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A Weekend of Connections, Discussion and Positive Impact

By Emily Ziethen | Wed Oct 19 2016
This past weekend, members of the Impact Angel Network (IAN) and distinguished guests met in Washington, D.C. for the second annual National Gathering, which was filled with introductions, connections, and meaningful discussion on how conscious capitalists can change how the West views Africa.
The weekend event commenced on Friday evening with a dinner and discussion at the Cosmos Club. Guests mingled and enjoyed cocktails in the East Garden, and then moved into the Club's Warne Ballroom to hear global economist, New York Times bestselling author and TEDTalk speaker - Dr. Dambisa Moyo - shared insights on investing, opportunities and major economic shifts that are occurring in developing markets, like Ethiopia.
In line with the weekend’s theme of sharing real stories of impact, entrepreneurship and innovation, the evening continued as members and guests alike shared their personal stories and experiences with impact investing, development, and Ethiopia (#WhatsYourStory). Ambassador Girma Birru opened dinner, encouraging attendees to continue seeing the economic growth potential that SMEs have in Ethiopia. Hussein Hirji, Economic Counselor of the Canadian Embassy, spoke to the unique public-private model that Global Affairs Canada is implementing in Ethiopia in partnership with RENEW.
The night concluded with Miraf Hailu, deputy-manager of Mama Fresh Injera, sharing about the beginning of RENEW and the IAN’s relationship with the company and just how far they’ve come. Starting in an outdated bakery to becoming a leading injera export manufacturing facility that is positively impacting the local community through job creation and tax revenue. It was a truly inspiring story of growth, opportunity and impact!
On Saturday morning, IAN Chapter Chair David Grizzle and his wife Anne hosted network members for a morning of learning and review. RENEW went over the current status of each of the IAN portfolio companies including progress made to date, challenges and opportunities, and the plans going forward. All members participated in a lively discussion to brainstorm ideas on how the IAN can add more value to our portfolio. Guests were given a little taste of Ethiopia by participating in a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony.
The weekend concluded with the investment pipeline dinner, hosted by IAN Chapter Chair, Dr. Andrew Umhau and his wife Cary. During this relaxed evening of community and fellowship, the RENEW team provided important updates on the network's investment pipeline, while guests were able to sample some Mama Fresh’s delicious Ethiopian cuisine - truly, home cooking at its finest!
The RENEW team would like to thank Dr. Dambisa Moyo, Ambassador Girma Birru, and the IAN advisory board chairs, Dr. Andrew Umhau, David Grizzle, Jeff and Donna Turi, Alan Gardner, Beth and Joel Marquette and Jodi Morris, and the staff of the Cosmos Club for helping deliver an unforgettable event. We also thank the members of the IAN and their families for coming to D.C. for a memorable fall weekend.
Renew Capital is an Africa-focused impact investment firm that backs innovative companies with high-growth potential. Renew Capital manages investments made on behalf of the Renew Capital Angels, a global network of angel investors, foundations and family offices who seek financial returns and sustainable social impact. For the latest on investing in Africa, subscribe and follow us at our social links below.

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