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Collaborate to make green mainstream

Posted By Leanne Feris, Fetola, Monday, February 26, 2018
Updated: Monday, February 26, 2018

Collaborate to make green mainstream

Dear friends and colleagues!

Are you keen to participate in our ecosystem, working to create a cleaner, more efficient and sustainable way of living, and doing business?

Have you heard of GROUNDSWELL Africa – Fetola’s new initiative to help solve environmental and social challenges by supporting viable business and social enterprise solutions? Targeting  water scarcity, resource efficiency and waste management, phase one of the drive to ‘make green mainstream’ is supported by seed funding from J.P.Morgan. It will take 30 entrepreneurs through an intensive growth program, and assist hundreds of others through the GROUNDSWELL helpdesk.

Fetola’s reputation is built on growing the economy and creating jobs, by building businesses that last. We invite your help to make sure this happens in the ‘green sector’.

How you fit in

Are you one of the skilled and passionate organisations or individuals in industry, government and research agencies that already work in the water scarcity, resource efficiency and waste management sector? Would you like to collaborate with like-minded people for mutual benefit, stimulating engagement and tangible results?

GROUNDSWELL is an opportunity:

·       to identify potential providers for your business;

·       to give back by helping young entrepreneurs (and to test the waters as a mentor if you haven’t done this before);

·       to talk to young entrepreneurs with innovative ideas and offerings;

·       to showcase your business offering;

·       to spot potential partnerships; and

·       to create corporate enterprise and supplier development sponsorship packages.

 

Four ways to engage

Please let us know if you are keen to engage in the ecosystem as:

1.     Programme Advisory:  As external sounding board on an ad-hoc basis, when sector-specific needs and challenges arise. 

2.     Support to entrepreneurs: Providing sector-specific knowledge to the training and group mentoring taking place over the next 18 months. For example procurement opportunities, industry challenges and technical / legislative roadblocks.

3.     Volunteer mentoring:  Sector-specific support to supplement the business mentors.

4.     Networking & ecosystem events: Meet the entrepreneurs and engage in broader industry forums.

To register your interest in any of the opportunities, click here, or read more about it here. If you’d like to apply to the GROUNDSWELL programme, click here.

Alternatively, please pass on this opportunity to those in your network who might benefit.

Tags:  Acceleration  entrepreneurship  Environment  mentoring  Scale  sustainability  water 

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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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​Agora Partnerships Launches Application for 2017 Accelerator Cycle 2 Class

Posted By Elysa Neumann, Agora Partnerships, Thursday, March 9, 2017
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKRdMGQbY_Q&feature=youtu.be

 
Agora Partnerships has launched applications for its 2017 Accelerator program.
 
Through its flagship Accelerator program, Agora Partnerships strives to accelerate the shift to a sustainable economy by providing entrepreneurs who are intentionally building businesses that solve social and environmental challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean with the resources they need to grow. Since 2011, 125 companies working in 19 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have participated in the Agora Accelerator, raising USD $52MM in capital and creating over 5,000 jobs. This year, in solidarity with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Agora Partnerships is aligning our Accelerator tracks to advance the SDGs.
 
The Accelerator is a 4-month program designed to provide high-potential entrepreneurs with the knowledge, network and access to capital necessary to create system change, through in-depth, personalized, 1:1 consulting; access to the Agora Partnerships’network of mentors, investors, and capital opportunities; and a global community of peers.
 
Agora’s Accelerator program is designed for companies who are solving social and environmental challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean, matching the following criteria: 
 
  • early or growth stage, past proof-of-concept; 
  • currently looking for investment to scale; 
  • legally incorporated as a for-profit structure with basic accounting systems in place; 
  • average annual income of USD $50K to $2MM; and, 
  • with a clear, measurable and sustainable impact.
 
Agora Partnerships looks to work with entrepreneurs who embody the leadership qualities of agency, empathy, curiosity and perseverance.
 
To apply to Agora Partnerships’ 2017 Accelerator click here.
 
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Agora Partnerships is a network committed to leveling the playing field for entrepreneurs by finding innovative ways to drive more human, social, and financial capital to the leaders and ideas that will make our world a better place. To learn morevisit: AgoraPartnerships.org

Tags:  Acceleration  accelerators  Agriculture  Business  Caribbean  central america  energy  Entrepreneurship  Environment  impact  impact investing  impact investment  innovation  Latin America  nicaragua  SGBs; Environment; accelerators; energy  small and growing agrobusiness  social ent  social enterprise  social entrepreneurship  social impact  sustainability  talent  Women 

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Aren't Accelerators Great? Maybe.

Posted By Stephanie Buck, Aspen Institute, Monday, April 13, 2015

 "We often get asked certain questions about accelerator programs: Do they contribute to revenue growth? Do they help companies attract investment? Do they work as well for developing-world impact entrepreneurs as they do for developed-world tech entrepreneurs? But, unfortunately, the only credible answer we have right now is: “No one really knows.” While there are at least 650 accelerator programs around the world — with new ones popping up all the time — we actually know very little about the impacts they are having on the companies that they are trying to accelerate." 

ANDE's Executive Director, Randall Kempner, and Peter Roberts of Emory University's Goizueta Business School, discuss why we're in the dark on whether or not accelerators work and in what context, and what we are doing about it in this Wall Street Journal article

Tags:  Acceleration  accelerators  social impact  social metrics 

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Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) follow-up info

Posted By Kristen Gendron, U.S. Agency for International Development, Friday, January 30, 2015

ANDE members,

Thanks to those who joined yesterday's webinar on Development Innovation Ventures (DIV)! It was great to connect and hear your insightful questions.

We are excited about working with ANDE members to help drive great innovators to the financial and non-financial resources DIV can offer. I am sharing with you some tools that will be helpful in those efforts. Below/attached you’ll find:

  • Quick description of DIV  
  • Draft social media content: many DIV applicants have found out about us through social media
  • DIV Factsheet (attached): feel free to share widely

I look forward to connecting further with your organizations in these efforts. Please feel free to reach out to me in the ANDE portal anytime.

Warm regards,

Kristen and the DIV team

***********************

About DIV

Development Innovation Ventures is an open competition supporting breakthrough solutions to development challenges around the world. DIV is looking for applicants in any sector, from any organization, company, or individual in almost any country in the world whose innovative ideas match our principles of cost-effectiveness, evidence of impact, and potential to scale. DIV invests grant financing in winners ranging from under $150,000 to $15 million.

Social Media Tools

Twitter

  • Looking for seed financing or scaling support? @DIVatUSAID winners receive up to $15M. Apply today http://goo.gl/dHJ44d
  • Help spread the word about @DIVatUSAID to innovators in #GlobalDev around the world! Apply now! http://goo.gl/dHJ44d
  • #Innovation competition @USAID looks for bold #globaldev ideas from anyone, anywhere. Apply to @DIVatUSAID now. http://goo.gl/dHJ44d

Facebook

  • Do you have the next big idea to change the world? Apply to USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures. You could receive up to $15M for your innovative solution. http://goo.gl/dHJ44d
  • Need seed funding to test and scale your development solution? USAID’s DIV accepts proposals year-round for innovations that will solve the world’s biggest development challenges. Apply now! http://goo.gl/dHJ44d
  • USAID’s DIV is an open competition supporting breakthrough solutions to development challenges around the world. Ideas can come from anyone, any sector, anywhere. Submit your application today http://goo.gl/dHJ44d 

Fact Sheet

Attached to give innovators an overview of DIV. This also on the DIV website.

 

*PS  - If you missed the ANDE - DIV 101 session yesterday and would like to watch, please connect with your membership manager Susannah Eastham.

 Attached Files:

Tags:  Acceleration  Access to Finance  early stage ecosystem  finance  Global. Development  Grants  Grants Rockefeller  High-Growth Entrepreneurship  impact evaluation  impact investment  innovation  Investors  missing middle  Philanthropy; impact investing  Private sector development  Public sector  social ent  social enterprise  social impact  social metrics 

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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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Agora´s applications are OPEN

Posted By Sara Cordero Porta, Agora Partnerships, Tuesday, July 9, 2013

We’ve launched!  Applications for Agora’s 2014 Accelerator Program are officially open. We aresearching for 30 of the very best entrepreneurs from across Latin America to join our Accelerator and become part of a growing, dynamic community of leaders who believe that business can be harnessed as a force for positive change.  The world, along with traditional perceptions of business’ place in society, is changing…rapidly.

 This is your opportunity to become a part of this global transformation and find the next generation of changemakers.Agora Partnerships accelerates businesses in Latin America that are solving critical problems in their communities. We identify the highest-potential entrepreneurs in the region and connect them to the resources they need to scale their businesses and their impact. Over the past 3 years, Agora has worked with 45 Latin American companies and attracted around $4 million in impact investments. Apply today and become a part of businesses’ ever-evolving place in society.  http://agorapartnerships.org/accelerator-2/how-to-apply.

Tags:  Acceleration  accelerators  Access to Finance  ANDE Members  Business  capacity development  Entrepreneurship  High-Growth Entrepreneurship  impact investing  Latin America  Women 

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Toward an ecosystem for early stage incubation of social enterprises in East Africa

Posted By Mary Mwangi, Argidius Foundation, Thursday, March 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013

Stakeholders from across the early-stage enterprise ecosystem convened in Nairobi, December 4-6 2012, to identify & design high-leverage initiatives that could strengthen support for enterprises through development stages to achieve scale and build sustainably in order to provide broad solutions for large, disadvantaged populations.

Participants from more than 40 organizations active in East Africa represented perspectives ranging from academia, impact investors, NGOs, social entrepreneurs, banks, industry organizations, commercial investors, corporations, service providers, and the donor community. Over the course of three days, we identified three high-potential initiatives with broad industry support that we believe will not only catalyze additional investment into the space, but help support strong, successful social enterprises with the potential to improve the lives of millions living at the base of the pyramid across East Africa.

To learn more about the workshop and the 3 initiatives, please read the workshop summary here: http://www.aspeninstitute.org/sites/default/files/content/docs/resources/Early-Stage%20Social%20Enterprise%20Ecosystem%20Workshop%20-%20Executive%20Summary.pdf

Read the full paper here: http://www.aspeninstitute.org/sites/default/files/content/docs/resources/Early-Stage%20Social%20Enterprise%20Ecosystem%20Workshop%20-%20Full%20Paper.pdf

Tags:  Acceleration  early stage ecosystem  East Africa  Incubation 

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