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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.

 Attached Files:

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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How Mobile Technology is Saving Lives in Nigeria

Posted By Stephanie Buck, Aspen Institute, Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, October 4, 2017

In April 2015, a strange illness began spreading in Ondo State in Nigeria. Dozens of people started experiencing blurry vision, headaches, blindness, and loss of consciousness. Around the same time, people in nearby Rivers State began to suffer the same symptoms, sending communities into a panic, and claiming the lives of 66 people. Rumors of Ebola spread, but proved to be wrong. Instead, the mysterious disease was linked to methanol poisoning as a result of a pesticide-contaminated batch of a locally brewed gin, called Ogogoro. In total, it took more than six weeks to contain the Rivers State outbreak.

But in Ondo State, while 18 people still died tragically, the outbreak was contained in two weeks. Why the difference?

Keep reading > 

 

This excerpt is part of a series of stories ANDE is carrying out in partnership with Qualcomm Wireless Reach, another ANDE member. Read more stories at www.whysgbs.org/globalgoals. If you'd like to submit your own story for consideration on this site, please contact Stephanie Buck

 

Tags:  Information and Communication Technology  mobile  West Africa 

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Announcing the Third Call for Applications for the CHMI Learning Exchange!

Posted By Allison Ettenger, Results for Development Institute, Wednesday, October 12, 2016

applICATIONS OPEN FOR the CHMI Learning Exchange

 

The Center for Health Market Innovations (CHMI), in partnership with Solina Health, is thrilled to announce its third Call for Applications for the CHMI Learning Exchange! Applications are due by November 13th.

Download the application here

Recognizing the excellence and innovation within our global network, the CHMI Learning Exchange aims to facilitate structured learning partnerships between organizations that are profiled on CHMI, helping programs to improve business practices, adopt innovations, or scale-up or replicate an aspect of their model to a new market. Learning Exchanges help connect health program managers to their peers for a focused opportunity that can help organizations strengthen their health businesses, and expand access to improved quality care.

The CHMI Learning Exchange will provide funding of up to US $8,000 to successful applicants to facilitate learning partnerships. Programs that apply for participation in the Learning Exchange may also be considered for participation in a Learning Collaborative - an additional in-person opportunity to work with your learning exchange partner and other programs in our network that share similar programmatic challenges[1].  To be eligible for this opportunity, at least one program must be based in West Africa[2], and both programs must be based in Sub-Saharan Africa

CHMI has seen firsthand that peer learning activities can be a valuable tool to support programs on their path to scale, ultimately reaching more people with quality, affordable care. In April 2015, CHMI awarded its second round of learning exchange grants to five winning applications. Representing ten organizations and six countries, these new partnerships allowed program managers to improve and scale-up their models; past grantee activities range from replicating supply models, improving management and operational processes, building financial sustainability, and adapting new client safety systems.

A Learning Exchange Focused on Sub-Saharan Africa


Following the 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak, the global community refocused its attention on the fragmented health systems in West Africa. While many activities are implemented in West Africa with government support, there is a limited presence of peer learning opportunities in the region for private providers.  Allowing innovators from across the continent to connect with West African programs helps CHMI to share tacit knowledge, understand country contexts and regional trends, and promote South-to-South learning partnerships.

Is this opportunity right for me?

-Are you a healthcare manager running a program in Sub-Saharan Africa, aspiring to scale up your program or enter new markets?

-Are you struggling with a central question around your business model, one that other program managers may have insight into?

-Could you benefit from traveling or engaging virtually to learn from a similar healthcare program, either in your country or internationally?


If you answered yes to any of the above, the CHMI Learning Exchange may be a good opportunity for you!

What is a Learning Exchange?

A Learning Exchange is an engagement between two or more organizations to share knowledge around a particular need or business practice. Partners may be based in the same geography or in different countries.

Because peer-to-peer exchanges are customized to address an organization’s particular and current need, they can be limited to the scope necessary to catalyze institutional change. 

How does a Learning Exchange work?


Learning Exchanges will involve one or more healthcare organizations acting as lead partners and knowledge partners. One of these partners must be based in West Africa, and both programs need to be based in Sub-Saharan Africa

Lead partner: A “lead partner” is a healthcare organization profiled by CHMI that will develop the application for the CHMI Learning Exchange and be responsible for disbursing funds to other partnering organizations. The “lead” partner can be the “learner” in a traditional “mentor-mentee” relationship; or, the lead partner and knowledge partners can represent similar organizations that may offer complementary skills, expertise, and ability to learn from one another. Lead partners should contact potential knowledge partners through CHMI or through other channels to solicit their agreement to apply for the CHMI Learning Exchange. Please contact chmi@r4d.org if you require assistance in contacting programs through our website.Knowledge partner: One or more healthcare organization(s) that work with a lead partner to exchange knowledge through activities specified in this application. Knowledge partner(s) should agree to participate with a lead partner prior to being named in an application for the CHMI Learning Exchange.

 
Both partners should discuss the scope of the learning agenda, the way in which learning will take place, and its intended impact.

The lead partner will submit an application to the CHMI Learning Exchange. The lead partner will assume responsibility for meeting outcomes, submitting reports, and determining whether and how funds are shared between partners. The knowledge partner will provide their organization’s commitment signature on the Lead partner’s application.


A cohort of organizations will carry out their unique Learning Exchanges over a six-month period, from December 2016 through May 2017. At the conclusion of the Learning Exchange, partners will reflect on what worked and what didn’t work, and share their experiences to benefit the broader CHMI community. 

 
Learn more and apply by November 13th. Please contact us at chmilearningexchange@r4d.org if you have any questions. We look forward to hearing from you! 

Apply today

Tags:  Base of the Pyramid  business training  Health  Private Sector  social enterprise  social entrepreneurship  Training & Events  West Africa 

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New report - 'Training Talent: Best practice in workplace learning & management development in Africa'

Posted By Rebecca Harrison, African Management Initiative, Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Effective managers and entrepreneurs hold the key to Africa’s prosperity. Yet organisations cite a talent gap, and traditional training models seem to be broken. Africa needs a fresh approach to help millions of managers, entrepreneurs and professionals build the skills needed to drive their organisations – and the continent - forward.  

This new report by the African Management Initiative (AMI) draws on fresh data on Africa’s critical talent gap and presents new insights on how to address it through workplace learning and development. We list eight key findings about what is needed, and about what effective workplace learning looks like in an African context, with a particular focus on SGBs. 

This report is a must-read for senior leaders in African organisations who want to address the talent gap in their own organisations. It is also invaluable for impact investors ad intermediaries who want to build talent in portfolio companies, donors interested in workforce development, banks and investors looking to strengthen small business clients, university leaders that want to equip graduates for jobs and anyone with an interest in developing Africa’s next generation of entrepreneurs, managers and professionals. 

Our findings include insights on where demand for training is most urgent - what kinds of organisations most need to prioritise talent development, and what level in the organisation is most vulnerable? We look at what kind of skills are needed most – the results are sometimes surprising. 

We also look at what works, drawing on international best practice and our own experience developing talent in African organisations. We argue that to translate training into improved performance, organisations must look beyond individual skill-building to the embedding of organisational habits. We push beyond traditional training approaches such as courses and workshops to explore experiential learning, on-the-job feedback and accountability. We look at how technology can enable sophisticated personalised learning at vastly reduced cost. Finally we present our own preferred ‘blended learning’ solution and share data that illustrates how effective workplace learning programmes can deliver real results.

Download the full report here. Get in touch with Rebecca Harrison at rebecca@africanmanagers.org for more information about AMI or the report, and look our for us at the ANDE annual conference!

 

Tags:  east africa  South Africa  talent  Training & Events  West Africa 

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IDEO.org's Urban Resilience Challenge: Add Your Ideas

Posted By IDEO.org, Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Almost 4 billion people live in the world’s cities. By 2045, that number is expected to reach 6 billion. As the earth gets warmer, sea levels rise and weather patterns become more erratic, the fates of billions will rest on the ability of cities to transform in response to these pressures. People living in urban slums already struggle to access safe housing, water and other basic resources, and will be disproportionately impacted by these changes.

We believe this presents a tremendous opportunity for design. How might urban slum communities become more resilient to the effects of climate change? Our fourth Amplify challenge focuses on the opportunity to design solutions that enable communities in urban slums to adapt, transform, and thrive as they meet the challenges presented by climate change. We're looking for solutions related to sanitation, water management, energy, communications technology, community development and more!

For the Urban Resilience Challenge, we're partnering with OpenIDEO, the UK Department for International Development and the Global Resilience Partnership. Winners of this challenge are eligible for a share of up to $800,000 in funding and technical design assistance to bring some the best ideas to life.

There's only ONE WEEK LEFT to add your idea (a few short paragraphs will do!) to be eligible to win the challenge, so check out the challenge and add your voice today: http://ideo.to/AmplifyURC

Tags:  communities  conflict affected states  East Africa  Entrepreneurship  Environment  inclusive innovation  innovation  Kenya  Poverty  Prize  social enterprise  Social Entrepreneurship  sustainability  West Africa  Women 

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Food for Thought - Made in Africa for Africa

Posted By Irmgard Jansen, BoP Innovation Center, Tuesday, September 22, 2015

On the 27th of October 2SCALE organizes the ‘Food for Thought: Made in Africa, for Africa!’ conference in the New World Campus in The Hague, to get a better understanding of what makes African agri-business tick and what makes partnerships succeed. We invited CEOs of seven African companies to share their experience with us; from the start of their business venture
to their growth and success of today, and the challenges they faced along the way. What does it take for an African farmer or entrepreneur to contribute to food security and better livelihoods? And how can African and Dutch entrepreneurs build strong partnerships to develop the agricultural sector in Africa? We have also invited agri and food experts who will comment on why some businesses succeed while others fail.

African economies are rising, and so are their agri-food industries. Still, access to food remains a challenge for most consumer segments. Greater market participation by small-scale local entrepreneurs will boost food security and agriculture-based trade in Africa. Market expansion will also give farmers the incentive to invest in productivity enhancing technologies. 2SCALE builds
partnerships for agri-business and helps to create new businesses and expand existing ones. From the smallholder farmer producing tomatoes for the local market to the young ambitious entrepreneur or the Dutch company looking for local partners to strengthen their position. Generally, farming is not being perceived of as professional business, whereas programs like 2SCALE reveal that farming can be (and should be seen as) serious business that contributes to food security.

2SCALE covers 9 countries (Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Sudan and Uganda) and a number of product groups that can make a difference – bringing prosperity to small-scale farmers, emerging enterprises and Base of the Pyramid consumers. This implies for example the inclusion of women and the younger generations, and the empowerment of
smallholder farmers. Furthermore, 2SCALE creates networks that provide market opportunities, technologies, training, business support, credit and insurance - all the elements needed for profitable, sustainable business. Halfway through the five-year project the impact is clearly visible:

  • 50 well-established public-private partnerships are active and created new businesses and business activities
  • More than 1,600 companies are buying produce from, selling agricultural inputs to, or providing services to small scale farmers;
  • More than 265,000 smallholder farmers have improved crop yields, income and family nutrition. Over 30% of these farmers are women;
  • 24 pilot programs are now operational, increasing access to low cost nutritious food for BoP consumers; and
  • 20 learning and coaching programs for local-level networking and capacity strengthening are being implemented.  

Contact: To learn more about the conference, please check the 2SCALE website (http://2scale.org/event/2scale-business-event) or contact Irmgard Jansen (jansen@bopinc.org or +31 (0) 30 2305 915).


2SCALE was launched in 2012 and is an initiative of the International Fertilizer Development Center, the International Centre for development oriented Research in Agriculture and BoP Innovation Center. The project is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Tags:  Access to Finance  africa  Agriculture  Business  East Africa  Entrepreneurship  entrepreneurship ecosystems  gender  impact investment  Scale  West Africa  Women  Youth 

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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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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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