

“We share GE’s healthymagination vision for innovating new ways to address global health challenges,” said Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., executive director, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship. “The partnership between GE and Miller Center highlights the potential for social entrepreneurship to improve maternal and child health in a region of the world that has limited access to skilled health care providers.” 

 

“This unique collaboration is an opportunity to increase the access and familiarity of GE solutions in Africa,” said Jay Ireland, President and CEO of GE Africa. "The healthymagination Mother & Child program will empower sub-Saharan African social enterprises with skills training and economic development needed to improve maternal and child health across communities." 

 

Social Enterprises Invited to Apply to the Program 

The healthymagination Mother & Child program is aimed at social enterprises focused in the following areas: 

  • Delivery of health services to mothers and children 
  • Medical equipment distribution, training, use or maintenance 
  • Development of products or technologies that improve knowledge and/or access to care, such as telemedicine, mobile technologies, data analysis or image interpretation or 
  • Infrastructure services or facilities associated with needs from pregnancy to pediatric care 

To be considered for the program, qualified leaders of for-profit, non-profit or hybrid enterprises need to apply online by May 18, 2016. The selected finalists will be announced after a formal review and interview process by a panel of judges from GE and Miller Center. 

 

The panel will evaluate applicant social enterprises based on whether they: 

  • Have operating ventures beyond the ideation stage 
  • Have a validated business model with a product or service in the marketplace 
  • Have a sustainable financial model that can be scaled over time 

Six-Month Accelerator Program Capped by Investor Showcase 

The healthymagination Mother & Child program will end where it launched, in Nairobi, with an Investor Showcase event in February 2017. The 15-to-20 program finalists will have the opportunity to pitch their enterprises and health care innovations to a large and wide-ranging group of active investors in early-stage social enterprises. 

 

For more information on the program and application, visit http://www.scu.edu/mother-and-child 

 

About GE 

GE (NYSE: GE) is the world’s Digital Industrial Company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive. GE is organized around a global exchange of knowledge, the "GE Store," through which each business shares and accesses the same technology, markets, structure and intellect. Each invention further fuels innovation and application across our industrial sectors. With people, services, technology and scale, GE delivers better outcomes for customers by speaking the language of industry. www.ge.com 

 

About GE’s healthymagination commitment 

GE’s healthymagination commitment is about better health for more people. We continuously develop and invest in innovations that deliver high-quality, more affordable healthcare to more people around the world. For more information about our healthymagination commitment, visit www.gesustainability.com

 

About Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship 

Founded in 1997, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship is one of three Centers of Distinction at Santa Clara University. Miller Center accelerates global, innovation-based entrepreneurship in service to humanity. Its strategic focus is on poverty eradication through its three areas of work: The Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI), Impact Capital and Education and Action Research. To learn more about Miller Center or any of its social entrepreneurship programs, visit www.scu.edu/MillerCenter. 

 

About Santa Clara University 

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 9,000 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business and engineering; master’s degrees in business, education, counseling psychology, pastoral ministry and theology; and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.’s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see www.scu.edu. 

 

© 2016 GSBI is a registered trademark of Santa Clara University. All rights reserved.

 

Tags:  Africa  ANDE Africa  social entrepreneurship  Women 

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Private Sector Transport Solutions for Public Sector Benefit

Posted By John Beale, VillageReach, Tuesday, July 15, 2014
We recently completed a study of Mozambique's transportation sector and the ministry of health's transport needs, with a view to helping the ministry engage the private sector and outsource its transport requirements.  The report notes the significance of SMEs (SGBs) as an important market development catalyst for the transport sector in Africa.  In the fall, I'll be back in Mozambique to work with the MoH in two provinces to execute an outsourcing program with commercial transportation companies.

I'd be interested to know if other ANDE members are engaged in transport-related work.

John Beale
Director, Strategic Development &
Group Lead, Social Business
VillageReach
+1-206-755-0145 

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Tags:  Africa  ANDE Africa  ANDE Members  Business Models  Entrepreneurship  entrepreneurship ecosystems  Private sector development  Research  social business  Social Entrepreneurship  supply chain  sustainability 

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Notes from the ANDE Africa Conference 2014

Posted By Mary Mwangi, Argidius Foundation, Monday, March 17, 2014
The ANDE East Africa chapter hosted the ANDE Africa Conference on February 14th 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya. The conference brought together 104 participants representing 82 organizations from around the world that are working with SGBs in Africa.

The theme of the conference was: Building an ecosystem that enables small business growth. The key note session addressed the role of public sector in the ecosystem and how that role can be augmented to complement the efforts of the private sector. The CEO of  Kenya's Micro and Small Enterprise Authority, Patrick Mwangi, spoke on the proposed role on the authority which is in its formative stages. He then joined Aparajita Agrawal, Sankalp Initiative Director, Jason Wendle, East Africa Chapter Steering Committee member and Bart Meijs, Jacana Partners for a panel discussion.

The conference also looked at how talent can be used to accelerate small businesses through a panel discussion that included, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Equity Investment Bank, One Acre Fund and Open Capital Advisers. The panelists talked about how they recruit top talent and best practices for retaining talent and encouraging good performance. 

The conference also looked at how we can build an evidence based future for SGB acceleration. We had a 
visioning exercise that helped participants create a vision for the sector in the region. This session also examined the current sources of data and how practitioners use these data for decision making. The session also identified knowledge gaps in the sector. 

The last session explored the state of the ecosystem in relation to Women led SGBs (WSGBs). This session  looked at metrics for WSGBs, ways of sharing best practices in supporting WSGBs and resources currently available for WSGBs.

Want to learn more from the conference? See the attached notes.

 Attached Files:

Tags:  Acceleration  ANDE Africa  East Africa  Public sector  talent  West Africa 

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