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ANDE Catalyst Fund 2016

Announcing the 2016 ANDE Catalyst Fund Winners

The goal of the ANDE Catalyst Fund -- formerly known as the Capacity Development Fund -- is to increase the productivity and effectiveness of ANDE members, while creating tools and insights that can help the small and growing business (SGB) sector as a whole.


This year’s winners have developed solutions to increase women’s access to finance using data and technology, and developed creative ways to support invention-based entrepreneurship initiatives. Five grants totaling $244,000 will be disbursed with support from S&P Global and The Lemelson Foundation. Winners were selected based on their alignment with the goals of the fund, as well as clarity of the proposal, feasibility, capacity, and potential for broad and deep impact.


“We are so pleased to partner with the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs again this year on the Catalyst Fund. Invention and entrepreneurship are central to our mission, and we are eager to bring this lens to new geographies and with new partners supporting hardware-based businesses in emerging markets,” said Carol Dahl, executive director of The Lemelson Foundation.


“The ANDE Catalyst Fund is a unique approach to investing in entrepreneurship. We’re most impressed with the creative ideas proposed by ANDE members including el Buen Socio and Value for Women, Enclude, and Kiva, to address the critical gaps in women’s access to finance. We look forward to seeing how each grantee leverages data and technology to ensure women-owned small businesses are on the right growth trajectory,” said Courtney Geduldig, Executive Vice President, Public Affairs at S&P Global.


The following programs are the 2016 ANDE Catalyst Fund Recipients:

Trends in Guatemala reveal an entrepreneurial environment fueled by necessity rather than opportunity. To address this challenge, Alterna: INCUBA seeks to stimulate new small businesses or strengthen existing ones that address social and environmental problems by investing in local talent. The program aims to create a stronger ecosystem by providing high-quality support and early-stage investment options for twenty invention-based entrepreneurs over twelve months. INCUBA is managed by Alterna with support from the National Council of Science and Technology (CONCYT) and San Carlos University in Guatemala.

The World Bank estimates that 70 percent of women-owned small and medium enterprises in emerging market economies are underserved by financial institutions. To enhance the loan application process and even the playing field for women business owners applying for financing, el Buen Socio and Value for Women will test the effectiveness of a psychometric scoring process for borrowers. Alternative credit risk assessments that diminish reliance on collateral will disproportionately impact women; as women’s limited access to collateral, assets and property in Latin America often affects their ability to successfully access loans. Based on new technology and research, this program will test psychometric scoring as a method for assessing risk that can lead to increasing credit worthiness of women, and improve their chances of getting access to SGB finance.


The credit gap is one of the most problematic constraints for women entrepreneurs seeking to scale their SGBs. With the understanding that the best informed banks will provide the best service to women entrepreneurs, Enclude plans to conduct a six-month pilot of its Gender Benchmarking Tool with partner financial intuitions. The tool combines a scorecard assessment of performance, with a graphical analysis of women entrepreneurs’ practices and preferences in select regional and national markets. The key innovation is a new software design that mines public data to deliver tailored benchmarking for financial institutions against local market realities. Armed with this new data, Enclude believes that it has the potential to scale globally, changing the way banks finance women-owned small businesses.  

The Kiva database spans 2 million people from more than 80 countries who have borrowed nearly $900 million dollars through their platform. With the help of the ANDE Catalyst Fund, Kiva will leverage its data to create new insight about women entrepreneurship and their access to capital. Specifically, Kiva will extensively enhance its database to gender-disaggregate its data based on key loan attributes for providing finance to women and provide analytic insights into the borrowing patterns, success rates and experience of women entrepreneurs reached through their network. Ultimately, the findings from these enhanced analytics will help Kiva shift millions of dollars in financing toward institutions serving women-led small businesses in innovative ways and change the way institutions view entrepreneurs.


To further support the development of a technically trained and skilled labor force in Cambodia, Synergy Social Ventures will partner with Swisscontact and TRYBE Makerspace. The project’s goal is to create the supportive infrastructure needed to facilitate and expedite impact invention and entrepreneurship for underserved populations and the agricultural sector in Cambodia. This pilot initiative seeks to address the main SGB challenges by building a stronger and more collaborative ecosystem and providing the facilities and training to enable impact inventors to develop products and commercially viable businesses. This project will leverage existing programs, and if successful, Synergy would like to further expand this inventor-entrepreneur support ecosystem to other sectors in Cambodia and other countries in Southeast Asia.

The ANDE Catalyst Fund was launched in 2009 with $1,000,000 in seed funding from The Lemelson Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Shell Foundation. Since then, more than $2.5 million has been disbursed to 39 member organizations and the grant-making facility has been replenished with funds from Citi Foundation, MasterCard Worldwide, and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women, and S&P Global.