What we do

”An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest” – B. Franklin.

We empower entrepreneurs in emerging markets with knowledge and skills to grow their business

We know that local entrepreneurs in emerging countries can benefit from access to knowledge and skills to grow their business, next to affordable access to finance, but that access is often limited. That’s why the Lendahand Foundation is committed to making sure that local entrepreneurs get access to relevant knowledge in skills. We do this by offering the SME Academy and on the job business support. We partner with local MFIs and trainers to ensure we implement solutions that meet the needs of local entrepreneurs to make sure our approach is sustainable.

In a unique partnership with impact investing platform Lendahand we create a leverage effect for local SMEs to grow their business with a positive impact on local job creation, economic development and poverty alleviation.

Lendahand SME Academy

The Lendahand SME Academy is an interactive and hands-on training providing business fundamentals for local entrepreneurs wishing to better run and grow their business. With the SME Academy we aim to:

  • Equip entrepreneurs to meet the challenges of a growing business and how to manage such growth.
  • Enhance the viability and overall creditworthiness of the entrepreneurs.

Quote from our local trainer of the Lendahand SME Academy in Zambia:

“The adoption of the training undertaken for SMEs could go a long way in de-risking the SMEs and potentially improving the financial terms offered to them by financial institutions”.

The four-day course consists of the following modules and learning objectives:

Business Model Canvas
To ensure that each entrepreneur can identify its value proposition, develop a business model canvas and analyze their business.

Marketing and Sales
For each entrepreneur to identify their customer segment, understand customer needs in relation to their value proposition, attract more customers to his/her business, and use sales techniques to increase sales.

Financial Management
For each entrepreneur to understand the effect of pricing on sales volumes and profitability, to develop a profit and loss statement and cash flow projection, to understand a balance sheet and movement of assets, management of personal finances.

Graduation and Pitches
A recap of how to implement the learnings from the previous modules to achieve better business results, to understand how to effectively pitch a business to customers and financial investors.

Business support at the workfloor

From experiences with the SME Academy we found that entrepreneurs sometimes need additional and more in-depth practical support on the workfloor to strengthen their business. For instance, to make a production process more efficient, improve customer support or a financial management system. This is why the Lendahand Foundation has partnered with PUM, a network of professional volunteers committed to support SMEs in emerging countries. Together we are joining forces to empower local SMEs with affordable access to business skills and support.

Our approach

We use the following approach to ensure that local entrepreneurs get access to the Lendahand SME Academy.

  • Identify the need for business skills training and support. We do this in collaboration with local partners of Lendahand, which are financial institution in emerging countries.
  • The Lendahand Foundation recruits a qualified local trainer with understanding of the local needs and context. All training materials are shared by the Foundation which are adapted by the trainer to the country-specific context.
  • The local partner selects and invites entrepreneurs to participate in the Lendahand SME Academy and arranges a venue for the training. Participants get free access to the training as they cannot afford it. Our local partner is encouraged to co-finance part of the training.
  • The local trainer implements the Lendahand SME Academy to a group of 20-25 entrepreneurs. At the end of the training each participant is asked to complete a satisfaction survey,
  • The local trainer submits a training report one months after the implementation of the SME Academy. This report contains the profile of entrepreneurs, insights from each training module, an analysis of the participant satisfaction survey and recommendations for the future. We use this information to further develop the content and dissemination of the SME Academy.
  • The Lendahand Foundation monitors how participants of the SME Academy are using the knowledge gained in their business. We do this through a follow-up survey in collaboration with our local partners between up to one year after completion of the training. We use the information from this survey to further develop the content and dissemination of the SME Academy.

For entrepreneurs to get access to business support at the workfloor we use the following approach.

  • Identify the need for additional business support at the work floor. We have two ways of doing this:
    • The local trainer identifies the needs of participants after implementation of the Lendahand SME Academy.
    • The Lendahand Foundation identifies the needs with entreprises that get direct investments from Lendahand. These are mostly enterprises active in access to renewable energy.
  • The enterprise meets with local country representative of PUM. Together with the Lendahand Foundation we can give support to submit an application to PUM.
  • PUM selects and mobilizes an expert for a period of two weeks to support one or a small group of local entrepreneurs. The entrepreneur only pays for local lodging and transportation costs. International travel costs are covered by PUM.

The PUM expert visits the local entrepreneur and provides on the workfloor business support for a period of maximum two weeks. After the support the expert submits a report to the Lendahand Foundation.If needed, follow-up can be provided by another company visit or remote support.