RENEW Strategies

2019 ABG Check-In

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Justin Reesor
| September 27, 2019


In 2016, RENEW signed a collaboration agreement with the development arm of the Canadian federal government, Global Affairs Canada, for a project known as Accelerating Business Growth (ABG). The ABG project aims to support high potential, responsible small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Ethiopia so they can attract and efficiently use finance to scale up, enabling them to play a stronger role in the Ethiopian economy. The project addresses the gap found in the capital markets in Ethiopia and in many other countries in Africa, called the “missing middle”. This missing middle limits the ability of SMEs to access finance to grow their businesses and create sustainable jobs.

The project’s ultimate outcome is to increase employment and generate income opportunities for men, women and young adults from Ethiopia’s small and medium enterprises sector and related value chains. Specifically, RENEW is aiming to support a total of 5,000 jobs and help Ethiopian SMEs attract $52.5M (CAD) of financing to help scale their companies by the time the project concludes in May 2021.

With three years completed, RENEW has made significant progress on both metrics, now supporting 3,944 jobs through the program (79% of target) and having helped Ethiopian SMEs attract $47.5M CAD (91% of target). A sampling of other project targets and current results are as follows:

  • Target: Train 650 SMEs on finance. Current result: 529 (81%).
  • Target: Train 100 resource providers (banks, chambers of commerce, accounting and legal firms, financing institutions, etc.) on finance. Current result: 74 (74%).
  • Target: Annual sales growth rate increase of 10% achieved by companies who participate in The Exec’s Program. Current result: 13.50% (exceeding target).
  • Target: Graduate 50 individuals from The Exec’s Program. Current result: 46** (92%).
  • Target: Graduate 100 finance executives from the CFO100 Program. Current result: 51 (51%).
  • Target: Grow the Impact Angel Network (IAN) by 175 individuals and families. Current result: 73 (42%).

Throughout the project, the team has also developed unique initiatives that directly support the project’s goals and have contributed to the achievements listed above to date, including:

Chigign ‘Tobiya: In partnership with Tonetor Multimedia, RENEW launched Chigign ‘Tobiya, a business pitching TV series broadcast on national television (FANA TV) which aims to raise awareness and build interest in entrepreneurship locally in Ethiopia. The initiative also aims to build out a local Ethiopian angel investor network for SMEs. Two seasons have been fully aired attracting a reported 40M viewers, with season three production now in the final stages. Eleven companies that pitched on the show have advanced to the diligence stage, and RENEW anticipates multiple closings in these companies during 2019.

Women in Finance: RENEW launched the “The Women in Finance” series in 2017 aimed at empowering and inspiring female finance professionals in Ethiopia. Four sessions have since been held in partnership with local banks and organizations, with glowing reviews and results. Guest speakers have been invited and productive discussions have been held related to the unique challenges that women face in the finance industry in Ethiopia. The 5th edition of the program is scheduled for Q4 of 2019.

Women’s Mini-fund: The mini-fund is an investment vehicle that pools funds for investment in multiple (women-owned) companies. The RENEW team wanted to be creative in forming a vehicle that would address the unique constraints faced by women entrepreneurs. More details about the mini-fund can be found in our Press Release from May, as well as in the Press Releases for RENEW’s two new portfolio companies, a company that supports tourism in Ethiopia and a Ugandan diaper company.

For more information on the ABG project, read the blog we published in November of 2016 shortly after the project launch.


The Accelerating Business Growth (ABG) program is undertaken with support from the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada. The Impact Angel Network (IAN) is one of the largest North American-based angel networks dedicated to investing in Africa. RENEW is an impact investment firm working in Ethiopia that manages the IAN and provides professional investment advisory and consulting services in support of its investments.


To find out more about RENEW or the IAN, contact us at renew@renewstrategies.com, follow us on Twitter @RENEWLLC or find us on Instagram @impactangelnetwork. Be sure to check out our upcoming events, including our upcoming Econ-Tourism Trip.

**46 includes our Spring 2019 class who have not yet received their certificates, but who have completed all required coursework and assignments.