"Backed by a unique database of over 255 African companies supported by I&P and insights from two decades of experience in impact investing, we highlight the critical role of formal SMEs in driving sustainable and inclusive growth in sub-Saharan Africa, how SMEs face barriers to accessing traditional financing, and how Catalytic capital offers a solution to bridge this gap. I&P shares insights on improving conditions and availability of catalytic capital, fostering collective learning for more impact investments in Africa."
"Female founders raise less capital from investors than male founders, even if their ventures are similar or identical. However, providing systematic evaluation frameworks could encourage investors to assess all candidates equally, thus reducing gender disparities. In this vein, the authors – Amisha Miller and Saurabh Lall – investigated whether changing systematic evaluation practices could close the gender gap in investment decisions. The authors designed and implemented a two-stage experiment in collaboration with Village Capital across different developing regions across Africa, South Asia (India), the Middle East, and Latin America to reduce gender disparities in investment decisions. The experimental findings confirm that using a systematic evaluation framework – prompting investors to consider both risks and growth, as well as progress – reduces or even reverses gender disparities in investment decisions. This study provides strong causal evidence for an intervention that can be implemented right out the gate at a low cost: providing a systematic evaluation framework to investors."
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is the region with the lowest rates of female-owned business, as only 10% of all firms are owned by women. Increasing and promoting female entrepreneurship is therefore very important and has a high potential to broaden labour force participation and diversify the economic landscape of MENA countries. This project aims to address this issue by assessing the effectiveness of an export promotion program targeted at female-owned enterprises in Tunisia who have the objective to export to other African markets. This project update shares the methodology used to address this research question and early insights that have emerged so far.
"This assessment was conducted by a mixed international-local team with youth participation, and is the first of a series of labor market assessments to be conducted under the Workforce Connections project. The methodology builds on standard approaches to understanding labor markets used in the past by USAID, other donors, governments, and private organizations, with the addition of a more focused economic analysis which makes it possible to generate deeper insight into the drivers of skills demand. Results from this and the other Workforce Connections assessments, and the tools used to generate them, will be shared and further refined through the project's Community of Practice over the coming year. The assessment also contains a summary of lessons learned about workforce development programming."
"This report unpacks why women's entrepreneurship is good for business and is essential for economic growth. Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a key driver of economic growth, and women-owned enterprises account for approximately 30-37 percent (8-10 million) of all SMEs in emerging markets. As such, women are the fastest-growing market segment, they start businesses at a higher rate than men, and it is expected that they will create approximately 50 percent of new small business jobs by 2018. In developing economies, SMEs are increasingly important, as they contribute to nearly half of the labor force."
"Opportunity-driven entrepreneurs generate much of Africa's employment, income and hope for a better future. But how are these companies progressing over time? This question is answered in the VC4Africa 2015 Venture Finance in Africa report.
This report captures the performance of ventures listed on the Venture Capital 4 Africa online platform and highlights the activity of investors' part of the network. As the community continues to grow, it is expected this yearly report will lend insights into what is happening across the larger startup space. The report breaks down insights across 5 indicators: employment, performance, investments, investors and ecosystem."
"Fintech recently became the most-active sector for startup investment in the Middle East and North Africa. While much of the media coverage has focused on digital payments and e-commerce, this report will highlight fintech innovation that is improving "financial health" for the region's most marginalized communities: tech that helps people manage their income and expenses, weather financial shocks and plan for a healthy financial future."
"Tech start-ups are an effective mechanism to both create local technology and absorb foreign technology. The objective of this report is to provide a better understanding of the status of Beirut's start-up ecosystem and provide policy recommendations for policy makers and other stakeholders who are interested in supporting the growth and sustainability of the ecosystem. The report is based on an in-depth survey of startups and supportive stakeholders of the ecosystem. The findings point out to an early-to middle stage start-up ecosystem that has passed its nascent growth phase but is still far from maturity. Skills, supportive infrastructure, finance pipeline, and community and networks are examined and gaps are identified. Policy recommendations to tackle these gaps are presented based on international practices."
"This report addresses the question: 'How do support programmes fulfil different roles for startups within startup ecosystems?' To put it another way, terms used for programmes supporting startups include: accelerators, coworking spaces, incubators, active seed investors, courses, competitions. But what is the difference?
In trying to answer this, this study interviewed over 30 practitioners, and undertook site visits to startup programmes operating in cities in high-income countries in Europe (Berlin, London, Munich, Cambridge), with the addition of Israel as a close neighbour."
"This study estimates that social enterprises could create more than 1 million additional jobs by 2030 in the 12 focus countries that have been analyzed. Overall, this would result in a total of approximately 5.5 million direct jobs in social enterprises in 2030. These jobs would be created in existing markets, but also for new markets, thus creating new value chains and many more indirect income opportunities in these countries. The implementation of the interventions recommended in this report are thus an important action to prepare the African continent on future demographic dynamics. In addition, they can also be seen as an important contribution to preserve jobs that have been put at risk because of COVID-19."