Argidius Foundation and Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs Announce Challenge to Stimulate Small Businesses in Emerging Markets

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Around the world, small businesses form the backbone of a healthy economy, generating employment, wealth and ultimately, global prosperity. But for these businesses to grow, they need to attract middle and senior level managers who are skilled enough to guide these dynamic firms. Yet this can be challenging in emerging economies where high-caliber talent can be difficult to identify and often attracted to more established organizations.

To address that challenge, the Argidius Foundation and the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), announce a new opportunity: The Argidius–ANDE Talent Challenge. The challenge seeks to source and help scale promising solutions that address critical human capital constraints for small and growing businesses (SGBs) in emerging markets.

As many as five finalists will be awarded grants of up to 200,000 euros in April 2016 to conduct pilot programs that will last up to three years, during which ANDE will provide ongoing guidance. Provided impact targets are met, a grand prize of up to one million euros will be bestowed to the most successful pilot program with the greatest potential to scale.

“We’re looking for new solutions to address human capital constraints for promising—but risky—small businesses. We see over and over that the lack of qualified talent can impede a small business’s ability to scale. We hope this challenge encourages organizations to think creatively about what can be done, and we’re convinced ANDE is the right partner to make this happen,” stated Nicholas Colloff, Argidius Foundation executive director.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with the Argidius Foundation to address critical talent gaps in emerging markets,” added Randall Kempner, executive director of ANDE, “and believe this new prize program will inspire organizations to expand their commitment to confronting challenges facing small business entrepreneurs.”

An expert panel of SGB sector talent management professionals will select the winners based on the clarity, feasibility, capacity, expected impact and scalability of the proposed solution. Applications must be focused on at least one of the following Argidius Foundation-target countries in Latin America (Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama), West Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo), or East Africa (Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda).

For more information about the challenge guidelines and criteria, please visit Entries will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. EST on January 31, 2016. Follow #talentchallenge on Twitter for updates on the competition.

Since the 1980s, the Argidius Foundation has been working to catalyze economic development in low- and middle-income countries, especially in Africa and Central America. Convinced of the potential that small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) hold for employment creation, income generation, and poverty reduction, our strategy focuses on building their capacity and improving their access to finance. By improving the effectiveness and reach of SME capacity development services, we aim to help entrepreneurs to build profitable businesses and contribute to the sustainable development of their communities. For more information, please visit:

The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) is a global network of organizations that propel entrepreneurship in emerging markets. ANDE members provide critical financial, educational, and business support services to small and growing businesses (SGBs) based on the conviction that SGBs will create jobs, stimulate long-term economic growth, and produce environmental and social benefits. Ultimately, we believe that SGBs can help lift countries out of poverty. For more information, please visit:

Source: Press Release (link opens in a new window)