RENEW Strategies

RENEW at Women in Agribusiness Conference

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Emily Ziethen
| February 24, 2015

RENEW’s Laura Davis recently attended and spoke at a conference in Ethiopia, hosted by The Women in Agribusiness Leadership Network (WALN) in conjunction with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, Patricia Haslach and Ethiopia’s First Lady Roman Tesfaye opened the event, which focused on celebrating more than 100 women entrepreneurs and leaders from across Ethiopia who had a positive impact in the field of agribusiness. The women attendees were able to share experiences, best practices, and many other things related to owning and operating agricultural businesses.

During this event, Laura sat on a panel that discussed private equity and the field of agribusiness. She was able to share some of RENEW’s hard earned insights on the relationship between small-medium enterprises (SMEs), access to capital and angel investing.

In the words of Ambassador Haslach, “women make up nearly half of the agriculture workforce in Ethiopia, but unfortunately face a number of disadvantages, including limited access to training, market information, and other resources, and problems in accessing markets and credit.”**

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs in Ethiopia fall into the category of the “missing middle”, enterprises that are considered to be too large or established for micro-institutional investors, and too small and risky for traditional financing. But, this is where impact investment firms like RENEW come in to play – by providing SMEs access to the “missing” capital they need in order to scale and become attractive to larger private equity and institutional investors. This is all accomplished through RENEW’s wonderful Impact Angel Network, one of the largest U.S. based angel networks for Africa.

All in all, it was an enlightening and inspiring conference that RENEW was happy to be a part of.

If you would like to learn more about the Impact Angel Network and how you can become involved in helping women Ethiopian entrepreneurs, please contact us at renew@renewstrategies.com.

*Photo Credit for First Image: Robert Sauers, USAID Ethiopia
**Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Patricia Haslach