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ANDE’s 2015 Report on the Small and Growing Business Sector

By Emily Ziethen | Fri Jun 17 2016

The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs, or ANDE for short, recently published its 2015 impact report on the world’s small and growing business (SGB) sector. Since its founding in 2009, ANDE has seen a transformation of the small and growing business sector on almost every continent, from North and South America to Africa and Asia, and more specifically in countries that have emerging economies.
The report starts off by reviewing the global achievements of 2015, from the United Nations ratifying the Paris Agreement, a pledge to combat climate change, to agreeing on 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which focus on economic development and reducing global inequality. ANDE, and many others, view this as a prime opportunity for the SGB sector. “Recognition has grown that the private sector can contribute positively to development, and in fact is necessary to achieve these ambitious targets… [SGBs] are typically embedded into communities, and have strong links to the last mile of distribution or sourcing that can be so challenging for larger organizations.”
The report also touches on the growing field of sustainable, responsible and impact investing, which has turned into more than a $6B industry. ANDE believes that an increasing number of socially conscious entrepreneurs will continue the impact investing momentum, and the SGB sector will consequently play a large role in the deployment of that capital.
And while these SGB sector trends are certainly good news, the 2015 global financial slowdown still impacted the sector’s overall growth. Last year was a “particularly tough year in emerging markets, with low growth and even recessionary conditions in some countries.” Of these emerging markets, ANDE has six established regional chapters: Brazil, Central America/Mexico, East Africa, India, South Africa and West Africa. We encourage you to read the entire report, but RENEW’s interest lies in the East Africa chapter.
Not surprising to RENEW, Ethiopia is not mentioned in this particular report, as the country is still developing its private sector and equity investment acumen (see RENEW’s blog on Private Equity in East Africa for a more detailed explanation). The information in the East Africa chapter is still of interest though, particularly the data on the top sectors and the deal sizes. Agriculture and financial services are the most popular, followed by the energy and healthcare sectors, which is in line with Ethiopia’s current investment environment. In fact, the Ethiopian government has designated the country’s agriculture industry as one of the pillars of growth in it’s Growth and Transformation Plan II, which aims to make Ethiopia a middle-income earning country by 2025.
And while it is heartening to see that of the $1.4B invested in the region, $132M was invested across 333 deals at $1M or less, is still means that a staggering $1.27B was invested in deals that were over $1M each. This leaves a lot to be desired by the small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that make up the SGB sector; businesses that typically need a $200K to $1M investment for expansion or working capital.
Luckily for Ethiopia, companies like RENEW and the Impact Angel Network are working to fill that financing gap.
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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