Region
Sub-Saharan Africa

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"This knowledge brief seeks to capture the key takeaways from the recent series of three Impact Measurement and Management (IMM) Learning Labs hosted by the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs, South Africa Chapter (ANDE SA) in partnership with the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation. These learning labs explore the importance of understanding impact in context, engaging multiple stakeholders to ensure appropriate contextual perception and the need to guarantee accurate reporting and impact measurement. This enables greater transparency in the data collection process, improved ability to interrogate assumptions leading to greater data-driven decision making to appropriately measure ones’ impact – be it at an intervention or organisational level."

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Currently there are over 500 townships in the South Africa, whose combined land mass surpasses that of Johannesburg and Durban combined and which are home to an estimated 40% of South Africa’s urban population. While more is understood about the small and growing businesses (SGBs) in metropolitan areas, less is known about the entrepreneurial ecosystems in the townships and how to support the primarily micro, necessity-based businesses that operate there. This report focuses on identifying the key actors implementing programmes to support entrepreneurs and small businesses operating in townships in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, and Western Cape Provinces, the challenges the entrepreneurial support providers face, and the opportunities to strengthen this ecosystem.

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This paper investigates to what extent and how micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries are adapting to climate risks. We use a questionnaire survey to collect data from 325 SMEs in the semi-arid regions of Kenya and Senegal and analyze this information to estimate the quality of current adaptation measures, distinguishing between sustainable and unsustainable adaptation. We then study the link between these current adaptation practices and adaptation planning for future climate change. We find that financial barriers are a key reason why firms resort to unsustainable adaptation, while general business support, access to information technology and adaptation assistance encourages sustainable adaptation responses. Engaging in adaptation today also increases the likelihood that a firm is preparing for future climate change. The finding lends support to the strategy of many development agencies who use adaptation to current climate variability as a way of building resilience to future climate change. There is a clear role for public policy in facilitating good adaptation. The ability of firms to respond to climate risks depends in no small measure on factors such as business environment that can be shaped through policy intervention.

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Is there a gender gap in financing Africa’s early-stage ventures? And are there differences between female and male founders—such as the sectors they choose, or the ambitions they have—that could explain divergent funding paths? As start-up financing in Africa keeps climbing to new records, these questions are becoming more urgent. To find answers, we leveraged Briter Bridges’ leading industry platform to comb through years of deal flow data and surveyed a random sample of 172 entrepreneurs operating across the continent.

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"Over the last decade, the maturation of the business landscape has opened new opportunities in Africa, especially the entry of accelerator and incubator programs (AIPs). These AIPs are consistently adapting their models to respond to the ever-changing needs of the ventures they support, and there is a need for existing literature to keep abreast with this dynamism in order to strengthen programming and the ecosystems in which AIPs operate. This knowledge brief explores characteristics of AIPs in East Africa, focusing specifically on Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. It highlights existing practices and perceptions among AIPs to better establish a common understanding of the current AIP landscape, best practices, and key challenges."

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"The question of if and how business support programmes – particularly accelerators and incubators – can play a role in entrepreneurial growth in South Africa is at top of mind for donors and government alike. And while there is some evidence that these programmes do have an impact on early-stage businesses, there is less clarity on how they can best serve the needs of often-overlooked women entrepreneurs. This brief provides a regional review of the intersection of gender and acceleration in South Africa, drawing on GALI’s global findings while highlighting primary analysis of entrepreneur data collected by Catalyst for Growth (C4G), a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) platform for programme monitoring, analytics, and reporting in South Africa."

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"The Adaptation SME Accelerator Program (ASAP) aims to enhance the availability and uptake of climate adaptation solutions by identifying, engaging and empowering SMEs providing such solutions in developing countries."

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"Why do more small firms in developing countries not use the market for professional business services like accounting, marketing, and human resource specialists? Two key reasons maybe that firms lack information about the availability of these services, and that they struggle to distinguish the quality of good versus bad providers. A brand recognition exercise finds that most small firms are unaware of most providers in this market, and a survey of service providers reveals that they largely rely on word-of-mouth and informal reputation mechanisms for acquiring customers. This study set up a business services marketplace that contains information about the different providers present in the market and used mystery shopper visits to develop a quality ratings system. A randomized experiment with more than 1,000 firms provided access to this marketplace to the treatment group and randomized whether firms received just information or also quality ratings. The provision of quality ratings information shifts small firms’ preferences over which provider they would like to use, increasing the average quality rating of their preferred providers by 0.2 to 0.4 ratings points out of 5. However, neither the provision of information nor these quality ratings had any significant impact on the likelihood that small firms go on to hire a business service provider over the subsequent six months. The results suggest that alleviating information frictions alone is insufficient to increase usage of professional business services."

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"Many small firms lack the finance and marketing skills needed for firm growth. The standard approach in many business support programs is to attempt to train the entrepreneur to develop these skills, through classroom-based training or personalized consulting. However, rather than requiring the entrepreneur to be a jack-of-all-trades, an alternative is to move beyond the boundary of the entrepreneur and link firms to these skills in a marketplace through insourcing workers with functional expertise or outsourcing tasks to professional specialists. A randomized experiment in Nigeria tests the relative effectiveness of these four different approaches to improving business practices. Insourcing and outsourcing both dominate business training; and do at least as well as business consulting at one-half of the cost. Moving beyond the entrepreneurial boundary enables firms to use higher quality digital marketing practices, innovate more, and achieve greater sales and profits growth over a two-year horizon."

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"This guide is intended for entrepreneurs and investors new to the process of negotiating term sheets, one of the first steps to close successful transactions. It is not intended to provide legal advice; instead it is meant to show examples of some common provisions that are not always easy to understand."

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