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|Argidius-ANDE Finance Challenge|
The Argidius Foundation and ANDE launched the Argidius-ANDE Finance Challenge in 2012, as the first of its kind competition designed to support scalable models to provide finance for small and growing businesses that require $20,000 - $250,000 in early stage capital. The goal of the challenge was to accelerate the development of solutions in a number of emerging markets, ideally establishing models that could be replicated. Successful proposals could include transporting a proven model from other locations to selected target countries, expanding existing models in target countries, or represent an entirely new model.
A grand prize of one million euros was then awarded to I&P in October 2014, for demonstrating the potential to achieve the greatest impact through both replication and scale. I&P created a local equity investment vehicle and supporting infrastructure designed for SGBs in Burkina Faso which was modeled after a proven example in Niger. "All five pilot programs offered promising solutions to help unlock capital for the missing middle,” said Nicholas Colloff, executive director of Argidius Foundation. "What the selection committee found most impressive about I&P was its vision and ability to implement a proven investment model in very difficult business environments,” added Randall Kempner, executive director of ANDE.
During the AAFC pilot phase, I&P built a strong management team, offering coaching and technical assistance support to entrepreneurs. I&P also raised 1.34 million euros from 12 investors, 77 percent of which is African private capital. I&P aims to build on this experience and structure an equity investment industry dedicated to SGBs in Africa through a network of 10 vehicles in 10 countries, thus replicating the fund across the region. I&P will continue to offer critical technical assistance to its investee businesses as well as capital, in addition to building a network, enabling those businesses to learn from one another.