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GroFin partners with Mastercard Foundation on US$50M youth employment initiative in Rwanda

Posted By Nishika Bajaj, GroFin, Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Kigali: May 1, 2018 – Private development finance institution GroFin has partnered with Mastercard Foundation to extend business development support and catalyse investment to small and growing businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector of Rwanda.

GroFin is joining the Mastercard Foundation’s Hanga Ahazaza initiative, a US $50 million, five-year initiative focused on relieving poverty by increasing employment opportunities for young people while expanding the tourism and hospitality sector in Rwanda.

Hanga Ahazaza, meaning ‘create the future’ in Kinyarwanda, will equip 30,000 young men and women with the skills they need to transition to employment and increase access to financial services and business development skills for small businesses in this thriving sector. The initiative aligns with GroFin’s focus on increasing employment opportunities for youth and women.

“Working together, we will support small businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector and ensure the sector can find qualified young people with the skills needed to be successful employees or entrepreneurs,” says Guido Boysen, CEO of GroFin.

Over the next three years, the GroFin-managed Small and Growing Businesses Fund will invest in 12 small enterprises operating in the tourism and hospitality sector of Rwanda. GroFin will screen and identify 120 small and growing businesses in this sector to provide pre-finance business development assistance. Of these, 12 are expected to go on to qualify for GroFin’s investment and post-finance business support.

These businesses will be chosen based on their potential to impact economically disadvantaged individuals, with focus on small enterprises that employ a substantial proportion of youth and women, as well as those that are owned by women.

Using this approach, GroFin’s activities will sustain a total of 1,200 jobs and support 4,500 livelihoods for economically disadvantaged individuals. Two-thirds of these jobs will be created and sustained for youth and women.

“We look forward to collaborating with GroFin as part of the Hanga Ahazaza initiative” said Rica Rwigamba, Program Manager at the Mastercard Foundation. “Their unique approach to providing a combination of appropriate finance, tailored business support and market linkages will help small businesses in the hospitality and tourism sector reach their full potential and generate more employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for young people.”

Hanga Ahazaza is led by a consortium of partners from the education, development, and private sectors. Working together, they will support small businesses and entrepreneurs in the tourism and hospitality sector through increased access to financial services and training, and by connecting them to young people with the skills needed to be successful employees.

About GroFin

GroFin is a pioneering private development finance institution specialising in the finance and support of small and medium enterprises.

Since its inception in 2004, GroFin has established a wide network of local offices in 15 countries across Africa and the Middle East covering Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, South Africa, Zambia, Mauritius, Egypt, Oman, Jordan and Iraq.

As at close of 2017, GroFin had undertaken 675 SME investments and sustained 86,191 jobs across healthcare, education, agribusiness, manufacturing, water, energy and waste services, food and accommodation, construction, wholesale and retail, and professional services.

About the Mastercard Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation seeks a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn and prosper. The Foundation’s work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion for people living in poverty. One of the largest foundations in the world, it works almost exclusively in Africa. It was created in 2006 by Mastercard International and operates independently under the governance of its own Board of Directors. The Foundation is based in Toronto, Canada. For more information and to sign up for the Foundation’s newsletter, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org. Follow the Foundation at @MastercardFdn on Twitter.

Tags:  Access to finance  impact investing  SMEs 

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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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Toilet Accelerator India Edition Challenge - open for applications until 10th July!

Posted By Claire Balbo, Toilet Board Coalition, Tuesday, June 20, 2017
 
Do you have a business or business idea for toilet innovations and service models, circular economy waste management and resource recovery, or mobile, digital and e-heath applications for sanitation in India?

Apply for over 100,000 Euro in support from global brand companies by 10 July 2017!

APPLY HERE!
The Toilet Accelerator India Edition challenge calls for applications from businesses that are addressing the most challenging water and sanitation issues in the country. 
Top 3 winners will be announced at the 9th Sankalp Global Summit from 6-8 December, 2017 in Mumbai. The winners will receive over 100,000 Euro of in-kind support from leading companies over a 12 month period, as part of the 2018 Toilet Accelerator cohort of the Swiss based Toilet Board Coalition. The Toilet Accelerator Program provides expert mentorship and support, as well as access to the TBC-Sankalp investor networks. The Toilet Board Coalition is supported by some of the largest multinational corporates like Firmenich, Lixil, Kimberly-Clark and Unilever.  

THE ACCELERATE INDIA SANITATION BUSINESS CHALLENGE IS OPEN UNTIL 10 JULY 2017
The Toilet Board Coalition brings together experts from business, investment, and the global sanitation community through our platform to cross-fertilise experiences, innovate at all levels, and catalyse the growth of profitable sanitation businesses that deliver sanitation to all.  The Toilet Accelerator is a corporate accelerator program to facilitate private sector engagement and mentorship to sanitation businesses and entrepreneurs serving low-income markets. For more information on the Toilet Board Coalition, please visit the website.
Sankalp Forum is one of the largest platforms promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in emerging markets and building the ecosystem for business-led inclusive development. Over the past nine years, Sankalp has showcased over 400 sustainable enterprises across India, Africa and Southeast Asia, enabled 500+ mentoring connections and facilitated over USD 240Mn of equity investments. For more information on Sankalp Forum, please visit the website.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us by contacting Claire Balbo: balbo@toiletboard.org
#WeCantWait to know about your business!!

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Tags:  entrepreneurship  India  sanitation  Sankalp  SDGs  SGBs  SMEs  social entrepreneurship  sustainability 

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Research Meets Africa: the Call for Papers is open!

Posted By María Belén Zambrano, Appui au Développement Autonome, Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Call for Papers: Research Meets Africa

9th October 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Research Meets Africa aims to promote research and innovation on inclusive finance in Africa. It encourages collaboration between researchers and practitioners of the sector by involving universities from Africa and around the world. The event will be held on the 9th of October 2017 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia alongside African Microfinance Week.

 Researchers are invited to submit their research papers on this topic:

                        "What solutions respond to the growth needs of MSMEs in Africa?" 

For any question, please contact the Conference Team:rmateam@ada-microfinance.lu

Or visit our website: http://www.ada-microfinance.org/en/events/african-microfinance-week/research-meets-africa

 The submission deadline is 30th May 2017!

 

 Attached Files:

Tags:  access to finance  Africa  capacity development  conference  Microfinance  Research  SMEs 

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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 Hitzel Trejo, 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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Vital Voices 2014-2015 GROW Fellowship

Posted By Emilie Romero, Vital Voices Global Partnership, Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dear ANDE Community,

Vital Voices is excited to announce that it is now accepting applicants for the 2014-2015 VV GROW Fellowship Program.

VV GROW Fellowship Program Overview 

Vital Voices has launched the VV GROW Fellowship Program, a one-year competitive program to support growth-oriented women business owners to take their businesses and leadership to the next level. The program supports women-owned enterprises in, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa to set and achieve business growth goals with a unique blend of online learning, in-person training, and tailored support services.  

 The one-year program timeline consists of 4 components:

  1. A  competitive participant selection process and business needs assessment
  2. Online preparatory sessions with Harvard Manage Mentor and Vital Voices advisors before the training, that guide fellows in drafting a business plan that they will refine throughout the training
  3. An in-person regional training
  4. An opportunity to access follow-on services such as technical advising, webinars featuring technical experts, business to business opportunities, mentors, and small grants

Who Can Apply?

Vital Voices is seeking applications from women business owners from Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean, who:  

  • Own a businesses that has been in operation for at least 3 years,
  • Employ at least 3 staff (including temporary and/or seasonal workers), and        
  • Generate at least USD $40,000 in annual sales.

As an interested applicant, you:

  • Are motivated to build the skills and make the changes needed to grow your business,
  • Are excited to participate in a one year program including on-line and in-person training and access to business growth opportunities, and
  • Recognize the value of and participate in the tracking of the growth of your business for up to 3 years through methods such as surveys, calls, or additional opportunities. 

How Can Applicants Apply?

More information on how to APPLY can be found online at: http://bit.ly/1ffl7UQ. 

 When are Applications Due?

  • Applications for candidates located in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean are due March 2, 2014.
  • For candidates applying from the Middle East and North Africa, application deadlines are March 15, 2014.

Please share this with promising candidates who meet the requirements and are located in the regions mentioned.

Thank you!

Tags:  ANDE Members  Brazil  Business  business training  East Africa  Entrepreneurship  fellowship  Latin America  leadership  MENA  mentoring  Mexico  SMEs  West Africa  Women 

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AMSCO, COMESA Seal Private Sector Deal

Posted By Zintle Makeng, ATMS Foundation/AMSCO, Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The African Management Services Company (AMSCO) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) have signed an agreement to support private sector development among COMESA member states.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya and AMSCO Regional Manager Abraham Lanor in Lusaka, Zambia last week, through which AMSCO commits to providing training programmes to support private sector development in COMESA member states, including Malawi.

A special purpose vehicle established by the International Finance Corporation in the Netherlands to serve as the operational unit of the African Training and Management Services (ATMS) project, AMSCO will provide funding to qualifying beneficiary enterprises and impact initiatives with priority to small-scale enterprises totalling less than US$3 million in revenue.

For medium enterprises, the funding will be between US$3 million and US$15 million in revenue and gross assets. AMSCO will design and implement the PSD and poverty reduction programme on a sectorial basis. The aim is to complement the existing PSD of COMESA.

Furthermore, AMSCO will recruit experts to strengthen the management and technical capabilities of beneficiary enterprises and apex bodies of the private sector. Commenting on the agreement, COMESA secretary general Sindiso Ngwenya said there are many challenges that member states face in the development of the private sector.

Mr Ngwenya cited lack of support to programmes and projects undertaken by various private sector players and skills among entrepreneurs, which has affected the achievement of the standard in the market. He said there is need for the private sector players to work together to develop infrastructure projects that COMESA is implementing.

COMESA was formed in 1994 as 'an organisation of free independent sovereign states which have agreed to co-operate in developing their natural and human resources for the good of all their people'. The organisation currently has 19 member states and a population of over 389 million, making it the largest regional economic organization in Africa.

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Tags:  Africa  AMSCO  COMESA  Private sector development  SMEs 

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RegCharles Finance and Capital Limited Signs an MOU with J.K Randle to Audit their Funded SMEs at subsidized rate!!!!

Posted By Fortune Odjugo, RegCharles Finance and Capital Ltd, Monday, July 15, 2013

At RegCharles Finance and Capital Limited our mandate is to nurture Micro, Small and Medium enterprises (MSME) succeed as well as creating a platform for sustainability, by arming them with all needed ammunition to ensure our mandate is fulfilled thus we go extra miles to ensure success.

 

One of which was partnering with J.K Randle Professional Services to provide audit and assurance services to our Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) at subsidized rates to enable them to have access to standardized and reliable audited accounts and operational procedures which normally would be beyond their reach.

 

JK Randle Professional Servicesis one of the leading financial services firms in Nigeria. They have been in existence for over 5 years. All their Partners and Managers trained with KPMG, Nigeria and worked with major corporations both public and private, distributed across various sectors of the economy within the country

 

http://www.rfcng.com/news/news_detail.php?id=63&title=RegCharles-Finance-and-Capital-Limited-Signs-an-MOU-with-J.K-Randle-to-Audit-their-Funded-SMEs-at-subsidized-rate!!!!

Tags:  Incubation  smes 

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Africa's Tech Entrepreneurs Take the Spotlight in New Film

Posted By APPFRICA, Thursday, May 16, 2013

"Inside DEMO Africa 2012" A Mini-Documentary highlighting the African continent's tech entrepreneurs

Released May 13th, 2013, "Inside DEMO Africa" is a mini-documentary produced by serial tech entrepreneur Jon Gosier which covers a rarely seen part of the tech world, the startup ecosystem of Africa. The documentary features interviews with entrepreneurs as well as well as the angel investors, venture capitalists, philanthropists, incubators and government officials who make up the ecosystem.

The footage was shot on location at DEMO Africa in Nairobi, Kenya on October 24th and 25th, 2012.

The inaugural DEMO Africa event took place last October 24-26, 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya. It provided a platform for 40 of the most innovative technology products from companies across the African continent with the opportunity to launch before a global audience of investors, media, strategic buyers, C-level executives and other entrepreneurs. This was the first time ever that a DEMO event was hosted on the African soil.

The DEMO conferences have earned their reputation for consistently identifying tomorrow's cutting-edge technologies, and have served as launchpad events for companies such as Palm, E*Trade, Salesforce, Webex, Tivo, VMware and Fusion-io and thousands of others, helping them to secure venture funding, establish critical business relationships, and influence early adopters.

The second annual DEMO Africa conference will be held October 24 & 25th, 2013.

The film is part of the ongoing "Cheetah Code” web TV series chronicling Africa’s young entrepreneurs and emerging technology sector and can be found at CheetahCode.com or @cheetahcode on Twitter.

"Inside DEMO Africa 2012" can be found on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/65979643. Runtime 00:23:54

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RELEVANT LINKS

Link to Video - https://vimeo.com/65979643

Website - http://cheetahcode.com

VentureBeat - http://venturebeat.com/2013/05/13/africas-entrepreneurs-say-their-ideas-arent-a-dime-a-dozen-like-in-silicon-valley-video/

VentureBurn - http://ventureburn.com/2013/05/inside-demo-africa-an-inside-look-into-africas-startup-world/

Tags:  accelerators  documentary  smes 

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