Winner of Argidius-ANDE Finance Challenge Announced

The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs and the Argidius Foundation in Switzerland have announced Investisseurs & Partenaires, an impact investment group dedicated to growing small businesses in Africa, as the winner of the inaugural Argidius-ANDE Finance Challenge.

Created in 2012 to accelerate the development of innovative solutions to help fill the financing gap for emerging market startups, the €1 million ($1.27 million) prize was awarded to I&P in recognition of its efforts to create a local equity investment vehicle and supporting infrastructure in Burkina Faso. I&P was selected from among five finalists that had been awarded €200,000 (more than $253,000) each to conduct extensive pilot programs focused on at least one of six target countries — Burkina Faso, Guatemala, Honduras, Mali, Moldova, and Nicaragua — and demonstrate the potential to achieve the greatest impact through both replication and scale.

During the pilot phase of the challenge, I&P built a strong management team, provided coaching and technical assistance support to local entrepreneurs, and raised €1.34 million ($1.7 million) from twelve investors, 77 percent of which was African private capital. I&P hope to build on the experience and structure an equity investment industry dedicated to emerging businesses in Africa through a network of ten vehicles in ten countries.

"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," said ANDE executive director Randall Kempner.

"The Argidius Foundation and the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs Announce Finance Challenge Winner." Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs and Argidius Foundation Press Release 09/29/2014.