Greetings from Matthew, an Agora Fellow

By Matthew Pietras

Welcome to the new Agora Fellows’ Blog!

I’m Matthew, a new Agora Fellow.  My first month in Nicaragua is coming to a close, and I cannot believe all that I have experienced. Between adjusting to Nica life and engraining myself in the work of Agora…well, let’s just say that I have definitely packed a lot into those 720 hours! But, the most important event to date was the ANDE (Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs) Conference we had last week in Granada. Continue reading Greetings from Matthew, an Agora Fellow

ANDE Latin America Conference 2010

By Lissette Cuadra

This past week I spent most of my days at the ANDE Latin-American Conference in Granada, one of the most beautiful cities of my lovely Nicaragua. Agora had the honor of hosting it along with Root Capital and TechnoServe. Let me reiterate what and honor it was.

As part of the Agora Staff in Nicaragua, it was a great experience getting to know some of the organizations we are related to through the ANDE network and to strengthen the bonds for collaboration.

The whole week was very productive in terms of learning about what other partner organizations are doing, sharing experiences to develop entrepreneurship and SGBs in the region, and overcoming obstacles in the creation and improvement of best tools and networks for the growth of these businesses.

I felt like I needed to talk to so many people about so many things! I didn’t know where to start.

I will definitely begin by mentioning my first contact with Agora’s new additions.

New Associate in DC, Roger Teran, he seems to be a great addition to the team, and I’m glad to have a new link to the DC office. Roger seems very talented and eager to work with Agora’s Nicaragua office and I’m glad that he got to come to our country for this event.

Also, it was nice to meet Sarah Hiller, our upcoming 2010 Fellow. She will be joining us in Nicaragua early April. She will be an integral part of the exapnsion of our Women’s Initiative. I will need so much help with that, and I know that her experience in Guatemala, and her general background will be of great assistance to make this program successful. I will tell you more about it in my post next week. Continue reading ANDE Latin America Conference 2010

Why Granada Matters

ANDE’s first ever conference in Latin America holds huge promise to put entrepreneurship on the development agenda in some of the hemisphere’s poorest communities.

By Ben Powell

On March 26th, over 100 representatives from over 50 organizations across Latin America are convening in the colonial city of Granada, Nicaragua for the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs’ (ANDE) inaugural regional conference.

The setting is auspicious. After Haiti, Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. There are few places where good entrepreneurs are more needed than in Nicaragua. With investors and development organizations looking for new models to support sustainable capitalism throughout all of Latin America, the meeting is timely.

The conference aims to build the entrepreneurship movement in Latin America by bringing together development organizations, fund managers and funders. While microfinance and large-scale businesses in these countries have markets that function reasonably well and are supported by professional industries, the same cannot be said for the small business sector.  The ecosystem that supports small and growing businesses is on life support in poor communities throughout the hemisphere.

These communities need a serious injection of energy, coordination, investment, trust, and partnerships to lay the foundation for entrepreneurship to flourish. They need a professional class of local men and women who can work together to create a self-sustaining environment that encourages innovation, risk taking, and entrepreneurial vision. Continue reading Why Granada Matters

News Round-Up

Extra, extra… Who’s talking about Agora?

– Here’s a great Financial Times Article discussing impact investment.  It features Agora Entrepreneur Jasmin Gonzalez.

– Columbia Business School’s interview with Ben Powell, current Alumni of the Month.

Haverford Magazine highlights the work of Agora Partnerships to help support impact entrepreneurs in Central America.

Agora-DC has a new home!

The DC office has moved!

After three years being housed with our good friends and colleagues at TechnoServe, we have moved our Washington, DC offices.  We packed up our office into boxes (wow, there were a lot of them!) and moved early last month just before the big snowstorms.  We’re pretty much unpacked and are really starting to feel at home.  It’s a wonderful space and we’re looking forward to bringing a lot of Agora programming from it!

Here are the details:
Our new address is:
1707 N St. NW
Washington, DC 20036

The new main office number is:
202.580.8776

Feel free to come visit!

Gearing up for the ANDE Conference

We’ve been working hard to let everyone know about the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) Conference coming up March 23-26 in Granada, Nicaragua.  There’s been lots of talk about the event in the DC office as we talk with event organizers, tweet to supporters and anticipate what we expect to be a productive event.  This marks the first ever regional conference called “Growing Small Businesses in Latin America,” so there’s lots to be excited about!  Not to mention the fact that Agora Partnerships is co-hosting the event.

We can’t wait to hear all of the innovative  ideas that will come from this gathering of key players, all focused on supporting entrepreneur-driven strategies to help combat global poverty.  We’ll be sure to post updates during the event and after — hopefully, we’ll have ways for you to be involved even if you can’t join us.