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Spread the Word: Stanford Seed is Seeking Applicants in Africa & India

Posted By Kendra Gladych, Stanford University, Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Stanford Seed is looking for high-potential CEOs or founders of companies and market-driven social enterprises based in Africa, India and Sri Lanka who are motivated for growth.

The Seed Transformation Program is an unconventional, high-touch learning experience that partners with entrepreneurs in emerging markets to build thriving enterprises that transform lives.

The application deadline is 15 June 2019.

Learn more about the program and access the application here.

Know someone who might be interested? Help us spread the word! Visit this online toolkit for easy ways to share the program with your network.

Tags:  Africa  Agribusiness  Agriculture  ANDE Africa  Business  digital economy  east africa  education  emerging market  emerging markets  energy  entrepreneurship  Fintech  High-Growth Entrepreneurship  India  India; ANDE members  Kenya  leadership  Liberia  professional development  Rwanda  Scale  scaling  smes  social enterprise  Social entrepreneurship  social impact  South Africa  Tanzania  Training  Uganda  West Africa  Women 

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Working with investors to develop proactive talent strategies

Posted By Rebecca Harrison, African Management Initiative, Thursday, March 21, 2019

Working with investors to develop proactive talent strategies 

Human capital is a key challenge for many SGBs. Getting and keeping the right team in place is critical to propel ventures to scale – yet founding teams often struggle to find the right fit. Many investors in African companies have tolAMI they want to focus more post-investment support on developing talent within their investee companies. But they often aren’t sure how to develop a talent strategy that cuts across their investment portfolio.

AMI hosted a roundtable discussion in Nairobi last month for around 30 early and growth stage investors into East Africa interested in adopting more proactive talent strategies for their portfolio companies. We shared 3 models we’ve seen used to provide post-investment human capital support, and hosted a candid discussion around what is and isn’t working.

AMI identified the following three broad buckets for ways to engage around talent at a portfolio company level. We heard from various investors, who shared how they are using different approaches to help their investee companies build out the teams they need to scale.

Three models:

Facilitative model   This could also be described as the ‘matchmaking’ model. The facilitative model is used when investors help companies understand their talent needs, identify and introduce them to quality providers, and then show them how to engage. The investor’s role here is primarily diagnostic and facilitative, and aims to support needs that are specific to each founding teams/organisation. Some investors are using TA funds to finance these interventions.

Examples: For AHL Ventures, talent is one of the main post-investment challenges that companies across their portfolio face. They often work with their companies on creating a talent plan or helping them directly acquire talent. They also refer investee companies to talent providers, where appropriate, using experience on what has worked with other portfolio companies to inform recommendations. For example, AMI has worked with AHL to train employees in several of their investee companies, including MKOPAPowerGenEthioChicken and Equity for Tanzania.

A different approach within the facilitative model was shared by CDC Groupwhich is developing an online directory for investee companies providing information on different human capital services available, including services specific to talent development – training, recruiting etc. CDC aims to make this directory available more broadly with the goal of also building the broader ecosystem (see supply-side model below).

Direct model The direct model differs from the facilitative model, as it works to identify a very clear need across the investor’s portfolio, instead of working on a case-by-case basis. This model is focused on solving a specific challenge, for example developing middle managers, hiring CFOs or working on enterprise sales. The goal is to offer a structured programme or intervention that cuts across the entire portfolio. This approach is becoming increasingly popular as investors deepen their understanding around critical talent challenges, and is often funded by a blend of investor/TA subsidy and direct payment by the company.

Examples: Acumen identified a need across its portfolio to strengthen middle management skills and build leadership bench strength below the executive team. They first partnered with AMI 3 years ago to develop cross-portfolio programmes for both middle and senior managers and now run at least one programme annually. Interestingly, Acumen started by subsidising the programmes significantly, but has gradually phased this out. Companies now pay directly, and many have worked this into their annual planning and budgeting processes.

Shell Foundation took a similarly direct approach, offering AMI management programmes to companies across its portfolio on a cost share basis, after identifying management skills as a cross-cutting need. In this case, Shell Foundation allowed companies to engage AMI on their own terms, but provided the cost-share to make this possible. More than 100 have continued to work with AMI on a fully commercial basis, demonstrating that investors can often play a catalytic role in demonstrating the value of human capital services to companies.

Finally, Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P) hosts a pan-African entrepreneurship club for its portfolio companies, where portfolio companies are invited to exchange ideas and debate on various issues including recruitment and retention. I&P also hosts seminars on specific topics of interest to entrepreneurs.

Supply-side support A small and growing group of investors are working to strengthen the ecosystem of human capital providers itself, either through grants and investments into supply-side players, or through experimentation with innovative sector-building models.

Examples: Shell Foundation is working with Argidius Foundation and Bluehaven to develop a Talent Facility to encourage and enable early-stage enterprises to invest in talent even when cash is constrained. Bluehaven, AHL and I&P have all invested directly into human capital providers such as AMI and Shortlist. And both Bluehaven and Argidius Foundation have provided grants to build the talent ecosystem more broadly.

Top learnings from investors:

Each of the 30 investors in attendance have several years of experience working in the impact investment sector in East Africa and globally, and shared openly about what they’ve learned around human capital. Here are a few high-level learnings

    • Investors can and should influence, and even incentivise, founding teams to focus on talent. Investors noted that founders themselves needed to be bought into human capital as a strategic priority. Investors can make their expectations clear in this regard, both before investment during diue diligence and after investment, at a board level.
    • Human capital is a core strategic priority not a ‘nice to have’ – is it on the agenda at board meetings? Many companies and investors agree that talent is important, but then spend their board meetings talking about fund-raising and sales targets. Investors who sit on boards can push talent issues up the agenda by asking the right questions around talent strategy.
    • Proactive talent strategy is more effective than reactive crisis management: Investors have seen talent challenges emerge when companies grow very quickly. Investors can encourage companies to get the right human capital systems and structures in place ahead of (or at least at the beginning) of a period of aggressive growth, and can share lessons learned from other portfolio companies.
    • Investors have seen key needs cut across portfolio companies. Some key themes emerged from the discussion – for the example the need to develop middle management, the shortage of strong CFO candidates and challenges with enterprise sales. However investors working at different stages of the investment cycle noted that different approaches are required for early-stage businesses versus more mature companies. Investors can benefit from sharing notes with others investing at a similar stage.
    • Due diligence should include a structured focus on management capacity & learning mindset. Many investors are being more intentional and structured about probing the management capacity of founding teams and their broader leadership. Some noted the importance of ensuring that entrepreneurs themselves have a learning mindset, and so are likely to build a learning culture across the organisation.
    • Start with simple interventions that work – A quick and easy way to start leveraging your experience as an investor to drive talent development is to introduce functional heads from within your own portfolio to each other. For example, introducing the head of marketing from two of your investee companies to each other is extremely beneficial for growth, learning and innovation.

We’d love to hear from any investors who have tried approaches not listed here. What’s worked for you? What are you still trying to figure out? Can we help?

AMI delivers a practical and scalable approach to workplace learning using a blended methodology that combines online courses with in-person workshops and practical hands-on application. AMI has rolled out 70 programmes across 13 African countries and directly trained over 26,000 people, including hundreds working at investor-backed growth companies. In 2019, AMI was named one of the Companies to Inspire Africa by the London Stock Exchange Group.

Tags:  Africa  capacity development  east africa  emerging markets  Human Capital  impact investing  impact investment  investors  smes  social enterprise  social impact  talent  Training & Events 

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Legal Workshop for social enterprises

Posted By Flavie Fuentes, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Monday, March 18, 2019
Updated: Monday, March 18, 2019

Are you a social enterprise with legal questions or concerns? If you are already a member of TrustLaw, the Thomson Reuters Foundation's global pro bono program, please join us on April 3, 2019 in NYC for lunch  for our Legal Health Check Workshop where you will be matched with expert lawyers from JP Morgan and Simpson Thacher who will be able to identify your legal needs through our TrustLaw Legal Health Check, and draft priority requests that determine the legal assistance needed. 

If you are not a TrustLaw member yet, please contact us at emily.donohoe@thomsonreuters.com to check your eligibility. 

Tags:  legal  Pro Bono  social enterprise  TrustLaw 

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Pact Ventures Launches Revamped Impact Investment Group

Posted By Katie Hallaran, Pact, Monday, December 10, 2018

Pact is excited to announce the launch of its revamped social investment team – Pact Ventures. Pact Ventures believes that markets and private capital can be incentivized to accelerate Pact’s development programs. We structure innovative financing and market-based mechanisms to magnify Pact’s social impact.

Through technical experience in investment banking, private equity, strategy, and social entrepreneurship, we’re integrating private sector perspectives to create tri-sector solutions for complex development challenges by leveraging public, private, and social capital.

Leading with a clean sheet approach, Pact Ventures accesses a wide spectrum of innovative financial and investment vehicles to finance our projects, deliberately matching outcomes risk with financial return. We leverage our impact investments to shift our relationship from donor-beneficiary to provider-customer. In so doing, we tap into economic forces to create market mechanisms that listen and adapt to the voices of our beneficiaries (now customers) in new, empowering ways through:

Outcomes-based and shared value partnerships:

  • Market-based incentives for responsible and traceable sourcing of minerals and gems
  • Access to bottom of the pyramid (BoP) financial products for community-based savings and loans groups

Direct investments in promising social enterprises:

  • Investment in solar home system manufacturer targeting BoP consumers
  • Joint venture with alternative BoP credit scoring and digital distribution services

Innovative business and delivery models for impact:

  • Distribution of solar home system partners to bring renewable energy to Pact’s beneficiaries
  • Workforce development platform for skills-based training and job placement 

We’d love to explore opportunities to collaborate and invite anyone interested in learning more to reach out to Brian Vo at bvo@pactworld.org.

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Tags:  Access to Finance  energy  health  impact investing  innovative finance  social enterprise  social impact 

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Need Help Identifying Your Organization’s Legal Needs? Find Out About TrustLaw’s Legal Health Check for Social Enterprises.

Posted By Flavie Fuentes, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Friday, October 19, 2018
Updated: Friday, October 19, 2018

Who we are? TrustLaw is the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global pro bono legal program, connecting the best law firms and corporate legal teams around the world with high-impact NGOs and social enterprises working to create social and environmental change. We help produce groundbreaking legal research and offer innovative training courses worldwide. We also provide a legal training for social enterprises and impact investing that focuses on legal issues and trends in the burgeoning social innovation sector, and provides lawyers with the skills and knowledge they need to advise clients. We have supported grassroots organizations to employ their first staff members, helped vulnerable women access loans to start their first businesses and brought renewable energy lighting to slums. We are the largest global pro bono network with almost 5,000 members across more than 175 countries. We work with hundreds of legal teams representing over 120,000 lawyers who generously provide free legal support to thousands of NGOs and social enterprises.

What is the Legal Health Check and How Does it Work? Every year, TrustLaw receives and reviews hundreds of legal questions from our NGO and social enterprise members around the world and connects these organizations to pro bono lawyers who provide free expert advice and assistance. Drawing on our experience, TrustLaw has developed a Legal Health Check to assist NGOS and social enterprises identify some of their operational legal needs. While it includes the questions most frequently asked by our members, it is not a complete list of legal issues. The Legal Health Check will help you identify legal matters that are relevant to your organization and issues that you might need help with. Take a look at the Legal Health Check for more information here.

Interested in Becoming a Member of TrustLaw? If you would like to apply to become a member of TrustLaw, you can complete our application form on our website at http://www.trust.org/trustlaw/ and make sure to tell us that you are also an ANDE member!

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Tags:  Access to Finance  ANDE Members  ANDE publication  Impact investing  Legal Working Group  Pro Bono  social enterprise  Social entrepreneurship  social impact 

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FINCA International Launches FINCA Ventures, an Early-Stage Impact Investor

Posted By Michael Leen, FINCA International, Wednesday, August 22, 2018

ANDE Member and global microfinance pioneer FINCA International has announced the launch of FINCA Ventures, an impact investing platform that provides patient capital and pre- and post-investment support to help early-stage social enterprises achieve growth and scale.

FINCA Ventures aims to accelerate the growth of social enterprises developing goods that align with FINCA’s charitable mission, thus fostering a market for affordable, high-quality and life-improving products and services for low-income families.

Over the past 18 months, FINCA Ventures has invested in six social enterprises serving emerging market customers, including Amped Innovation, BioLite, Eneza Education, Good Nature Agro, Ignitia and Sanivation. The investment profile for FINCA Ventures spans energy, WASH, education, health, agriculture and fintech, with a geographic focus on sub-Saharan Africa.

For more information, visit www.FINCAVentures.com

or contact Ami.Dalal@FINCA.org and Alex.Evangelides@FINCA.org

 

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Tags:  ANDE Members  BOP  impact investing  social enterprise 

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Social Enterprise Franchising Webinar

Posted By Stage Six, Friday, April 6, 2018
https://www.unh.edu/social-innovation/social-sector-franchising-initiative-webinar-1

Register for this webinar about using franchising to scale SGBs here:  https://www.unh.edu/social-innovation/social-sector-franchising-initiative-webinar-1?platform=hootsuite

 

Social Sector Franchising Initiative 2018 Webinar Series

 

Replication and Scaling for Impact: What are the options?
Does Social Franchising have a competitive advantage?  


 

Image of Family at a Supply Hope MarketWednesday, April 11, 2018 
10:00 a.m.  - 11:00 a.m. (-5 GMT)
Online 

 

 

 

 

In this first webinar of the Social Sector Franchise Initiative 2018 Webinar series we will explore a variety of issues and questions about scaling social enterprises. There is an urgent need to scale promising social enterprises that can meet vital human needs. But are we making headway in identifying the most effective pathways to scale? What do we know about the various options for scaling social enterprises, in terms of their relative abilities to reach significant numbers of customers while holding true to their social mission? Why do many social enterprises fail to scale?  What are the roles of industry facilitators and service providers in enabling scale? We often assume scaling equals replication—what are other routes to scale?

Reaching scale can be challenging and some research says fewer than 1 percent of startups scale. This is due to many factors including: the team and leadership’s ability to manage scale; the enterprise’s business model and technology readiness; fit in new territories; and access to or quality of funding and partnerships.  Organizations often use several strategies, depending on opportunities and geographic differences. Does this complicate scale, or does this help the enterprise adapt in new markets? 

What about social sector franchising as a potential gamechanger for scaling social enterprise? Franchising enables a business to grow exponentially while maintaining standards and achieving economies of scale. Franchising drives economic development by increasing opportunities for jobs and business ownership, and creating pipelines of social enterprises capable achieving higher returns for impact investors.  Franchising   has   an advantage when the business model, technology, and market changes little. It also helps with the uptake of business models by aspiring entrepreneurs. Yet, could there be challenges for franchising when scaling requires more changes?

Bill Maddocks our webinar moderator will explore these issues and more with our four guests who represent a wide range of experience in scaling and replicating social enterprises around the world.

 


 

Webinar Guests:
 

Image of EmmaEmma Colenbrander
Emma is the director of a new initiative at Practical Action that is coordinating a wide range of distribution models to coordinate learning and look for economies of scale. The Global Distributors Collective (GDC) is a partnership-based model that acts as a ‘one stop shop’ for last mile businesses, offering support, information and expertise to overcome the challenges of accessing life-changing technologies. It provides a collective voice for distributors to ensure their voice is heard; drives research and innovation across the sector; facilitates the exchange of information, insight and expertise; and helps pilot, test and scale innovative solutions.

Image of NeilNeal Harrison 
Neal A. Harrison is Associate Director of the Replication Initiative at Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship. In this role, Neal is focused on scaling-out business models and technologies by developing sector-specific playbooks to spread best practices, as well as supporting entrepreneurs design their scaling strategy. He has over 10 years of experience building start-ups and leading innovation projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, North America, and Europe.

 

Image of DavidDavid Koch 
David Koch is a partner and co-founder of Plave Koch PLC, a boutique law firm focused on franchising, licensing, and branded distribution. He has over 25 years of experience with clients in foodservice, hotels, educational services, entertainment events, veterinary, staffing, car rental, homeowner services, retail, and other industries. His work involves structuring franchise and license programs, supply chain arrangements, private equity investments in franchising, corporate and commercial transactions, regulatory compliance, antitrust counseling, and cross-border expansion.

David holds an adjunct faculty appointment with the International Transactions Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School, his alma mater, and serves in a similar but informal capacity with the International Transactions Clinic at NYU School of Law. He has spoken at numerous franchise legal and business conferences, including programs in Japan, India, Guatemala, Poland, Romania, England and Canada, and he has authored or co-authored more than 40 published articles and conference papers. Before entering private practice, he was an Attorney-Advisor to the Chairman of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
 

Image of JulieJulie McBride
Julie is a thought leader in the field of social franchising and was recently named one of “Five Innovative Consultants that are changing the world” in Inc. Magazine.  Julie’s experience using the franchise model to scale social businesses spans 20 years, five continents, and several industries including healthcare, water, sanitation, agribusiness, clean energy, and education.  She was instrumental in designing and operating PSI’s pioneering reproductive health franchise in Pakistan (Green Star) and supported the expansion of social franchises into 27 additional countries.  As a franchise consultant at MSA Worldwide Julie helped social business owners and NGOs design and execute franchise systems.  In her most recent venture as founder and CEO of Stage Six LLC, Julie is building and supporting a portfolio of investment-ready social franchises across a range of sectors and geographies. Her efforts to inform and inspire potential actors in this field have included several high profile speaking engagements and publications.  Julie earned her Masters in Public Health from New York University and her Bachelor of Science from the University of Washington. 

Tags:  replication  scaling  Sector Trends  social enterprise  social entrepreneurship  social franchisingsocial entrepreneurship 

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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

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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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SKOLL ECOSYSTEM EVENT - STREET BUSINESS SCHOOL

Posted By Amy Yanda-Lee, BeadforLife, Saturday, March 24, 2018

THE ART OF SOCIAL FRANCHISING * SKOLL WORLD FORUM - ECOSYSTEM EVENT

Thursday, April 12 - 4:00 PM @ The One Pub

There is growing interest in using social franchising in the global development sector as a means to scale:
• NGOs see franchising as a way to add proven program to their work without reinventing the wheel.
• Donors see franchising as a tool to reduce the costs of each group having to invent their own program.
• Groups/Organizations with a proven and scalable model use social franchising to develop an earned income stream to lessen their dependence on philanthropic funding.

Join us over a pint as we examine social franchising with a case study on how to scale impact of a program proven to alleviate poverty. Through aligned partnerships, Street Business School (SBS) shares how it has successfully scaled its proven model of entrepreneurial education for women living in poverty from Uganda to seven countries across East Africa within the past two years. This example of social franchising has operationalized through funder and NGO partnerships in which locally led organizations are joining a movement to achieve ambitious global impact.

Come with your questions, ideas and experience to this highly interactive session. We will rely on YOU, the audience, to ponder the challenges, surprises, and greatest opportunities that exist in social franchising. We will also hear from panelists who have experience using Street Business School’s franchise model to magnify their own impact. Panelists include:
• Segal Family Foundation CEO Andy Bryant who will share how Segal leverages the partnership with SBS to scale impact while supporting other Segal grantees and grassroots led organizations.
• Street Business School CEO Devin Hibbard who can speak to the strategy of social franchising and the execution of this specific case and these strategic partnerships.
• Dandelion Africa Executive Director Wendo Aszed who can speak to the franchise customization process as she is currently implementing SBS in Dandelion’s community as both a Segal grantee and an SBS Global Catalyst Partner (franchisee).
• Fourth panelist – to be announced at Skoll World Forum
• Moderator, Joahim Ewechu Street Business School Board member and Founder of Unreasonable Institute East Africa.

Refreshment and gifts provided at 4:00. Come early for a drink and chance to network. The panel will begin at 4:15. Thank you to Segal Family Foundation, Moxie Foundation and Street Business School for their fiscal sponsorship of this event.

 

Tags:  social enterprise  Social entrepreneurship  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.


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