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SEAF Launches Gender Equality Scorecard ©

Posted By Robert Webster, Small Enterprise Assistance Funds (SEAF), Monday, August 27, 2018

SEAF Launches Gender Equality Scorecard ©

 

Washington, D.C. (August 27, 2018)

 

SEAF, the emerging market impact investing firm, has announced the launch of its proprietary Gender Equality Scorecard (“GES”), which will be a vital tool to support the promotion and achievement of women’s economic empowerment and gender equality in SEAF’s global investments.  The GES is initially being piloted in SEAF’s investments in Southeast Asia and it is expected to be used eventually across SEAF’s world-wide, impact investing platform.

                               

Jennifer Buckley, SEAF Senior Managing Director, stated, “SEAF’s Gender Equality Scorecard is launched with the conviction that those firms that realize internal gender equality in terms of compensation, leadership and other factors are superior financial performers and powerful drivers of women’s economic empowerment.  In this way, SEAF sees enormous potential in using the GES to create shared value for women, investors and entrepreneurs.”

 

SEAF’s Gender Equality Scorecard will assess potential and existing SEAF investees on gender equality, scoring across six key gender equality vectors:  pay equity, leadership and governance, workforce participation, benefits and professional development, workplace environment, and women-powered value chains.  These assessments will identify opportunities to improve gender equality and hence guide SEAF’s critical post-investment value creation work.

 

The Scorecard was born out of SEAF’s current gender lens investing initiative, the SEAF Women’s Opportunity Fund.  This Fund was launched in partnership with the Investing in Women (“IW”) initiative of the Australian government and focuses on women-led/owned businesses in Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia.  The Criterion Institute, the gender lens investing think tank and an IW partner, has played a critical role in GES’ development.

 

“SEAF’s Gender Equality Scorecard represents an exciting and innovative development to advance gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in the impact investing space,” explained Joy Anderson, President and Founder, Criterion Institute. “We are delighted to partner with SEAF and look forward to the GES’ continued development and influence.”

 

Bob Webster, SEAF Managing Director, said, “The Gender Equality Scorecard is the next key step in our gender lens investing journey and we look forward to working with our partners, including future stakeholders such as asset managers and academic institutions, in assessing its validity and improving it over time.  After its pilot use in the SEAF Women’s Opportunity Fund, its use will be expanded to SEAF’s next generation of gender lens investing initiatives, which are currently under development.”

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Tags:  creating shared value  emerging market  financial inclusion  gender equality  impact investing  impact investment  inclusive business  innovation  womenCreating Shared Value  women's economic empowerment 

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African Management Initiative releases impact report: A scalable model that is transforming organisations and empowering thousands of small businesses

Posted By Rebecca Harrison, African Management Initiative, Thursday, June 21, 2018

Does talent development for SGBs really work? Talent has been on the SGB agenda for several years now, but the evidence base around impact, RoI, what works and why, has been thin. The African Management Initiative (AMI) has released its 2017 impact report, and for the first time, has generated data that starts to demonstrate a direct link between skills development in SGBs, and bottom-line business performance. The report demonstrates how a disruptive and scalable approach to learning has helped companies strengthen their teams and empowered thousands of small businesses, demonstrating real impact and return on investment for talent-forward SGBs. Dive into our impact data and read inspiring stories to learn more about our programmes for entrepreneurs, employees, managers and youth, and for reflections on what's working, and what can be improved.

 AMI in Numbers

The African Management Initiative is a social enterprise delivering Africa’s first scalable solution for workplace learning. AMI transforms African organizations, and empowers entrepreneurs, managers, entry-level workers and job-seekers through practical and affordable learning tools. At the end of 2017, AMI had trained almost 18,000 individuals through structured blended learning programmes in 11 African countries, including around 14,000 entrepreneurs. To date, a total of 55,000 individuals have engaged with the AMI online platform, and have downloaded over 1 million tools. In 2017, AMI expanded its portfolio, working with large intermediaries to serve thousands of entrepreneurs, while continuing to run management and leadership programmes directly with larger businesses, and organisations in health, education, and civil society.

For the first time this year, AMI generated data proving that its programmes not only help build the skills of the individual participants who take them, but also drive the business performance of organisations. This is a game changer in demonstrating how talent links with SGB performance, and in proving the RoI for developing people. AMI data showed that 92% of client leads saw improvements in management and leadership skills among their employees with 100% of clients saying business improved after they ran AMI learning programmes with their employees. Of those, 92% reported an improvement in operating efficiency and 92% reported improved customer satisfaction. As Richard Branson said, look after your staff, and your staff will look after your customers… Interestingly, investing in even just a small group of managers seemed to have a ripple effect more broadly on company culture, with 92% of clients reporting improved productivity across the whole company and 96% reporting improved engagement.

As well as running management and leadership programmes with the staff of growing and established businesses, AMI also reaches thousands of SMEs and entrepreneurs through partnerships with intermediaries – including many ANDE members. The report indicates that 100% of entrepreneurs who completed a post-programme survey saw a change in their business after engaging with AMI. Of these, 75% reported an improvement in revenue, 73% increased profit, 50% created new jobs and 35% secured debt or equity funding. All of them attributed that change at least partly to the AMI programme. To support SMEs and entrepreneurs even further, AMI has designed a new Grow Your Business programme, which aims to provide scalable business development support by giving SMEs the tools and support they need to embed good business practices into their companies. This programme is being tested rigorously through a Randomised Control Trial with a team of researchers at MIT. Watch this space for more data from this study later in the year.

 Read the full 2017 report to dig deeper into AMI’s current impact data and see what partners and clients are saying about the impact of the training programmes. 

VIEW THE FULL REPORT

 

 

Tags:  accelerators  Africa  East Africa  entrepreneurship  impact measurement  innovation  SGBs; accelerators; East Africa  Skills Gap  small and growing businesses impact investing  social entrepreneurship  sustainability  talent  Training 

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GroFin - Transforming SGBs in Africa & the Middle East

Posted By Shailen Neewoor, GroFin, Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Updated: Friday, June 15, 2018

Gain a deeper understanding of how GroFin, through its unique investment model in SGBs, is positively transforming small and growing businesses and the local communities they support. The inspiring success stories of its entrepreneurs exemplify the collaborative efforts of GroFin staff, investors, partners and clients. The 2017 GroFin Impact Report, Nomou Impact Report and Aspire Impact Report translates its faith in the power of the collective by asking the question “If not us, who? If not today, when? If not with our finance and support, how will these small businesses grow and succeed?”

2017 GroFin Impact Report

As at end 2017, GroFin has financed 675 small and growing businesses, supported 8,840 entrepreneurs, sustained a total of 86,190 jobs and touched the lives of 430,955 family members in the local communities across our 15 locations of operation in Africa and the Middle East. The report indicates that GroFin has made more investments in its priority sectors of education, healthcare, agribusiness, manufacturing and key services. Furthermore, GroFin invested US$ 60M in nearly 88 new small and growing businesses, with over 50% of the SMEs operating directly in our sectors of focus, sustaining 14,000 total jobs and supporting an additional 72,000 livelihoods. And to reinforce its value proposition of providing 'support beyond finance' the company introduced the GroFin STEP (Success through Effective Partnerships) Programme to support its SMEs and Entrepreneurs.

2017 Nomou Impact Report

The Nomou Programme is a regional initiative in MENA which was co-created by GroFin and Shell Foundation. As a result of the collaborative efforts of its investors, partners and clients, the Nomou programme is contributing to the alleviation of poverty and improvement of livelihoods in the communities where the programme operates, as well as striving to reduce the adverse impact of the humanitarian crisis in the region.

In 2017, the Nomou Programme supported 1,005 entrepreneurs, made investments into 103 SGBs, sustained a total of 10,287 jobs, touched the lives of 51,435 beneficiaries and added economic value of US$ 149 million per annum through its investee SMEs across Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Oman.

2017 Aspire Impact Report

Since their inception in 2014, the Aspire Small Business Fund (ASBF) and the Aspire Growth Fund (AGF) have sought to promote local entrepreneurship, employment and economic value-add in the Niger Delta. With the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) as anchor investor, the Aspire Enterprise Development Funds epitomise GroFin, a private development finance institution, and SPDC’s efforts to serve the local community with a combination of investment funds, business skills and market linkages.

In 2017 GroFin increased its commitment to supporting SMEs in the Niger Delta Region by investing in an additional 17 small and growing businesses and extending further funding of US$ 2.5M (140% increase from total amount invested as at end 2016). As at end of 2017, GroFin has supported 365 businesses, invested in 53 SMEs and sustained a total of 1,975 jobs under the Aspire Funds.

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Tags:  2017  A Access to Finance  Access to Finance  Africa  Agriculture  ANDE Africa  ANDE Members  Base of the Pyramid  Business  business training  capacity development  DGGF  East Africa  education  finance  impact  impact investing  impact investing; gender lens investing; gender; w  impact investment  impact measurement  innovation  Investors  Kenya  MENA  missing middle  Philanthropy; impact investing  Private sector development  Rwanda  SDGs  SGB  SGBs  SGBs; accelerators; East Africa  SGBs; Environment; accelerators; energy  SGBs; West Africa; Senegal; Africa; MENA; Entrepre  small and growing agrobusiness  smes  social impact  South Africa  sustainability  sustainable development  Tanzania  Training  Uganda  West Africa 

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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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