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African Management Initiative releases impact report: A scalable model that is transforming organisations and empowering thousands of small businesses

Posted By Rebecca Harrison, African Management Initiative, Thursday, June 21, 2018

Does talent development for SGBs really work? Talent has been on the SGB agenda for several years now, but the evidence base around impact, RoI, what works and why, has been thin. The African Management Initiative (AMI) has released its 2017 impact report, and for the first time, has generated data that starts to demonstrate a direct link between skills development in SGBs, and bottom-line business performance. The report demonstrates how a disruptive and scalable approach to learning has helped companies strengthen their teams and empowered thousands of small businesses, demonstrating real impact and return on investment for talent-forward SGBs. Dive into our impact data and read inspiring stories to learn more about our programmes for entrepreneurs, employees, managers and youth, and for reflections on what's working, and what can be improved.

 AMI in Numbers

The African Management Initiative is a social enterprise delivering Africa’s first scalable solution for workplace learning. AMI transforms African organizations, and empowers entrepreneurs, managers, entry-level workers and job-seekers through practical and affordable learning tools. At the end of 2017, AMI had trained almost 18,000 individuals through structured blended learning programmes in 11 African countries, including around 14,000 entrepreneurs. To date, a total of 55,000 individuals have engaged with the AMI online platform, and have downloaded over 1 million tools. In 2017, AMI expanded its portfolio, working with large intermediaries to serve thousands of entrepreneurs, while continuing to run management and leadership programmes directly with larger businesses, and organisations in health, education, and civil society.

For the first time this year, AMI generated data proving that its programmes not only help build the skills of the individual participants who take them, but also drive the business performance of organisations. This is a game changer in demonstrating how talent links with SGB performance, and in proving the RoI for developing people. AMI data showed that 92% of client leads saw improvements in management and leadership skills among their employees with 100% of clients saying business improved after they ran AMI learning programmes with their employees. Of those, 92% reported an improvement in operating efficiency and 92% reported improved customer satisfaction. As Richard Branson said, look after your staff, and your staff will look after your customers… Interestingly, investing in even just a small group of managers seemed to have a ripple effect more broadly on company culture, with 92% of clients reporting improved productivity across the whole company and 96% reporting improved engagement.

As well as running management and leadership programmes with the staff of growing and established businesses, AMI also reaches thousands of SMEs and entrepreneurs through partnerships with intermediaries – including many ANDE members. The report indicates that 100% of entrepreneurs who completed a post-programme survey saw a change in their business after engaging with AMI. Of these, 75% reported an improvement in revenue, 73% increased profit, 50% created new jobs and 35% secured debt or equity funding. All of them attributed that change at least partly to the AMI programme. To support SMEs and entrepreneurs even further, AMI has designed a new Grow Your Business programme, which aims to provide scalable business development support by giving SMEs the tools and support they need to embed good business practices into their companies. This programme is being tested rigorously through a Randomised Control Trial with a team of researchers at MIT. Watch this space for more data from this study later in the year.

 Read the full 2017 report to dig deeper into AMI’s current impact data and see what partners and clients are saying about the impact of the training programmes. 

VIEW THE FULL REPORT

 

 

Tags:  accelerators  Africa  East Africa  entrepreneurship  impact measurement  innovation  SGBs; accelerators; East Africa  Skills Gap  small and growing businesses impact investing  social entrepreneurship  sustainability  talent  Training 

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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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AXiiS is closing the gap with 6 billion (USD) in assets under management ready for SMEs to access finance Today!

Posted By FAST International, Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade, Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Updated: Thursday, April 13, 2017
https://youtu.be/I4QvUzUwkxQ

About AXiiS:

Unique in its industry, Access and eXchange impact investment for Sustainability (AXiiS), is populated with local Financial Advisors based on their grounded work in the field with agriculture and forestry SMEs in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, ensuring sustainable investment ready cases.

Selected SMEs are profiled based on criteria ensuring their investment-readiness, while collecting relevant data on investment in agriculture and forestry sectors. It showcases blind profiles of SMEs and Financial Service Providers to ensure security and to enhance the matchmaking process.

To join or find out more, visit: www.axiis.ca

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  A Access to Finance  apps4africa  asset finance  banking  capacity development  climate resilience  emerging markets  Environment  environmental impact  finance  Global. Development  India; ANDE members  Investors  Latin America  news  nicaragua  Performance Measurement  Rwanda  Scale  SDGs  SGBs; accelerators; East Africa  SGBs; Environment; accelerators; energy  smaholder farmers  small and growing agrobusiness  smallholder farmers  smes  social impact  supply chain  sustainability  sustainable development  Tanzania  Uganda 

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GrowthAfrica's Agribusiness Accelerator: Upcoming Deadline 5/31/2014

Posted By Patricia Jumi, GrowthAfrica, Saturday, April 12, 2014
Updated: Saturday, April 12, 2014

GrowthAfrica’s Agribusiness Accelerator program seeks 12 -15 innovative and scalable solutions in the agriculture sector that are solving gaps in agricultural value chains and delivering products and services that will enhance the effectiveness and livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Kenya and the wider east Africa.

The applications open on April 14, 2014. Apply today! And also help us spread the word!

About GrowthAfrica’s Agribusiness Accelerator
The 5-month Agribusiness Accelerator program takes post-revenue, pre-profit, early stage agribusinesses on a journey that will see them increase the rate and scope of their success. The program will offer expert facilitation, peer learning and mentorship by some of Kenya’s most successful entrepreneurs, C-suite executives and sector specialists, and a chance for the cohort to raise up to USD 500,000 in investments. The program is leveraging GrowthAfrica’s award-winning learning tool, the ImpactCompass™ which has proven to be one of the most effective tools for business analysis and planning.


How to apply

Organisations and entrepreneurs that are interested in applying can send us an email at: agribusiness@thegrowthhub.com . The Agribusiness Accelerator Program runs yearly. More information on the program and how to apply can be found on: www.thegrowthhub.com/agribusiness/

 

Tags:  agriculture  ANDE Members  Business Models  business training  Crowdfunding  East Africa  Entrepreneurship  impact investment  mentors  SGBs; accelerators; East Africa  Social entrepreneurship  Women 

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East Africa is open for business

Posted By Mary Mwangi, Argidius Foundation, Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Happy New Year from sunny Nairobi!

If December 2012 is anything to go by, East Africa is open for business.

Nairobi: The month began with the Early Stage Incubation Workshop in Nairobi from the 4th to the 6th. This was initiated by Care International, and co-sponsored by  ANDE, the Rockefeller Foundation, USAID and  Acumen Fund. The workshop brought together 55 participants drawn from investors, capacity development organisations, foundations, bi-lateral lenders, corporations and social entrepreneurs to talk about how we can build an eco-system that will provide support for early stage social enterprises in the region. The workshop was ably facilitated by our very own Open Capital Advisors. Participants came up with three initiatives and formed working groups to carry these initiatives forward. These are:

1. Aggregating and disseminating available information to entrepreneurs in the region:

This will include an eco-system mapping activity to identify all the players in the ecosystem and what role they play. We also intend to supplement available resources by coming up with a list of "tough questions” that every investor will need an entrepreneur to answer.

2. Talent Development for SGBs: This will include a training programme to build capacity within middle level management in SGBs and a fellowship programme to support the creation of a talent pool for the social enterprise sector.

3. Acceleration and seed funding for early stage SGBs.

After the workshop on the 6th, we hosted participants, other ANDE members and other contacts in Nairobi to an end of year happy hour at the Growth Hub, an incubation space run by ANDE member, Growth Africa who co-sponsored the gathering.

On the 7th, we had the 4th quarterly chapter meeting at the Rockefeller Foundation offices which included a presentation from Lemelson Foundation as well as introductory presentations from new members: Care International, Growth Africa, Intermedia and Solidaridad Network

Dar es Salaam: On the 10th and 11th of December, ANDE Associate Director, Jenny Everett, and I headed down to Dar es Salaam to meet with members and other organisations that are supporting small and growing businesses in Tanzania. We also hosted a lunch meeting for sector players. Organisations we met in Dar es Salaam include: Grofin, InReturn Capital, Technoserve, Investment Climate Facility for Africa, Go Finance, Farm Africa and Honeycare Tanzania. Tanzania is rife with opportunity. Some of the sectors that are showing great promise in Tanzania are agriculture and agro-processing, tourism, mining services and transport. The main challenges the SGB sector is facing in Tanzania include a largely unsupportive policy environment, lack of management capacity within SGBs, poor infrastructure and lack of information among entrepreneurs. As a follow-up to this visit we will hold an informal after-work gathering for organisations that support and invest in small and growing businesses on the 7th of February in Dar es salam. RSVP via this link: http://ande.site-ym.com/events/event_details.asp?id=287385&group=85488

Kampala: On the 12th and 13th of December Jenny and I headed to Kampala. We spent some time at the Mara Launch Pad, an incubator in Kampala run by Angel Initiative and funded by Mara Foundation. We had the opportunity to visit Solar Sister, a social enterprise which aims to empower women and eradicate energy poverty among Uganda’s rural population by providing appropriate solar solutions through their network of "solar sisters”. We also met with Banapads, another social enterprise helping to keep girls in school through provision of affordable eco-friendly sanitary towels. On the 13th, we hosted a lunch meeting that brought together investors, capacity development organisations, bi-lateral lenders, academia and SGBs. Organisations represented at the lunch were: Technoserve, Mercy Corps, USAID, Pearl Capital Partners, Grofin, LEAD Uganda, LGT Venture Philanthropy, Aval Capital, FinAfrica Uganda, Jade Consulting, The School of Finance and Banking Rwanda, Own Your Own Boda, Mango Fund, Segal Family Foundation, Mara Foundation and Angel Initiative. A key take-away from Kampala was the need for investors and capacity development organisations to work better together. As a follow-up to the lunch meeting, we are launching Kampala Happy Hour on 12th February.  Please RSVP via this link: http://ande.site-ym.com/events/event_details.asp?id=287389&group=85488

2013 promises to be a great year for the East Africa chapter and I’m blessed to be a part of it.



Tags:  SGBs; accelerators; East Africa 

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