RENEW Strategies

The Impact Angel Network Grows in Europe

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Laura Davis
| October 4, 2017

The partners had an amazing week traveling around Europe speaking with investors, connectors, entrepreneurs and advocates about investing in Africa for both social impact and financial returns. Here’s what we learned and observed from our trip:

  • First, we were hosted by Anne-Mieke and Nick Howle, champions of impact investing and members of the Impact Angel Network. This family is not only passionate about what they are doing, they are exceptional entrepreneurs, and great hosts. But they also have a great family. You may remember that their son Bas was RENEW’s first in-country intern. Read about his time with us here. The Howles hosted three events, at their home in Stratford, in London and in Amsterdam. Each event attracted a great mix of like-minded people who asked amazing questions.
  • We had three events with an average of 25 people per event
  • The London event was co-hosted with the Baobab Network. Tom Fairburn and Toby Hanington are two young visionaries that have a passion to help link talent in the West with tech talent in Africa. Baobob is creating opportunities for employees working at multinational companies to share their skills and abilities with business owners in Africa. They are also exploring investments into companies on the continent.
  • In Amsterdam we were co-hosted by VC4Africa, which is providing an online platform to connect companies and investors. Bertil van Vugt shared about the vision and mission of the organization along with the group’s connection to African Business Angel Network (ABAN). We also had the pleasure of meeting the team at BidNetwork; a group helping local companies prepare and pitch to investors in Europe.
  • Most in the audience were well-informed about investing in Africa and the potential the continent holds for growth and impact investing.
  • A number were actively investing in companies already. We counted at least 10.
  • The questions were well-informed and focused on the tactics of investing. The top questions were related to political stability, foreign currency issues, tax issues and exit strategies.
  • Many were planning trips to the continent. At least 7 were planning investment and business trips to the continent in the coming weeks.
  • The Ethiopian Embassy made a cameo appearance at the Amsterdam event and offered to support anyone exploring investments in the country.
  • The Amsterdam event was hosted at Bocca Coffee– which Matt and Laura went back to everyday while they relaxed for the weekend in Amsterdam with visionary food entrepreneurs Xavier and Eliza, the founders of Go Addis and Go Kigali tours.

The key takeaway from the trip: Europe is primed and ready for impact investing to take hold and become the major connection between sources of capital and opportunities in Africa. We expect big things for the two countries visited and for the Impact Angel Network’s increasing presence in Europe in the coming years.

To find out more about RENEW or the IAN, contact us at, follow us on Twitter @RENEWLLC or find us on Instagram @impactangelnetwork. Be sure to check out our upcoming events, including the upcoming Econ-Tourism Trip February 18-24, 2018 and the National Gathering on October 27, 2017.