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"The evidence is indisputable: high-growth scaling ventures are game changers. Scale-ups are the ventures that:

Create the vast majority of new jobs in an economy;
Generate the most value in the form of financial, economic and social returns;
Drive innovation and shape ecosystems;
Incubate and develop talent pipelines; and
Spawn the next generation of thriving scale-ups and the experienced entrepreneurs that create them.

Africa needs more startups that transition to scale. Many more.

But scaling is rare. And difficult. All the more so in sub-Saharan Africa, where large populations do not equate to large addressable markets, necessitating very early (and risky) expansion into new markets in search of the critical mass of customers needed to raise funding and scale a business.

Whilst there are some universal scaling principles that can and should be applied, there isn’t a formula for scaling. Because it isn’t pure science. On the contrary, scaling is predominantly an art: a unique blend of inputs, decisions and actions that is different for each scaling business."

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"This knowledge brief captures key takeaways from six learning lab meetings about practical ways to measure decent work and job quality in the small and growing business (SGB) sector, facilitated by The Good Economy.

The learning lab emphasized the importance of practical measurement solutions and conceptual clarity when measuring decent work. This report seeks to provide an overview of the content discussed, useful resources, and global best practices shared during each of the learning lab meetings."

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"After more than two years of living with the acute challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the small and growing business (SGB) sector is now facing a longer-term reality that affects not only business operations but also how these businesses measure and communicate their impact. The SGB sector is at a critical junction in the pandemic where organizations need to reflect on how hastily crafted impact measurement and management (IMM) solutions may or may not fit into their longer-term IMM strategy.

For these reasons, the purpose of this brief is to:

Highlight the unique IMM challenges faced by Sub-Saharan African SGBs due to COVID-19;
Guide entrepreneurial ecosystem builders in adapting their IMM systems within the context of the new COVID-19 reality; and
Provide tailored resources to enable entrepreneurial ecosystem builders to further adapt their IMM systems to best support entrepreneurs in the «new abnormal.»"

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Extant research results illustrate that women are roughly half as likely to become entrepreneurs as men (Kauffman Compilation: Research on Gender and Entrepreneurship, 2016). However, women may see themselves fit in traditionally male jobs when the language used in the job advertisement is communal in nature (Gaucher, 2011), and vice versa. To empirically test this idea, the authors first sought to understand if there were any gender biases in the accelerators’ calls for applications using a validated scale of masculine and feminine words. They found a higher percentage of feminine words across most regions, which is in the opposite direction of what was expected. Second, the authors manipulated the language used in an accelerator program call for application (1) with the percentage of gendered words found from the accelerators on the ANDE list (3-4%) and (2) an exaggerated percentage of gendered words (9%), to see how it affected women and men’s perceptions of the accelerator program. In general, men in the U.S. express high entrepreneurial fit, sense of belonging, and application success possibly because the U.S. is high on both individualism and masculinity on Hoefstede’s country culture dimensions. However, women in Latin America report results that are opposite to men in the United States.

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"The report "Impact Investments in Brazil – 2020", carried out by ANDE in partnership with the Aliança por Investimentos e Negócios de Impacto, Instituto Clima e Sociedade, Fundação Grupo Boticário and with the support of Wright Capital, captures the characteristics of the sector of impact investing in Brazil in the year 2020, based on a sample of 38 impact investors active in the region. The report provides an overview of where and how capital is being allocated and identifies the challenges facing the ecosystem, as well as addressing topics such as gender equity and assessing climate risks and opportunities for portfolios."

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"Swisscontact and Startup Heatmap Europe have joined forces to develop a self-serving toolkit that empowers startup hubs all around the world to measure the health of their ecosystems. The toolkit supports managers of startup programs, university incubators, research transfer organizations, ecosystem builders and policy makers to track the progress of their ecosystem build-up. End-users are empowered to use the toolkit to source data in their home ecosystems, enter them in an interactive dashboard and based on the outcomes, and identify recommended fields of action."

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"Taking advantage of China’s 2017 free trade zone (FTZ) program introduced in 15 cities, we adopt the difference-in-difference techniques to evaluate the effectiveness of FTZ policies in encouraging entrepreneurship. Our econometric analysis suggests that they have moderately motivated start-up businesses, evidenced by higher growth of company registrations. The impact was only seen in 2017
but not in any subsequent years. Moreover, the policies haven’t had a clear positive impact on individual firms’ business sizes. The Chinese government hasn’t released any estimation for the costs of FTZ programs, but we expect their economic return to be meager. Therefore, we would suggest not expanding the program further; instead, the government should address the pressing issues that
suppress business activities."

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"In 2019, ANDE announced an exciting partnership with USAID and the Visa Foundation to launch the ANDE Gender Equality Initiative (AGEI), which aims to support women as leaders, employees, and consumers in the emerging market SGB sector. As a pilot project under AGEI, each of ANDE’s eight regional chapters hosted a 9-12 month Gender Equality Action Lab. ANDE’s Action Lab uses a participatory design process in which a group of regional stakeholders, with deep and diverse experience and expertise on an issue, gather to define problems and then create and test potential solutions together."

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"Through the support of Advancing Women’s Empowerment Fund driven by Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Property Point developed an Access to Finance Guide. The aim of the guide is to address the obstacles that prevent access to finance for WSGBs. One of the key elements of the project entails to equip you as a female entrepreneur with relevant information as you embark on your funding journey. In consultation with funding experts and other stakeholders, we have been able to compile this useful guide to assist entrepreneurs when applying for funding."

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"This guide for financial and business development services providers is designed to help you, as a company or individual providing services to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), to be more gender-inclusive in your work. Applying a gender lens to your approach and offerings will, without doubt, improve your service delivery to women entrepreneurs, your own business outcomes and the communities where you work. With this guide you will learn about the benefits of targeting women entrepreneurs and women-led businesses and how to tailor products and service delivery to them. We give you step-by-step guidance for how to begin to incorporate gender-inclusive strategies into your content and delivery of services, helping you to set the foundations for better overall impact and effectiveness."

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