Tag Archives: partnerships

Agora Partnerships Joins with MovingWorlds to Empower Entrepreneurs and Drive Sustainable Solutions

In 2015, international leaders came together to discuss the myriad issues facing our global community and identify 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to address these challenges by 2030. Achieving the Global Goals will take creativity, tenacity, and an unwavering dedication to creating a better world. At Agora Partnerships, we believe that entrepreneurs will lead the charge to realize the future envisioned by the SDGs.

In an effort to expand upon our core mission of supporting and empowering entrepreneurs, Agora Partnerships is thrilled to announce a new partnership with MovingWorlds.  Through the partnership, Agora entrepreneurs have access to the skills of talented professionals who will donate their time and expertise towards solving business and technical challenges.

It’s called Experteering, and it was designed by MovingWorlds to connect social impact organizations with highly-skilled professionals. Experteers have years of experience and go through a training and planning process to ensure that they start making a positive impact on your organization from day one.

As a fellow social enterprise, MovingWorlds believes that social impact organizations should not pay for help and, thus, will not charge your company for Experteer services. All MovingWorlds asks is that you provide an immersive experience and local benefits to your Experteer, which normally means providing the Experteer with free accommodation.

Already,  Agora entrepreneurs have reaped the benefits of working with Experteers. One such organization is Suyo, a Colombia-based company that uses technology and microfinance models to support displaced populations with affordable, reliable property formalization services. In order to establish trust in the unreliable formalization sector, Suyo needed to enhance their user interface to convey professionalism and dependability. MovingWorlds matched Suyo with an Experteer, Felicia, who moved to Medellin, spending months getting to know Suyo’s customers and developing an effective user interface.

Through the partnership with MovingWorlds, Agora entrepreneurs can access more human capital than ever before and overcome business and technical barriers, allowing them to take their organization to the next level of growth and impact.

To learn more about the partnership, or to sign up to be an Experteer for Agora entrepreneurs, visit our partner page.

How your company can benefit:

If you are a current or alumni Agora entrepreneur seeking support, sign up to be matched with an Experteer at MovingWorlds.org. Through your affiliation with Agora Partnerships, your organization will experience increased traffic on your MovingWorlds profile and receive additional matching support from the MovingWorlds team.

Get started today by signing up at MovingWorlds.org and indicating your Agora Partnerships affiliation on the organization setup page!

How you can support entrepreneurs:

If you want to increase support to Agora entrepreneurs, Experteering is a fantastic way to make a unique and lasting impact. By becoming an Experteer, encouraging your friends to sign up, or promoting Experteering projects on social media, you can help bridge the talent gap and provide invaluable support to high-potential social entrepreneurs.

Browse all Agora-affiliated projects or sign up on Movingworlds.org to get started!

Women Entrepreneurs Focus of New Collaboration Between Agora Partnerships and The Eleos Foundation

Agora Class of ’11 entrepreneur Aida Mayorga is the owner of Oscarito’s, a children’s clothing store based outside Managua, Nicaragua.

Agora Partnerships, a Washington, D.C.- and Managua-based nonprofit dedicated to accelerating the growth of early-stage, impact companies throughout Latin America, today announced a partnership with The Eleos Foundation that will unleash the potential of women in Latin America through the power of entrepreneurship.

The Agora-Eleos LatAm Women’s Fund, a collaboration between the two organizations, will provide gender-lens investing opportunities for early-stage impact investors to accelerate the success of women-run companies, as well as those that support the empowerment of women and girls, in Latin America.

“The Agora-Eleos LatAm Women’s Fund embodies the very heart of the Agora mission,” said Agora Partnerships CEO and Founder Ben Powell. “Leveraging the power of the market to create an environment ripe for social entrepreneurship gets at the core of what we do. And with a special focus on providing gender-lens investment opportunities, the fund with Eleos creates a special kind of economic and social force that will positively impact communities for years to come.”

Agora Partnerships, through its Impact Accelerator, surfaces high-potential

An employee of Kiej de los Bosques, an Agora Class of ’11 company run by Maria Pacheco of Guatemala.

entrepreneurs seeking to create impact and then provides them with the strategic consulting, mentoring, leadership development, and a community of peers. The Eleos Foundation, working with Agora, conducts due diligence on companies in the Accelerator that meet its investment criteria and then assumes the role of lead investor in those companies in which it decides to invest. Individual and institutional investors are given the opportunity to co-invest in selected deals through individual series LLCs set up by Eleos Investment Management LLC. The structure of this partnership fills a critical need for both entrepreneurs and investors.

Those interested in learning more about Agora Partnerships, the Eleos Foundation, or the Agora-Eleos LatAm Women’s Fund should contact Becky Bailey (bbailey@agorapartnerships.org) or Karla Newendorp (karlanewendorp@theeleosfoundation.com).

About Agora Partnerships

Agora Partnerships is an early pioneer of the impact-investing and -entrepreneurship movement, with a core focus on supporting ventures at the seed and early stages. Launched in 2005 as an alliance between entrepreneurs from both Nicaragua and Columbia Business School, Agora created the first impact-investment fund of its kind in the region, trained thousands of small-business entrepreneurs in Nicaragua and has helped drive approximately $5 million into more than 40 small businesses across Central America. Today, through its Accelerator program, Agora is committed to creating a pipeline of small-business entrepreneurs (between about $50,000 and $1 million in revenues) from across Latin America: entrepreneurs who are ready, willing, and able to build a more sustainable and successful economy. Agora’s mission is to unleash their potential and the potential of business’ new role in solving our common challenges.

Visit our website at www.agorapartnerships.org, follow us on Twitter @AgoraPrtnrships, and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AgoraPartnerships.

About The Eleos Foundation

The Eleos Foundation and Eleos Investment Management LLC, invest in and partner with social entrepreneurs who effectively implement high impact, early stage, pioneering market based solutions in the fight to eradicate extreme poverty. Eleos provides opportunities for co-investors to invest in funds at the forefront of pioneering markets. Eleos also develops and facilitates partnerships with social entrepreneurs, negotiates alongside them, and empowers them to get to scale and attract the necessary capital investment.

To learn more visit www.theeleosfoundation.com.

MicroMentor: Partnership with MercyCorps

by Lissette Cuadra

Uff.. this week I’m packed with so much work!! That’s natural after spending a wonderful week in Colombia, meeting very bright people and enjoying the lovely weather/culture! For the Spanish speakers, there is a Nicaraguan saying: “Despues de un gustazo, un trancazo!” Haha.

Anyways, I’ve mentioned to you all our new initiative with MercyCorps…But to save you some trouble, I’m going to recapitulate and elaborate:

As ANDE members, Agora and MercyCorps recognize that growth-focused entrepreneurs have the potential to be a potent driver of sustainable economic development and job generation in the developing world; particularly when they have access to the advice, know-how, and connections needed to build a thriving enterprise.

This is why we have developed a new pilot project called “GLOBAL MENTORING PLATFORM FOR SMALL & GROWING BUSINESSES”, with this project, Agora Partnerships and Mercy Corps will offer a new and innovative approach to providing business mentoring to small and growing businesses (SGBs) in developing economies worldwide—dramatically increasing entrepreneurs’ access to the critical business management know-how and industry-specific expertise needed to start and grow a successful enterprises. The project will adapt Mercy Corps’ MicroMentor service for the international SGB market, offering ANDE members and the SGB sector-at-large with a scalable mechanism for efficiently providing mentoring services to their clients and more effectively engaging volunteer business professionals in their work.

As the pilot gets underway, we will be seeking volunteer business mentors who speak Spanish and ideally who understand the local business context in Nicaragua and El Salvador (or, more broadly, Latin America). If you would like to learn more about the project, or about getting involved as a mentor (including involving your corporate or professional networks), please contact me.

This past week we added the final touches to the budget, and are currently finishing a more detailed statement of work. We will begin working on the project in May!

This means we will be working alongside MicroMentor to provide feedback on our local market research, conduct client surveys and/or focus groups, provide feedback on pilot program roadmap and develop internal pilot roll-out plans… and this is just Phase 1! I can’t wait!

Agora Partners with Arthur B. Schultz Foundation

by Alejandro Solis

Agora’s newest partner, Arthur B. Schultz Foundation, is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people through the support of microenterprises, women’s empowerment, and mobility solutions for the disabled. Its flagship grant program is the Social Microenterprise Initiative (SMI), a truly innovative, ‘pay-it-forward’ small business loan program. Through it’s partnership with the Schultz Foundation, Agora will pilot their SMI program in Central America.

To date, SMI has been successfully implemented in five challenging locations around the world: Russia, Vietnam, Palestine, Tibet, and Kenya.

SMI is a unique program that makes interest-free small business loans strictly for machinery and equipment. Businesses repay the SMI loans not in cash, but by donating in-kind products, services, and vocational training to the poor in their communities. Agora Partnerships will pilot this program in Nicaragua in the fall of 2010.

I recently attended an SMI Conference in Berkeley, CA. The purpose of the SMI Conference was to evaluate the up-to-date results, as well as to analyze the program´s ability to expand further in the near future, both from a sustainability and impact-growth perspective.

For me and Agora Partnerships, the conference was a great opportunity to learn more about the structure of the SMI program and better understand the effects of implementing such a program in Nicaragua. The aim for Agora and the Schultz Foundation was to identify how both institutions can work as partners to bring the SMI program to Latin America. The Schultz Foundation’s board recently approved a pilot SMI project in Nicaragua to begin in the second half of 2010. Both institutions will begin to work diligently in the fall to make this endeavor a reality.