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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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TA Finance for SGBs - a scarce good down the road?

Posted By Pedro Eikelenboom, PUM Netherlands senior experts, Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Some perspective...once upon a time...

Picture yourself at a roundtable session with the topic ‘financial   instruments to support private sector development – how can business and non-profit collaborate’.  Guest speakers include a representative from a development bank, a public enterprise development agency, a non-profit and an enterprise

It reads like one of the many 'powwows' on the topic, though the invitation to this event has long but expired - it took place in October 2005 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands….


The impact investment eco-system

Fast-tracking time to 2016, there’s a new world created around impact investing. It has grown into an enormous market place for innovative financial (and non-financial) products and instruments. Where investors and prospects meet up, advised by consultants, think tanks, investment networks and so forth.

Many type of impact investors have entered the market, from banks, pension funds, wealth managers, family foundations, governments, development finance institutions and NGO’s. Hereby gradually expanding their investment portfolio into high-risk sectors like agriculture, in challenging countries, and targeting enterprises with ticket-sizes between US$ 100k – 500k.

It’s a shift (change in strategy) by some investors, with many key players shifting their ‘grant funds’ to a ‘return on investment’ portfolio. Is the eco-system creating a scarce good out of grants (in most cases being technical assistance / knowledge sharing) directed to support capacity development within enterprises? 

The true price of grants

Impact investing cannot only be about moving investment capital to riskier endeavors. It’s a combination of capital investments and non-reimbursable investments (the so-called grants). And the latter being a crucial factor in supporting the public good impact through technical assistance or capacity building trajectories for the beneficiaries. Neither is it a combination of 90-10, where grants serve as a bit of technical assistance on the side.

Reaching the enterprises that have growth potential but limited access to finance, means taking risk (call it technical assistance, capacity-building, non-reimbursable grants, first loss, equity stake, if you like) through a structured deal proposal between the impact investor, (perhaps) a development bank, an NGO, a technical service provider and so forth.

Several studies have stated that there is sufficient capital in the world to invest in small and medium sized enterprises (the ‘missing-middle’), in volatile sectors and in frontier markets. So money is not the issue – though the non-reimbursable investments are unfortunately becoming a scarce good due to policy changes within the public and non-profit sector.

However, beyond the non-profit community, grants are often perceived as ‘little strings-attached subsidies’, which require no financial returns. Of course, non-financial impact (social, environment etc.) is sought, though it’s based on expectations (outputs, outcomes). If one fails to reach the objectives, basically there’s not much harm done, it is - in the end - a grant.

How can we change this mindset? Grants do have a ‘price-tag’, value or leverage when dealing with blended finance. I’m sure, many investment deals in frontier markets would and will not happen without some flow of subsidies structured in the deal. Surely not advocating that grants should have a ROI too – next to non-monetary impact (social, environmental) -, but we should not take for granted the indirect value or direct leverage a subsidy has in the impact investment space. What can grant providers request or negotiate more in return for their contribution? Elements such as securing a seat at the board table of an investee (steer company’s public good objectives), or commit private grant funding to the related capacity-building program of an investment.  

Transferring skills & knowledge to secure ROI

Potential investment prospects (enterprises) may have fragile balance sheets, weak governance or inefficient processes. For that reason they are often initially overlooked by investors. As the impact investment marketplace is moving towards the ‘high-hanging fruit enterprises’, the power of knowledge becomes even more visible. Short-term technical assistance (related to entrepreneurship development) can strengthen an enterprise, making it robust and subsequently ‘de-risk’ its profile to potential investors.

In the case for professional volunteer service organizations (i.e. PUM, IESC, ACDI/VOCA, SES etc.) – its transfer of knowledge is as crucial as the committed capital investment to enterprises. Next to that, these organizations have a wealth of data, network and track-record in advising enterprises around the globe.

In the access to finance space for entrepreneurs, professional volunteer service organizations can play a critical role in strengthening the business competences of enterprises.

The lack of available (and/or affordable) local network of skills and experiences, that can contribute to the range of challenges an entrepreneur faces, is the gap where professional volunteer service organizations can offer qualified, experienced volunteer professionals to donate their time in transferring knowledge with entrepreneurs around the world. 

A structured approach

A structured approach on enabling enterprises in frontier markets to grow is essential and contributes into embracing entrepreneurs beyond the ‘usual suspects’. Collaboration through acknowledging and applying each other’s strengths is the way forward in achieving a sustainable return and impact through investment. And not to forget the role of governments and multilateral institutions in continuing - or at least not further reducing - ODA funded enterprise development programs. Of course, few would disagree with this conclusion, though the eco-system unfortunately exhibits far too few cases to proof otherwise.

For more insights on the role and added value of professional volunteer service organizations like PUM can have in strengthening SBG's as to de-risking their profile to impact investors, download the enclosed (full) article. 

 Attached Files:

Tags:  accelerators  Access to Finance  Business  capacity development  Capital Aggregation  early stage ecosystem  emerging markets  entrepreneurship  entrepreneurship ecosystems  impact investing  impact investment  inclusive business  Investors  partnership  Pioneering Capital  Private sector development  social business  social entrepreneurship  social impact 

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Announcing a New Impact Investing “Hard Skills” 2-Day Clinic: Financial Analysis and Modeling for Social Businesses, Projects and Impact Investing Funds

Posted By Erina McWilliam-Lopez, Center for Social Impact Learning at the Middlebury Institute of Internationa, Friday, April 8, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, May 25, 2016
What hard skills are required for a career in the impact investing? For starters, you are going to need to know the difference between debt and equity. You must be able to understand financial statements and how to create a financial model, analyses, and forecasting.

What is a social enterprise? What does “impact” really mean? The “impact space” spans across all industries. It is an exciting new approach that uses finance and business as a tool to address pressing environmental and social needs. Many purpose-driven people have worked “close to the impact” through the Peace Corps, or with a local nonprofit. However, the essential frameworks for social business design can be challenging to distinguish for those who have little or no background in basic finance.

We’ve designed a 2-day intensive clinic focused on the essential frameworks for financial analysis and modeling for social impact. The clinic is a comprehensive introduction that will break down key concepts. It has been designed as a primer to the Frontier Market Scouts (FMS) certificate training in social enterprise management and impact investing.

The clinic takes place the weekend prior to the upcoming FMS Monterey certificate training—June 4 & 5, 2016. It is ideal for incoming FMS participants as well as past alums who lack a solid background in finance. This course is also an excellent opportunity for professionals interested in gaining a foundational starting point for understanding how impact investing and social enterprise works. Check out the schedule for a break down of each day.

Workshop Fee: $450 (special pricing available for FMS participants)

To apply, submit your information here – https://fms1.typeform.com/to/x0JSWn

Course Instructor

Kim Kastorff founded both Kimpacto, Inc. and Global Success Fund, after many years in banking, investments, social responsibility & education, and understanding that social entrepreneurs & global businesses need affordable financial services, funding and greater collaboration, plus the increasing importance to demonstrate social impact. Today, there is an increasing trend for ‘Maximizing financial + social impact.’  Kimpacto further supports impact investors in connecting their personal mission with impact funds and social investment opportunities.

Kim’s goal is to promote financial inclusion and push for a more educated and financially sustainable global environment.  As a Benefit Corporation and Certified B Corporation, Kimpacto, Inc. is held to our global mission and a higher level of social, environmental, community and governance standards.
Kim is fluent in English & Spanish and brings her global finance, investment banking and Big 4 Consulting experience (U.S., Europe & Latin America) and holds an MBA in Finance, and a Masters in Research – Impact Investing and FINRA Securities Licenses (7, 63, 65).

THE CENTER FOR SOCIAL IMPACT LEARNING (CSIL) was founded at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) in July 2014 to proactively advance millennial engagement in the emerging fields of Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Investing through three interrelated lenses: Academic, Experiential, and Action Research.

CSIL stands out among today’s impact-driven career programs because it’s designed to serve the full spectrum of emerging social entrepreneurs—from undergraduates to graduate students to accomplished professionals, offering them both valuable learning experiences in the social enterprise field and seamless transitions from one stage of professional development to the next. With a focus on social enterprise management and impact investing, CSIL offers world-class experiential learning opportunities including a unique career launchpad program named the Ambassador Corps, and the award-winning Frontier Market Scouts fellowship and training program.  CSIL acts as a vehicle for positive impact in communities around the world by partnering with small and growing social sector businesses and responsible investment funds seeking new talent, and then matching them with globally-minded and diversely-skilled professionals.  Visit go.miis.edu/csil

Programs

TheFrontier Market Scouts Fellowship Program
An award winning two-week certificate training program and corresponding social sector fellowship opportunity for young professionals and graduate students who seek a career in social enterprise management and impact investing. Visit: go.miis.edu/fms

Research Lab
An action oriented research unit focusing on case study analyses in emerging markets and seed state social venture management, with an emphasis in utilizing impact metrics and enterprise risk. The Research Lab launched January 2015, under the direction of Dr. Yuwei Shi.

Ambassador Corps
The Ambassador Corps program connects students to the front line of social impact with unique global internship opportunities.A select group of thetop undergraduate university students from across the US are chosen to do an 8 to 10 week international summer internships. Visit: go.miis.edu/ambcorps

 


 Attached Files:
Clinic Flyer.pdf (214.94 KB)

Tags:  Access to finance  bootcamp  early stage ecosystem  emerging markets  impact investing  impact valuation  jobs  mentoring  metrics and research  professional development  social enterprise  Social entrepreneurship  social impact  training 

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Have got an innovative solution to make SME finance work for the missing middle? DGGF/SCBDFacility may help you kick start!

Posted By Julia Brethenoux, Triple Jump, Monday, December 7, 2015

The Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF)/Financing Local SME is a “fund of fund” investment initiative from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs that aims to improve financing for the “missing middle” i.e. entrepreneurs that have outgrown micro financing but do not yet have access to regular financial services.

To this aim, DGGF has a Seed Capital and Business Development (SCBD) facility that can support innovative early-stage finance actions reaching underserved SME markets with up to 1 million Euros. The SCBD facility is especially interested in innovative, sustainable and scalable proposals that address one or more of the interrelated fundamental challenges of SME finance, namely high information asymmetry; lack of collateral; high transaction costs; and limited deal flow/growth potential. Of particular interest to SCBD are nascent finance vehicles that make SME finance work for female entrepreneurs, young entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs in fragile states.

Curious about the first SCBD transaction making debt financing available to African health SMEs? More details are available here 

You have an innovative SME finance solution just starting? DGGF/SCBD Facility might be able to support your efforts! More details about the opportunity, including application and selection process are available in the enclosed one pager.

Twitter: Professionals eager to close the financing gap for the missing middle, follow @SCBDFacility

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  Access to Finance  DGGF  early stage ecosystem  Entrepreneurship  impact investing  impact investment  inclusive innovation  innovation  Private sector development  Women 

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New Report: Impact Investors See India's Social Entrepreneurs Lacking Basic Financial Management Skills To Be Investable

Posted By Upaya Social Ventures, Thursday, May 14, 2015

Over the past four years, the Upaya team has repeatedly heard from impact investors that the pipeline of investable social enterprises in India is frustratingly thin. While these investors regularly hear about interesting concepts, they lament the lack of entrepreneurs who have the business management skills needed to lead such a venture to profitability. In fact, many leading investors have said that a social entrepreneur who does not have a sufficient command of fundamental business tools is not someone they can even really consider an entrepreneur.

Looking to turn these anecdotes into actionable information, Upaya is today releasing the first of a series of spot surveys that dig deeper into investors’ impressions of the entrepreneurs they encounter.

Titled What They Really Think: Perceptions of India’s Early Stage Social Entrepreneurs Among Impact Investors, the series provides data and recommendations to the multitude of incubators, training programs and mentorship networks currently operating in India. The report captures investor opinions about the collective critical skills and competencies of entrepreneurs, and starts a substantive conversation on improving the ecosystem for early-stage social businesses.

In “Spot Survey #1: Financial Management Capabilities,” 18 of India’s 25 most active impact investors shared their impressions of the financial management competencies of entrepreneurs they have conducted some level of due diligence on. The report looks at entrepreneurs' skills in utilizing a variety of financial management tools for decision-making. It also looks at the quality of documentation investors receive from entrepreneurs, as well as the ability of those entrepreneurs to use valuation tools to communicate the financial health and long-term projections of their companies with investors.

Click to download the report.

Download File (PDF)

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  accelerators  early stage ecosystem  Entrepreneurship  impact investing  Incubation  India  Philanthropy  Pioneering Capital  social business  Social Entrepreneurship  Upaya Social Ventures 

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ASSAM-BASED TAMUL PLATES RECEIVES FOLLOW-ON INVESTMENT FROM ARTHA INITIATIVE & UPAYA SOCIAL VENTURES

Posted By Upaya Social Ventures, Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tamul Plates Marketing Pvt. Ltd. is announcing today that the company has come to an agreement with Artha Initiative and Upaya Social Ventures (both ANDE members) on an investment that will allow Northeast India’s leading producer of palm leaf tableware to significantly expand its operations across the region.

 
The deal is notable as Tamul Plates is the only established producer of disposable tableware in the Northeast - a region with more than 100,000 hectares of arecanut under plantation and one of the poorest areas of the country. 
 
“This investment is a recognition that Tamul Plates is well positioned to meet the growing demand for high quality, environmentally responsible, and ethically produced products,” said Tamul Plates CEO Arindam Dasgupta. “Working in the Northeast, the company benefits from a unique combination of access to the highest quality raw materials and a producer base that takes great pride in its craftsmanship,” said Dasgupta.
 
Tamul Plates produces and markets high-quality, all-natural disposable plates and bowls made from arecanut (palm) tree leaves and sells them under the “Tambul Leaf Plates” brand. The company’s clientele includes a mix of restaurants, fast food establishments, event managers, and direct-to-consumer retailers.
 
This investment follows a recent agreement between Tamul Plates and the Government of Assam to supply the equipment for and train an extended network of affiliate rural producers. The investment by Artha and Upaya will allow the Barpeta-based company to make use of that expanded affiliate producer network by diversifying its product line, expanding its domestic sales and distribution networks, and opening export markets for its products.
 
“It has been a highlight of the Artha Venture Challenge to uncover a pioneering and innovative enterprise in Tamul Plates,” said Artha Initiative’s Director Audrey Selian.  “We are particularly happy to be co-investing with Upaya, and look forward to continued efforts in collaboration sector-wide through our AVC and ArthaPlatform.com programming,” said Selian. Artha Initiative is associated with Switzerland-based Rianta Capital Zurich.
 
Disposable arecanut dinnerware is hygienic, chemical-free, compostable, microwave safe - and in high demand among urban consumers around the world. The production and sale of natural arecanut dinnerware not only reduces the deforestation and pollution associated with the production of traditional disposable dishes, but also provides a viable livelihood to disadvantaged communities.
 
“Upaya has been very impressed by the work of Arindam and his team over the past year, and believe that the company’s growth plans will benefit both customers and producers alike,” said Upaya’s Director, Business Development Sreejith Nedumpully. “We are proud to join the Artha Initiative in backing this promising enterprise, and are exciting about the company’s potential,” said Nedumpully. Upaya was Tamul Plates’s first investor.
 
This co-investment in Tamul Plates is the first deal completed under the formalized collaboration framework between Artha and Upaya that was announced in November 2014. Per that agreement, the two organizations are working together to deploy seed capital to help SGBs scale and create employment for the poor, share best practices around sound financial management, and disseminate tools and training for the benefit of India's wider ecosystem.

 

 Attached Files:

Tags:  early stage ecosystem  Entrepreneurship  entrepreneurship ecosystems  impact investing  India  India; ANDE members  Philanthropy  SGBs; Environment; accelerators; energy  supply chain 

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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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USAID competition now rolling to support innovations any day of the year, any sector, any country.

Posted By Kristen Gendron, U.S. Agency for International Development, Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Development Innovation Ventures (DIV), USAID’s open innovation fund, now accepts applications for innovative development solutions on a rolling basis, any day of the year. We are currently entering our fall application cycle, and looking for your help directing the best innovators to our competition.

Help us spread the word and apply today! Winners receive $150,000 to $15M depending on stage, plus nonfinancial assistance through a swat team of DIV portfolio advisers to support their organization’s growth. Proposals can be in any sector and any country in which USAID can operate.

To learn more, share with your networks, or to apply, see fast facts and tweets below, and visit DIV's website for more information.

About DIV


Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) is an innovation fund within USAID that sources, tests, and supports the growth of proven, cost-effective interventions.  Using a venture-capital approach, DIV directly invests USAID dollars through its global platform in solutions that demonstrate impact and have the potential to achieve sustainable scale.  

 

Applying to DIV: 5 things you need to know


  1. DIV invests across 3 stages of growth with grant funding ranging from under 150K to 15 million. Applicants select a stage based on how much evidence, if any, they have previously gathered of their solution’s success.

  2. DIV looks for solutions based on three pillars: 1) cost-effectiveness relative to alternative solutions; 2) evidence or plans to gather evidence of the solution’s impacts; and 3) the applicant’s plans to sustainably scale the solution beyond DIV if it is proven successful.

  3. DIV is about open innovation. That means the competition accepts applications every day of the year. Solutions can be in any sector and any country in which USAID operates. And proposals can come from any type of organization anywhere in the world.

  4. DIV uses a two-step application process. The first step is a 5 page business plan, or letter of interest, that is intended to be a light lift for both the applicants and the reviewers to assess whether the organizations are a potential fit. If you are invited to the next stage, DIV asks applicants to submit a more in-depth proposal that is evaluated by a panel of experts for final selection.

  5. DIV’s guiding document provides more thorough information on how to apply, what we look for, and what applicants can expect in our process. Use the APS in assessing your fit with DIV and in filling out your application!


Spreading the word on social media:

  • Looking for seed financing or scaling support? @DIVatUSAID winners receive up to $15M. Apply today http://goo.gl/lv6WvV
  • Help spread the word about @DIVatUSAID to innovators in #GlobalDev around the world! Apply now! http://goo.gl/lv6WvV
  • #Innovation competition @USAID looks for bold #globaldev ideas from anyone, anywhere. Apply to @DIVatUSAID now. http://goo.gl/lv6WvV
  • Awesome competition to apply to: @DIVatUSAIDlooking for innovative development solutions. Apply today http://goo.gl/lv6WvV #SocEnt
  • .@DIVatUSAID is looking to fund the next big idea in #GlobalDev. Apply now! http://goo.gl/lv6WvV

Learn more:

Visit us online here.


Tags:  Access to Finance  Asia  Business  Business Models  early stage ecosystem  emerging markets  Entrepreneurship  finance  Grants  impact investing  impact investment  Latin America  Philanthropy; impact investing  Scale  social enterprise  Social Entrepreneurship 

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WCS's Conservation Enterprise Development Fund now accepting expressions of interest

Posted By London Davies, Wildlife Conservation Society, Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Dear ANDE community, 

 The Wildlife Conservation Society announces its second annual award process for supporting early-stage conservation-friendly businesses in the landscapes and seascapes in which we operate through the Conservation Enterprise Development Fund (CEDF). CEDF offers technical assistance, small seed grants and support in obtaining patient capital loans to enterprises seeking to have a positive impact on biodiversity and local communities. For more information and for application instructions, please visit: http://globalinitiatives.wcs.org/cedf 

Expressions of interest are being accepted through January 31st, 2014.

Thanks,


London Davies
Director, Conservation Enterprise Development Fund (CEDF)
Wildlife Conservation Society

Tags:  Access to Finance  capacity development  early stage ecosystem 

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Village Capital - October 2013 Update

Posted By Lily Bowles, Village Capital, Saturday, October 26, 2013

 

Village Capital has made four new investments over the past month, is launching three new programs (in India, Kenya, and the Netherlands), and has secured support to expand the Frontier Market Scouts program. Read below for the details:

1.Village Capital has made four new investments after the close of our most recent programs in India and the US.

  • The "Tech for Impact” program in Ahmedabad,India, in partnership with CIIE at IIM-Ahmedabad, participating entrepreneurs selected iKure, which enables better last-mile health treatment through wireless monitoring devices, and Edsix, which provides quality education for the poor through an adaptive learning technology. Learn more about both enterprises in this recent Times of India article.
  • This summer’s program in Louisville, KY,marked the first formal pilot of our”Problem-Based Approach.”Instead of developing programs around industries or geographies, the VilCap team has found it most effective to organize programs around the actual problems enterprises are solving–in Louisville, we focused on reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of the agricultural supply chain. One outcome: the two peer-selected companies–Spensa Technologies, which cuts farmers’ pesticide usage through smart insect monitoring, and Solar Site Design, which makes it easy and inexpensive for any home or real estate owner to design and implement a solar project–are building great businesses generating real impact, even though they don’t self-label as "impact” enterprises. These companies were highlighted in a fun Forbes article:"Surprise! You’re a Social Entrepreneur.”

2.New programs launching inIndia, Kenya, and the Netherlands this fall–and you’re invited to come meet the enterprises (dates and locations below).

  • "Edupreneurs,”a program Village Capital is operating in partnership with the Pearson Affordable Learning Fund, features 15 top ventures providing affordable BoP education solutions in India. Learn more about the program here; join usSaturday, October 26th in Delhi for our Customer Forum; or save the date for ourVenture Forum: November 23rdin Bangalore.
  • Village Capital-Netherlands, in partnership with Impact Hub-Amsterdam and DOEN Foundation, kicks off next week. Join Executive Director, Ross Baird, to learn more about the program and Frontier Market Scouts-Netherlands (DeBaak Institute), hosted atImpact Hub on October 31st.

3.Do you know anyone eager to get build a career in impact investing? We’re excited to announce that, with the support of Shell and the Hitachi Foundation, we’re expanding the Frontier Market Scouts program.

The Frontier Market Scouts program, which Village Capital co-founded with the Monterey Institute for International Studies and Sanghata Global, has been a leading entry point for professionals into the impact investing sector. Over the past three years, impact investors such as Invested Development, Unitus Seed Fund, and Accion, as well as enterprises in our portfolio and elsewhere have provided an on-ramp for aspiring professionals.

Thanks to Shell and the Hitachi Foundation, Village Capital has been able to expand the Frontier Market Scouts program globally. Starting with this January’s training, there will be three campuses (with more to come):

  • The Monterey Institute for International Studies
  • The Sorenson Center for Global Impact Investing(University of Utah)
  • De Baak Institute(Netherlands)

If you know someone interested in a career in impact investing, please encourage them to apply to the Scouts program by October 15th–link here.

That’s all for now – we hope to see you at one of our programs or events over the coming months, ANDE members and friends!

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Tags:  accelerators  ANDE Members  early stage ecosystem  emerging markets  Entrepreneurship  High-Growth Entrepreneurship  impact investing  mentoring  Mexico  SGBs; Environment; accelerators; energy  social business 

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