Scale Is Overrated: Why the ‘Unicorn Industrial Complex’ is Holding Back Social Enterprise and Emerging Markets Business
Social enterprises and small and growing businesses (SGBs) are the focus of a lot of discussion and excitement in the development sector, as seen in recent SGB coverage on NextBillion and other publications. But Jack Foreman at Foresee Advisors argues that this discussion ignores the needs – and essential natures – of the vast majority of these businesses, particularly in emerging markets. He explains why the focus on scale – and investors' search for the next potential "unicorn" startup – overlook the crucial importance of SMEs that are content to remain small or medium-sized.
The Systemic Reasons Behind the SGB Investment Gap: Why Investors Need Systems Data in Emerging Markets
Despite over-performing returns, venture capital investment in emerging markets accounts for only about 10% of total VC capital invested, and a significant financing gap remains for small and growing businesses (SGBs) in these environments. Jason Eaves at Discovered Markets presents several multifaceted reasons for this gap, and presents an unexploited solution: using systems data to overcome the biases and lack of market visibility that limit both investors' and other organizations' ability to effectively support SGBs in these markets.
Four Insights for Better Measurement: What Businesses Can Learn from the Public and Nonprofit Sectors
In the public and nonprofit sectors, comprehensive monitoring, evaluation and learning approaches are increasingly common – but many small and growing businesses (SGBs) lack the time and resources for these practices. Heather Esper, director of the Performance Measurement and Improvement team at the William Davidson Institute, shares four key data collection and measurement insights from the public and nonprofit worlds that businesses — particularly SGBs — can leverage to improve their decision-making and maximize the social and financial value of their data.
Flipping the Script: Why Small and Growing Businesses Should Lead the Researchers – Not the Other Way Around
All too often, global development research hinges on the interest of researchers, rather than the knowledge needs of small and growing businesses and their impacted communities. This can leave entrepreneurs with plenty of reports, but no practical tools for continuing to collect and use data themselves. Analysts at the William Davidson Institute, Gente Del Futuro, Practical Action and ANDE propose a better approach: letting small businesses lead the way.
Financing “Missing Middle” Enterprises in the Age of COVID-19: Leveraging Nontraditional Finance Pathways in Emerging Markets
COVID-19 has made access to capital for small and growing businesses in emerging markets more essential than ever. But according to Julia Kho at Triple Jump and Kusi Hornberger at Dalberg Advisors, these businesses have very different crisis-related financing needs. They explore how finance providers can understand these diverse needs and identify the best approaches to fill them.
Supporting Women-led Businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa During COVID-19: Strategies to Survive and Thrive
Women-led businesses in Africa face many obstacles, from limited access to finance and networks, to social and legal constraints – and COVID-19 has only added to that burden. In response, Nathalie Gogue Ebo and Angela Kerubo at Open Capital argue that governments, financiers and other players need to apply a gender lens approach when designing COVID-19 support for these enterprises.
Press Release: The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs Announces Winners of the Advancing Women’s Empowerment Fund
Fund will distribute up to $1.2 million in grant capital across eight winning proposals out of a pool of more than 180 total applications
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