Last year, the pandemic made the ability to shift operations online even more pressing, and often a matter of business survival. Digitalization is crucial to provide support to entrepreneurs globally through training, mentorship, networking opportunities and other services.
The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) releases new research on organizations that promote entrepreneurship and support rural MSMEs. Each snapshot provides local data on available services and most needed support, with additional insights regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), a global network working to advance emerging market entrepreneurship, recently partnered with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) to support a set of partnerships explicitly designed to help small and growing businesses (SGBs) improve their own approaches to collecting and using data on gender to increase their impact. These projects were more than an exercise in changing perspectives. Instead, we collectively and purposefully attempted to “flip the script” toward empowering business owners and managers with the agency and tools to harness their data – not for the researcher’s benefit, but for their own business and community development.
As American small businesses continue to be squeezed by the fallout of the COVID-19 crisis, it is increasingly clear that the approximately $659 billion already committed by Congress won’t be enough. It is similarly unlikely that unprecedented spending by governments will be enough to turn back the tide in Europe and elsewhere. But as bad as things are for the private sector in the wealthiest nations, an even greater disaster looms over the small and growing businesses that represent the economic engine of the developing world—with no bailout in sight.
In emerging markets, the COVID-19 crisis presents an even greater economic challenge than in the United States. The American economy was the strongest in the world before the crisis. Even now, under widespread stay-at-home orders, US unemployment has risen to only 20%, whereas most emerging market countries started the year with formal unemployment rates well above 20%.
The Aspen Network for Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), a membership organization for small and mid-sized enterprises in emerging markets, is a member of the Alliance and the R3 network launched by the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN). When the pandemic hit, ANDE looked for ways to support its members — which naturally meant reaching out to other organizations. Randall Kempner, ANDE’s Executive Director, is cautiously optimistic that the networks will make a difference, even if just to share best practices.
Within this COVID-19 crisis context, social impact organizations are scrambling to adjust their internal operations, continue fundraising and adapt their programming. The resulting changes will affect these organizations on practically every level – and impact measurement and management (IMM) is no exception. Matthew Guttentag and Mallory St Claire discuss the importance of IMM during this pandemic. They also suggest a few changes organizations can consider, and resources to help them make these adjustments.
The COVID-19 crisis is threatening small and growing businesses in low-income nations and the capacity development organizations (CDOs) they depend upon. ANDE's Matthew Guttentag and Dalberg's Kusi Hornberger, Mark Pedersen and Alekhya Sure offer up three categories of actions funders should consider to help CDOs overcome their financial challenges.
Like social enterprises, technical assistance providers are struggling amid COVID, but they have few or no new options for support. That can hurt fledgling entrepreneurs and put impact deals in emerging markets at risk. ANDE’s Matthew Guttentag and Dalberg’s Mark Pedersen offer up three actions investors can take to shore up these critical service providers.