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Webinar: What Does ‘Impact’ Mean to You?

Posted By Mia Haughton, Vera Solutions, Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Live Webinar on Thursday, May 3rd at 10am (BST)

Every nonprofit is working towards making a positive change in some way, be it in the lives of individuals, our communities, or the world we live in. But how do you measure the impact of the good work you do?

Nonprofits who want to increase their mission’s reach need to define what success looks like to them so that they can measure it more effectively. Join us for a live panel discussion where three nonprofit trailblazers from different ends of the spectrum, each with their own unique insights and real-world experience on the topic, will answer the question: what does ‘impact’ mean to you?

Speakers:

Zak Kaufman, Co-Founder & CEO at Vera Solutions
Joanne Trotter, Global Lead, Results and Learning at the Aga Khan Foundation
Amanda Feldman, Director at The Impact Management Project

Don’t miss out, save your seat today >>>

 

Tags:  impact measurement  innovation  Performance Measurement  salesforce  social impact  webinar 

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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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Crowdsourcing innovations that enhance economic stability. Submit by September 15!

Posted By Phil Psilos, FHI 360, Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Have your organization, investees, or clients created a product, program, or policy that enhances economic stability for poor and vulnerable people?  We'd like to hear about it!

FHI 360 is working with support from The Rockefeller Foundation to surface global innovations that improve economic stability for individuals, communities, local governments and businesses .

The research team is looking for innovations that enhance several dimensions of economic stability: (1) income and asset stability through more consistent employment, wages, and safety nets; (2) specific financial products, skill development approaches, or other means that help people plan for and invest in the future (3) innovations that improve people’s confidence in economic management, regulatory quality, and dispute resolution, or allow them to participate more effectively in shaping these environments in ways that enable better decisions at the household and business levels.  

Top innovations will be featured in an Atlas of Stability Innovation published by FHI 360 in early 2018, in our online media campaigns, and promoted in global media.

Please submit your innovations by September 15, 2017 at at the submission page or visit the project website to learn more. You can also reach us at innovation4stability at gmail dot com          

Tags:  crowdsourcing  emerging markets  Global. Development  inclusive business  inclusive innovation  innovation  Microfinance  social enterprise  social innovation 

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MIF Awards 2018: Applications closing in 1 week!

Posted By Chandrakant Komaragiri, Ennovent, Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Ennovent is supporting Marico Innovation Foundation Awards 2018 – one of the largest platforms for recognizing and showcasing best of Indian Innovation. Helping them to recognize innovations for both ‘for Profit ‘and ‘Not for Profit’ social organizations.
 
Any organization which is beyond the prototype stage and has contributed to the innovation space in the last 6 years is eligible to apply. The innovation could be the work of one person, a few people, a large team or a department.
 
You can fill the application using the online form. Here is offline form for your reference. 

Given your presence and connect with enterprises and entrepreneurs, we seek your support in identifying potential participants. 
 
Could you suggest the awards to the entrepreneurs, and startups in your networks? It would be great if you could refer the organizations from your network and we could follow up with them.

In case you have any queries or issues, please feel free to reach out to us at aditi.chawla@ennovent.com. 

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Tags:  inclusive business  India  innovation  larger SMEs  social enterprise  social innovation  sustainability 

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Innovation event in Nairobi

Posted By Meredith Ettridge, Royal Academy of Engineering, Monday, April 3, 2017
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4SwfFDxiz4

The 2017 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation final will take place at a celebratory evening event on 23 May. Finalists from a group of 16 talented entrepreneurs will pitch their projects to the audience and the judging panel during the event.

You will have the chance to vote for your favourite and see the winner be announced following the judges' final decision. More opportunities to network will follow as the event draws to a close.

Location: Radisson Blu, Nairobi, Kenya
Dates: May 23 2017
Registration is free: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/africa-innovates-tickets-32888087154#tickets

Contact: africaprize@raeng.org.uk

Tags:  Africa  Entrepreneurship  Events  innovation  Kenya 

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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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Presenting the report Moving the Needle: Critical Success Factors for Scaling Asset Finance

Posted By Paula Rodriguez, InspiraFarms, Monday, October 17, 2016

A new report by Epven, with support from the Shell Foundation and the Small Foundation, explores the challenges and emerging solutions to scaling asset finance options for small and growing agribusinesses (SGBs) in developing countries.

 The investment opportunity in agribusiness assets in emerging economies runs into the billions of dollars. The social and environmental benefits that can be gained by reducing food losses, increasing employment and enterprise sustainability, as well as empowering women and rural communities, are equally significant.

 Despite this opportunity, most small-scale agribusinesses in developing countries lack access to reasonable financing options for acquiring such assets, falling into the “missing middle” and facing a combination of unrealistically high collateral requirements and unaffordable interest rates. It s estimated that formal financial institutions meet less than a sixth of the $200 billion in demand for financing from smallholder agribusiness globally.

 Asset financing is one form of finance that is quickly emerging as a promising new model with a growing number of providers diversifying into the sector. The report Moving the Needle: Critical Success Factors for Scaling Asset Finance examines the potential of asset finance to reverse this financing gap. Reflecting the first-hand experiences, innovations and perspectives of over 70 asset finance experts in Kenya, Guatemala, and India—the “coal-face” of the industry—the report highlights four critical success factors that drive scale in asset finance:  

1.     The asset must be liquid to act as its own collateral. There must be a market for the asset, and resale value must be measureable.

2.     SGBs must demonstrate their capability to effectively utilize the asset. The use of cash flows is recommended for the calculation of financial viability and creditworthiness.

3.     SGBs must have a stable and secure market for the expected outputs of the asset. Having secure contracts from buyers in the agricultural sector is a positive incentive for financial institutions and for securing a stable stream of revenues for SGB’s.

4.     Network organizations like ANDE, the GIIN and the Sustainable Food Lab support more and better ecosystem collaboration between technology companies, financial service providers and producers and buyers along the agricultural value chain.

The report summarizes key roles for the main actors of the asset finance ecosystem, followed by detailed recommendations for capacity developers, 2nd tier investors, donors, DFIs and foundations, technology companies, and the financial service providers at the coal face.

 

To read and download this report by Epven, with support from the Shell Foundation and the Small Foundation, please visit http://www.inspirafarms.com/articles-publications/

TITLE: Moving the Needle: Critical Success Factors for Scaling Asset Finance

Authors: Tim Chambers and Jack Luft

Contact Person: Tim Chambers (tchambers@epven.com)

 

 

 

Tags:  Access to Finance  Agriculture  ANDE Members  asset finance  farming  impact investing  impact investment  inclusive business  innovation  Investors  microfinance  post-harvest  small and growing agrobusiness  value addition 

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Join us: Unlikely Allies, July 5-6, Seattle

Posted By Elisabeth Cramer, Impact Hub, Thursday, June 9, 2016

Calling all urban innovators! Register now for Unlikely Allies: Future of Cities Festival in Seattle, Washington, USA, July 5-6, 2016.

Unlikely Allies is an annual two-day festival that takes place in a new city each year. We are expecting over 500 attendees from 80+ global cities, from across the US and from the greater Seattle community to gather for this event which will showcase the latest thinking, technology, best practices, innovations and ideas around the Future of Cities.

The international festival is hosted by the global Impact Hub network, and will include speakers such as Majora Carter of MGC Consulting LLC / Startup Box, Carol Coletta of the Kresge Foundation, and other thought leaders from organizations such as Change.org, MercyCorps, Microsoft, Nesta, the RSA, Techsoup, and WWF.

See this year's program and read more about the festival here!

Tags:  ANDE Members  entrepreneurship ecosystems  Impact Hub  innovation  sustainability  Training & Events 

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Career Accelerator: Social Innovation Management Fellowship - Call for Applications

Posted By Geraldine Hepp, Amani Institute, Monday, December 14, 2015
Updated: Monday, December 14, 2015

Change someone's life - share this opportunity for aspiring changemakers to join a global Fellowship and take their career to the next level! 

We have received some of our best applicants thanks to people like you, and we would love to see the power of our community once again - so we can find the changemakers who are looking to build the professional skills and global networks needed to lead change effectively.

You can learn more about our Post-Graduate Certificate in Social Innovation Management and its changed structure here
Amani Institute Graduates now have an exciting opportunity through our partnership with Lynn University, where our program counts 25% towards a new MBA in Social Innovation Management that can be completed both on campus or online.

The most effective way to share this is via direct 
recommendation and shouldn't take longer than 3 minutes of your time but could mean a life-changing opportunity for someone in your network.

Fellows who have benefitted most from this program have been:

  • Career-switchers
  • Recent Graduates
  • Social change sector professionals 

committed to taking their work to the next level. Selection criteria:

  • A University degree (undergrad or masters)
  • At least two years of practical experience (either working or volunteering)
  • Evidence of commitment to social change through your personal and/or professional life
  • Strong desire to develop yourself further both professionally and personally
  • Interest in gaining a further global perspective to your previous experiences

Find a sample text, an infographic and a video for you to pass on below but also feel free to directly nominate and connect us via Email, allowing for a no-strings attached conversation with someone you nominate as a potential Social Innovation Management Fellow

_____________________________________________________________________
Feel free to use the below infographic about the different phases of the program and the following sample text for easy sharing:

Dear [Name],

Considering your passion for meaningful work, I highly recommend Amani Institute'scutting-edge 10 month Post-Graduate Certificate in Social Innovation Management: 4 months field immersion in Kenya or Brazil, 10 professional skill-building courses taught by global experts, a customized apprenticeship, 3 inspiring field trips, 20+ like-minded classmates from around the world, and much more. 

In 10 months, expand your professional network, get global experience in how to tackle some of the toughest challenges, and learn how to change the world! Apply now: bit.ly/amani2016

Learn more about Amani Institute's partnership with Lynn University if you are interested in an MBA in Social Innovation Management herebit.ly/SocInnMBA

Application Deadline: January 11th, 2016
Program start: February 1st, 2016

Download File (PDF)

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Tags:  Base of the Pyramid  business training  capacity development  career in social changeSocial Entrepreneurship  CSR  diaspora  East Africa  education  emerging markets  fellowship  impact evaluation  innovation  Latin America  social entrepreneurship  social innovation  talent 

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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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