Region
Sub-Saharan Africa

This content is also available in: Español, Português

"In 2021, ACT Foundation Research Team set out to capture the landscape of technology adoption for African non-profits. We surveyed over 400 social impact professionals to understand the current state of technology adoption within their organizations and to assess their digital readiness. In this report, we explored the digital investment landscape and investigated the barriers to greater technology adoption. We also attempted to identify areas of support needs across the sector."

READ MORE

"This report reveals the state of social enterprises in Nigeria. It is based on desk research, interviews with key stakeholders and a survey distributed to social enterprises from a diverse range of industries and sectors across the county. The findings are timely. Governments and communities are looking to minimize the economic and social damage caused by Covid-19 and, in the longer term, see the pandemic as an opportunity to rebuild economies on a fairer, more inclusive footing. As businesses that combine positive social and environmental impact with financial sustainability, social enterprises have a vital role to play."

READ MORE

"Women entrepreneurs are critical to a thriving and inclusive economy, and yet they face numerous challenges in growing their businesses. These challenges are compounded for women climate entrepreneurs (WCEs), given limited research that assesses the issues or presents actionable recommendations to the wider ecosystem. This knowledge product identifies challenges and opportunities for WCEs with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa - specifcally, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa and Malawi."

READ MORE

"Endeavor Insight partnered with the Lemelson Foundation and Small Foundation to understand how entrepreneurial agriculture companies can maximize their impact in developing countries. The purpose of the study is to provide a data-backed assessment of the challenges and opportunities for supporting entrepreneurs. Endeavor Insight’s approach used several lenses, including a special focus on the types of innovation the founders have created, as well as an analysis of the dynamics within selected agricultural value chains. The results offer guidance for decision makers who support entrepreneurs as they address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially in raising the incomes of smallholder farmers and alleviating poverty, creating transformative solutions that can address global food security, and generating quality jobs. This study builds on recent research in the international development and social investment communities, and takes into account the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis."

READ MORE

"We study the medium-term impacts of the Skills for Effective Entrepreneurship Development (SEED) program, an innovative in-residence 3-week mini-MBA program for high school students modeled after western business school curricula and adapted to the Ugandan context. The program featured two separate treatments: the hard-skills MBA features a mix of approximately 75% hard skills and 25% soft skills; the soft skills curriculum has the reverse mix. Using data on 4400 youth from a nationally representative sample in a 3-arm field experiment in Uganda, the 3.5 year follow-up demonstrated that training was effective in improving both hard and soft skills, but only soft skills were directly linked to improvements in self-efficacy, persuasion, and negotiation. The skill upgrade was rewarded in substantially higher earnings; 32.1% and 29.8% increases in earnings for those who attended hard- and soft-training, respectively, most of which, was generated through self-employment. Furthermore, youth in both groups were more likely to start enterprises and more successful in ensuring their businesses' survival. The program led to significantly larger profits (24.2% and 27.2% for hard- and soft- treatment arms respectively) and larger business capital investments (38.4% and 32.6% for SEED hard and SEED soft, respectively). Both SEED curricula were very cost-effective; two months worth of the extra earnings caused by the training alone would exceed the cost of the program. These benefits abstract from the job- and business-creation benefits of the program, which were substantial: relative to the control group, SEED entrepreneurs created 985 additional jobs and 550 new businesses."

READ MORE

"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."

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

"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."

READ MORE