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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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We are measuring impact BEYOND sustainability. What about you?

Posted By Cecilia Latapí, SVX México, Friday, April 27, 2018
Hello!
 
We want to invite you to join a collaborative effort to define what REGENERATIVE - going beyond sustainability - means in our daily practice and to design the metrics for measuring it. Our aim is to collect as many opinions as possible from regenerative practitioners and others with different perspectives, taking into account as many voices as possible before ReGen18 in early May 2018.
 
In the words of Kevin Jones, co-convenor of ReGen18 and co-founder of SOCAP: "the challenge for regenerative metrics is that we have to find a way for them to add value, instead of being seen as a cost." 
 
The intention of this undertaking is a collaboratively-designed, co-created regenerative tool to provide organizations the capacity to determine the positive and negative impacts of their practices while establishing some common ground on what regeneration means, its sector-specific metrics, and guidance on best practices for generating Regenerative outcomes. 
 
As a first step, we invite you to participate in the following survey: https://goo.gl/forms/Q7tZMLp5fIKRSOIu1 
 
The results of this survey will be made available to all participants and presented during ReGen18 for further discussion and exploration. After the event, we will keep working on the project on a shared platform, aiming to develop our regenerative tool with your participation (the resulting tool will be placed in the public domain under a Creative Commons license).
 
If you are doing something similar, working on ideas that could contribute or are interested in co-creating in this exciting new field of endeavor, we want to hear from you!
 
Thanks for co-creating with us.  We look forward to your contributions.
 
 
- Holly Dublin, Kevin Jones, Cecilia Latapi, Laura Ortiz Montemayor, Shaun Paul @ ReGen18

Tags:  Environment  impact assessment  impact investing  impact investing; gender lens investing; gender; w  Performance Measurement  Private sector development  Risk; Risk Assessment; ANDE Members  study  Survey  sustainability  sustainable development  sustainable energy 

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Risky business: how to de-risk your fintech startup before it’s too late

Posted By Akansha Kasera, Bankable Frontier Associates, Friday, April 6, 2018
Updated: Friday, April 6, 2018

By Maelis Carraro and Elizabeth Davidson

If you’re a fintech entrepreneur, it’s probably not news to you that failure is more likely than success. After all, an estimated 70% of tech startups fail, typically within the first two years after their first round of financing.

Catalyst Fund has been working with inclusive fintech startups, a field that presents unique challenges for entrepreneurs, over the past two years. In many countries, it is a sector that presents more regulatory constraints, limitations as to how companies can handle information, and stringent operational and capital requirements.

Different startups, common risk challenges

Despite working with a wide variety of fintech startups across different geographies and sectors, we have seen some themes emerge on the most common risks that can pose a threat to the success of the business at the early stage. All startups mention they lack the financial and human capital they need to grow their businesses. “Finding funding is a huge burden. The average startup CEO spends 70% of his time fundraising, which remains the number one challenge faced by local startups,” says Yoann Berno of Flowigo.

Finding people with the right skill sets who are willing to give up more secure job alternatives is also big barrier, yet fundamental to raising capital and ensuring smooth execution. “The biggest challenge is getting the team with the right skill set at first, especially when you’re a young company and don’t have a system or protocol for hiring and then you start growing rapidly,” says Destacame’s Jorge Camus. “It then gets challenging to manage the team, train them and really build a culture that allows you to get to your goals.”

Over 70% of our fintech entrepreneurs also noted that not getting to product-market fit is a major challenge they face. They felt they did not have a full understanding of their customers needs to build strong value propositions. Additionally, 40% mentioned they faced technology risks, including lack of accessible data to refine their products, and 33% pointed to specific ecosystem dynamics that might threaten their business ability to scale.

Want to mitigate risks? Start early!
Early identification of key risks can help fintech startups invest in the business support they need early on before a risk takes down the business. These risks can scare off investors, who want to ensure that entrepreneurs understand the key challenges they face. Instead of waiting for entrepreneurs to identify key risks, early stage investors can work with startups to tackle these risks before or in conjunction with their investment.

Catalyst Fund has taken just this approach. By working with our entrepreneurs to identify risks, we can tailor technical assistance to solve these risks so that investors are more confident in the future success of the business.

Taking an honest look at their own key risks can be difficult for entrepreneurs, who may be too deep in the weeds to step back and look at the bigger picture. This is why the Catalyst Fund developed a risk diagnostic to help startup leaders get a better grasp on their challenges, and understand those within or outside of their control. The tool offers a checklist of possible mitigation strategies for the entrepreneur. Here are a few strategies we applied through our technical assistance engagements:

Understand your customer to offer strong value propositions
For Miguel Duhalt at Comunidad 4uno, that meant better understanding what his customers valued most about its product in order to focus on high value customers and tailor their offering. When we first met 4Uno, a financial services distribution platform offering insurance, health benefits and payments services for domestic workers in Mexico, they struggled with picking the right product offering for the right customer segment. After working with them on customer research, we helped them segment their customer base to refine their product offering and marketing strategy. Since then, they tailored product packages for insurance to specific client profiles and also offer salary payment services via an app, which resulted in a growth spurt.

Figuring out the right way to engage with customers is also a challenge for entrepreneurs in these markets and a big risk to the company’s ability to take off. How can a mobile-based startup communicate its value proposition clearly and consistently with a rural customer base when only 50% own phones and only 20% are literate? WorldCover, a platform providing insurance to low-income farmers around the world, used a marketing MVP, or minimal viable product, composed of simple and clear images to cater to the illiterate majority of potential customers. They tested various solutions, from SMS systems to a “microphone man” going to communities to play a recorded message and frequent community meetings. Community meetings, with 95% attendance rates, allowed WorldCover to maintain a human touch with customers. Farmers trusted WorldCover more after more face-to-face interactions because “an impostor wouldn’t show up at your house every week after taking our premium money,” said WorldCover’s CEO, Chris Sheehan.

Build a product vision and roadmap that meets your business needs
On the other hand, PayGo, a pay-as-you-go gas solution in Kenya, realized they were struggling with technology risks. They needed to integrate with a scalable payments solution, track key gas system indicators, and find tools to measure, monitor, and run their field sales team and customer service, yet they did not have the tech skills in the team build the necessary back-end software technology. We worked on designing their product architecture and built a new version of the app they are still using today. “The architecture we built with Catalyst still holds,” says Nick Quintong, PayGo’s CEO. “It was fundamental for a team that doesn’t have software expertise to bring someone in to show us how it can be done with off-the-shelf software modules.” Without these key technology investments early on, PayGo would not be poised for the growth it’s enjoying today.

In Colombia, we helped Escala, a savings fund for corporate employees and their children, with similar challenges. Initially, technology was holding Escala back and preventing them from reaching more clients who could benefit from their services. We worked with Escala to identify and integrate the right tech processes to match their stage and helped them avoid spending important resources on expensive and unnecessary CRM tools. 


“We believe ESCALA Educación’s story proves that a model like CF is very valuable to get a company investment-ready.” 

Escala used their new tech structure to more successfully manage their two sets of clients — companies and their employees — and to raise a seed round, which included members of Catalyst Fund’s Investors Committee such as Accion Venture Lab. “We believe ESCALA Educación’s story proves that a model like CF is very valuable to get a company investment-ready,” said Tahira Dosani, co-managing director of Accion Venture Lab, at the SOCAP conference this year. “ESCALA combines a strong management team and exciting customer acquisition and engagement strategies” says Vikas Raj, co-managing director of Accion Venture Lab.

Get the timing right
Unfortunately, not all risks can be mitigated. For Flowigo CEO Yoann Berno, “timing is everything.” Flowigo, a SaaS company seeking to enhance operations of pay-as-you-go product distributors in Africa, faced timing risks that ultimately backfired. Its markets lacked the client density necessary from them to scale, and key infrastructure issues like connectivity posed an ongoing challenge. SaaS companies like Flowigo need dense networks of businesses to flourish, but in Africa, industries that count more than a few dozen major players are rare. Scaling a SaaS business while addressing 10 to 15 customers is a hard sell. Ultimately, Flowigo succumbed to the timing risk, deciding to pivot and wind down this line of business.

Overall, while not all risks are avoidable, you can’t avoid the risks you don’t know about or aren’t focused on. So for fintech startups and investors alike, identifying and mitigating risks early is key to success. To get started on identifying your fintech startup’s key risks and think of your mitigation plan, check out Catalyst Fund’s new risk diagnostic.

You can also check out De-risking your Fintech startup webinar where we go over the toolkit and risk assessment for Catalyst Fund companies here

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Business  emerging markets  entrepreneurship  finance  impact investing  inclusive business  inclusive innovation  Incubation  Risk; Risk Assessment; ANDE Members  SGBs; Environment; accelerators; energy  social business  social enterprise  social entrepreneurship 

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MDIF closes $6-million media impact fund

Posted By Peter Whitehead, Media Development Investment Fund, Tuesday, March 20, 2018
New York, March 19, 2018: Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) today announced final close of MDIF Media Finance I, a $6-million impact fund investing in independent news media in select emerging and frontier markets.

“We are delighted to have closed MMF I and ramp up financing for companies that provide the news, information and debate that people need to build open societies,” said Harlan Mandel, MDIF Chief Executive Officer. “MMF I loans will help build companies that expose corruption, hold governments to account and provide balanced coverage of elections.”

MMF I provides affordable debt to independent news companies in a range of countries where access to free and independent media is under threat. The fund will invest in companies in countries such as India, Ukraine, Bolivia and Lesotho.

MMF I notes pay 4% annual interest and, under a pioneering agreement with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), MDIF and Sida provide investors with 55% first-loss protection. Sida also provides technical assistance grants to fund investees to build their management capacity.

MMF I investors include the Open Society Foundations (Soros Economic Development Fund), Dreilinden, a Dutch family office and Antonis Schwarz.

“MMF I will finance investments in software, equipment, content production, workspace, as well as working capital and short-term cash-flow needs – all vital for company growth,” said Mr. Mandel. “With the successful close of MMF I, we are now looking forward to launching MMF II later this year.”

About MDIF

MDIF is a New York-based not-for-profit investment fund for independent media in countries where independent media are under threat. It has 22 years’ experience of helping build quality news and information companies – print, digital and broadcast – in emerging markets. It has:

  • invested more than $166 million in 114 media companies
  • worked in 39 countries on 5 continents
  • a current portfolio of more than $60 million invested in over 50 media organizations

For more information, contact Peter Whitehead, MDIF Director of Communications, peterawhitehead@mdif.org, +44 7793050670.

Tags:  emerging markets  impact investing  impact investment  social business  social impact 

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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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Ennovent invests in Bengaluru-based Hasiru Dala Innovations

Posted By Aditi Natarajan, Ennovent, Tuesday, April 18, 2017

 

Ennovent’s Impact Investment Holding (IIH) has invested an undisclosed amount in Bengaluru-based Hasiru Dala Innovations Private Limited. The company was incubated earlier by the Foundation for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (FISE), a Tata Trusts initiative. This is the sixth investment made by Ennovent’s Impact Investment Holding.

Hasiru Dala Innovations is a for-benefit, not-for-loss social enterprise that is dedicated to creating reliable and sustainable livelihoods for wastepickers through innovative, circular-economy centric businesses (www.hasirudalainnovations.com). It currently offers total waste management services for the responsible bulk waste generator, event waste management services for the eco-friendly host and easy to use home composter kits for the environmentally conscious. The enterprise therefore focuses on social impact through livelihood creation for waste pickers and environmental conservation by diverting waste away from landfills and processing it usefully .The company was co-founded by Nalini Shekar, Shekar Prabhakar and Marwan Abubaker in Bengaluru.

Bengaluru generates a reported 3500-4000 tonnes of waste everyday, which has led to overflowing, closed landfills and illegal dumping of waste in open landfills. This has created an enormous strain on urban local bodies, which are unable to cope with the mounting levels of waste and the consequent environmental and civic fallout. Further, the lives of the city’s 25000-30000 waste pickers who deal with this issue on a daily basis is deplorable- harassed by citizens and the police alike, with unpredictable livelihoods and no social security, they have an average life expectancy of 39 years.

Hasiru Dala was started in 2013 as a non-government organisation (NGO) with the aim of integrating waste pickers into the city’s solid waste management system. Since its inception, it has worked towards improving the working conditions of thousands of workers in the informal economy, including waste pickers, sorters and itinerant waste buyers. Hasiru Dala focuses on social justice issues covering social security, identity, dignity of labour, healthcare, education and affordable housing through policy advocacy, grassroots mobilization and leveraging assistance provided by the state and central governments and other relevant institutions.

Since its inception, Hasiru Dala has created over 800 full and part-time jobs and impacted over 22,000 households which now have access to better waste management services. Both organisations put together manage over 40 tonnes of waste every day.

With this investment, Hasiru Dala Innovations plans to expand its operations in Bengaluru and invest in technology in order to streamline its operational processes. It will also use the funding to improve on its service offerings, which currently include solid waste management, urban gardening services, waste management services for events and home composting kits. The investment will be also be used to scale up Hasiru Dala Innovations’ reach and impact within Bengaluru, as well as expand its services to other cities in India.

The contribution that Hasiru Dala Innovations makes to enhancing the lives of waste pickers is the primary reason for the investment. This is because the organisation’s impact is not just limited to their working lives but also to their holistic growth (through health, banking and insurance facilities) and the lives of their children through educational loans and scholarships,

Speaking about the investment, Joel Rodrigues, Senior Manager – Finance Services at Ennovent said “The problem of inefficient solid waste management in urban areas can be solved by using technology and formally integrating waste pickers into the city’s solid waste management system. Ennovent Impact Investment Holding is optimistic about the impact Hasiru Dala Innovations will have in delivering waste management services to urban households while improving the lives of waste pickers.”

Shekar Prabhakar, Managing Director, Hasiru Dala said “Hasiru Dala Innovations is delighted to have Ennovent Impact Investment Holding partner with us on this journey. It is heartening to have impact investors like Ennovent recognize that social enterprises like ours are trying to maximize social impact while keeping the business viable and sustainable. We hope to not just transform waste picker lives but professionalize and set benchmarks in every business that we are in. We look forward to Ennovent’s continued support in realizing our vision of a just, opportunity-rich world for waste pickers.”

Tags:  entrepreneurship  Environment  impact investing  India  sanitation  social entrepreneurship 

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Missing Middle Investors Network – Easy, Efficient Way for Fund Investors to Share Deals in Emerging Markets

Posted By Michael Newman, Capria Ventures, Monday, April 10, 2017

We kept hearing the same desire from investors worldwide: they’re looking for great new impact funds in emerging markets, really want more deal flow, and find out more about what funds their respected peers see as compelling.

Building on discussions at the Collaborative Capital for the Missing Middle gathering of DFIs, foundations and family offices from every corner of the world, a working group formed the Missing Middle Investors Network (MMIN) because of their strong interest in a simple, efficient way to share impact funds investment opportunities, which may lead to shared insights, potential collaboration and co-investment.  

Keeping it simple

MMIN is really quite straightforward.  Every two months, we hold a group video call to share investment opportunities in funds that network members feel are compelling. The presenting members spend about 5 minutes sharing what they find most compelling about the investment opportunity, as well as key questions they intend to pursue in evaluating the deal.  Other participating members on the call then share their initial thoughts and raise what they see as key questions about the deal. If a member is interested in discussing the deal in more detail and/or getting an introduction to the investee, they can reach out to the sponsoring member after the call.

Strong initial traction

Launched in January 2017, MMIN already has over 40 members, including Capria, Ceniarth, CDC, Chan Zuckerberg, Christian Super, DFAT, Grieg Investor Group, I&P, IFC, Kellogg Foundation, Lemelson Foundation, Merrill Lynch, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Pfizer Foundation, PG Impact, Rianta Capital, Rockefeller Brothers, Sall Family Foundation, Small Foundation, Sonanz, Sorenson Impact Foundation, Soros Economic Development Fund, SwedFund and more.

On March 23, we hosted the second MMIN call. Five different members presented impact fund investment opportunities:

  • SwedFund presented Aletheia Identity, a women-led fund and Capria Network member that invests in early growth stage SMEs with diverse and women-led teams in Africa.
  • Ceniarth presented Advanced Global Capital, a specialty finance fund that supports SMEs in a variety of emerging and underserved markets through invoice discounting.
  • Sonanz presented Grey Ghost Ventures, a fund investing in early-stage enterprises that focus on mobile-based technologies for underserved communities in Asia and Africa.
  • Capria presented Brightmore Capital, a fund investing in early-stage, West African SMEs across multiple sectors.
  • Small Foundation presented IPDEV2, a fund of funds investing in SME-focused impact investment vehicles in sub-Saharan Africa.

You’re an investor who wants to get involved?

While we expect to see the network grow, we’re excited about MMIN remaining an invite-only and trusted peer network, where like-minded LPs can share investment opportunities and ideas.

If you are an investor or TA provider to impact funds in emerging markets and interested in MMIN, please feel free to contact me at michaeln@capria.vc

Tags:  Access to Finance  impact investing  Investors  Michael and Susan Dell Foundation  Soros Economic Development Fund  Upaya Social Ventures 

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​Agora Partnerships Launches Application for 2017 Accelerator Cycle 2 Class

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

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

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

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The Changing Face of Impact Investment: Interview with John Kohler

Posted By Patricia Haines, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University, Friday, January 27, 2017
http://www.financingsocialentrepreneurs.com/episode-2-changing-face-impact-investment-interview-john-kohler-co-founder-toniic-global-syndication-network-impact-investors-senior-director-impact/

Podcast: This is an in-depth and comprehensive picture of the state of impact investment today. In this interview, John Kohler, Senior Director of Impact Capital at Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, talks the changing face of impact investing and the growth of new financing vehicles such as structured exits and the demand dividend. John highlights the particular challenges facing social entrepreneurs “crossing the pioneer gap” –the Transformative Frontier–trying to raise capital in the $500k -$1 million range. 

Tags:  impact investing 

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Workshop: Build a Career in Impact Investing

Posted By Ryan Steinbach, Impact Business Leaders, Monday, January 16, 2017

Location: Washington DC, USA

First Round Deadline: February 1

Build a career investing in what matters. The Break into Impact Investing Talent Accelerator is a 3-day intensive workshop in Washington DC for finance professionals and MBA students who want to build an exciting career in impact investing. As impact investing continues to demonstrate its ability to scale social and environmental innovations, investment firms will need a greater number of talented professionals to develop and manage the next wave of impact investment vehicles and funds. From February 18-20, Break into Impact Investing will prepare you for a career in this growing industry by:

  • Deepening your understanding of impact investing in an intensive 3-day workshop taught by leading practitioners from Washington DC-based impact investing organizations. Our practitioner instructors will discuss the industry landscape, provide real examples of impact investment deals, and share their own journeys into the space.
  • Positioning you for success with individualized assessment tools that will help you get clear on your next career move and practical workshop sessions designed to help you stand out in the impact investing hiring process.
  • Connecting you with impact investors based in the DC area who are hiring for open positions. In addition to our line-up of instructors, the workshop will end with a closed networking event, featuring top impact investing organizations in the region.

Break into Impact Investing is hosted by Impact Business Leaders (IBL) – a social enterprise that develops talented professionals into the next generation of leaders in social enterprise and impact investing. Join the 240+ professionals who have participated in IBL’s programs around the world and who are now emerging leaders at organizations such as, Acumen, Village Capital, The International Finance Corporation, and Asia IIX. Only 25 highly qualified professionals will be accepted into this program. If you’re ready to accelerate your impact investing career, apply for our program today. If you know someone who is ready to start investing in what matters, share our workshop and encourage them to reach to out IBL Marketing Director, Ryan Steinbach: rsteinbach@impactbusinessleaders.com

Tags:  impact investing  talent 

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