Posts for Enclude Blog

Posted on June 21, 2017

Posted by: Enclude

As you may have seen, the preparations for SOCAP ’17 are underway. We’ve proposed some topics for discussion based on what we’re thinking about and working on these days. Below is a brief overview of the topics we have proposed – if any (or all!) of these sound interesting, please follow the link(s) and vote for them to be part of the SOCAP programme this October 10-17 in San Francisco. Each person is able to vote for as many sessions as they would like. 

Posted on June 20, 2017

Posted By Carolijn Gommans, Senior Consultant Agricultural Finance and Digital Financial Services & Janske van Eijck Consultant, Sustainable Business Practices

In a project funded by the EU and implemented by IFAD under the Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) for Africa, Enclude and the West Africa Rice Company are working with extension agents, a local financial institution and a private palm oil processor to improve yields, product quality and access to finance for smallholder farmers. The project’s extension agents have organized 2230 local growers into 152 farmers’ groups for training and resource sharing, and on their travels by motorbike throughout the countryside around Daru, are finding many opportunities for increasing smallholder productivity, as well as an enthusiastic and engaged audience among the farmers.DSC_0236

For many years, local farmers did little or no maintenance, such as weeding or pruning, on their trees, and often planted lower quality local varieties with much lower yields than hybrid seeds. In addition, many were not aware that seeds collected from hybridized plants will not produce in the second generation, but since it takes 3-4 for a palm oil tree to mature and bear fruit, much time was invested and lost in growing trees that would never yield properly.

Posted on June 19, 2017

Posted by Steven von Eije, Senior Consultant, Sustainable Business Practices – Clean Energy & Lara Pawlak, Director of Human and Intellectual Capital

Lack of energy access slows economic growth, limits the productivity of people and businesses, and has severe negative impacts on health due to the indoor combustion of solid biomass for cooking and heating. The most reliable and affordable energy services have typically been provided via national electrical grids, but connecting households and small businesses to the power grid in remote rural areas with low population density requires a high investment per capita.

With renewable energy sources becoming increasingly cost competitive, decentralized mini-grids that are at least partly powered by renewable energy are starting to provide a serious alternative to national grids providing centralized, fossil-based electricity. Compared to other off-grid options such as solar home systems, mini-grids are able to deliver a considerably higher voltages capable of powering heavier equipment for commercial purposes, such as refrigeration or manufacturing. Another important advantage of mini-grid development is the fact that it is typically less time consuming than grid extension.

The International Energy Agency estimates that 140 million Africans who currently don’t have access to electricity could be served by mini-grids. This would mean, however, that between 100,000 and 200,000 new mini-grids would need to be deployed – 4,000 to 8,000 per year through 2040 – which is a much more rapid pace of development than is currently observed.

Posted on June 14, 2017

Posted by Rebecca Marx, Capital Advisory Analyst

Maybe it is about the money – but it’s not just about the money. In an interview for a new report released by Enclude and Echoing Green, Echoing Green Portfolio Segmentation Report, co-founder Domenico Centrone of EggPlant, a company reusing wastewater to produce bioplastics, shared that he declined offers of investment because the prospective source either did not have clean-tech expertise, or proposed terms for

Source: Echoing Green

Source: Echoing Green

funding that would have oriented the company away from its vision. As EggPlant continues to test its product and business model, the leadership team is determined to find a patient lead investor with expertise in their sector that does not have unrealistic return-on-investment timeline expectations.

As 2015 Echoing Green Climate Fellows, EggPlant co-founders Domenico and Paulo Stufano received a $80,000 recoverable grant, two years of leadership development support, and lifetime access to a vibrant community of leaders. Echoing Green launched its impact investing program to support the growing number of applicants to the Fellowship program electing hybrid or for-profit legal structures.

Posted on June 13, 2017

Posted by: Victoria Rau, Senior Analyst, Inclusive Finance 

Leaving the city of Jijiga to conduct focus groups in a village, I expected to face some rough terrain. I imagined unpaved roads, lots of dust, and a serious test of our SUV’s suspension.

In the day I had already spent in Jijiga, the Somali region had proved a sharp departure from fast-paced, modern Addis Ababa. There were camels to greet visitors on the road from the airport to the city, and from about one in the afternoon until five or six o’clock, shops were shuttered and business interactions paused for the Somali equivalent of the siesta: afternoons were spent resting and chewing khat, a plant with stimulant, euphoric and appetite suppressant effects that is traditionally chewed as a social custom in the Horn of Africa.

Posted on June 12, 2017

Posted by: Tricia Cuna Weaver, Consultant, Channels & Linkages

“We believe water is the way. To break the cycle of poverty. To protect and save lives. To turn time spent into time saved. To make a bright future possible for all.”

This is the belief statement of, an international non-profit with a mission to make water and sanitation safe, accessible, and cost-effective worldwide.

Water tap for a household in India financed through a WaterCredit loan  Photo credit: Tricia Cuna Weaver

Water tap for a household in India financed through a WaterCredit loan
Photo credit: Tricia Cuna Weaver

Founded by Matt Damon and Gary White in 2009, currently works in 12 countries throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America and has impacted over four million people.

Enclude recently had the opportunity to support’s efforts to expand access to clean water and sanitation services (WSS) by identifying and evaluating potential applications of digital finance for the WSS sector. Our work drew from global trends in digital financial services (DFS), providing a primer to staff on DFS and its applications not only to WSS, but also to the agriculture, energy, and education sectors that could also generate relevant insights.This is the belief statement of, an international non-profit with a mission to make water and sanitation safe, accessible, and cost-effective worldwide. Founded by Matt Damon and Gary White in 2009, currently works in 12 countries throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America and has impacted over four million people.

Posted on December 13, 2016

In the past decade, a wide range of business acceleration models have emerged around the world in both developed countries and increasingly, in developing countries. In their essence, these accelerator programs (APs) are a way to shorten the journey of start-ups, resulting in either quicker growth or quicker failure. More specifically, an accelerator program typically provides short, focused interventions aimed at scaling the most viable start-ups and providing the necessary financial means for growth.

Despite their growing popularity there is little systematized knowledge about the different types of acceleration models and approaches which have emerged. Particularly in emerging countries, the insights into the performance of these programs is limited.

Enclude – in collaboration with Emory University’s Goizueta Business School and the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) – is doing a research project on accelerator programs in several Sub-Saharan African countries, on behalf of the World Bank Group’s infoDev.

Posted on December 12, 2016

DANIDA. Denmark’s development cooperation agency, has a longstanding commitment to the development of the agricultural sector in Burkina Faso, providing support since 1992. Building on this long-term engagement, Enclude is working with DANIDA to unlock economic potential all along the agricultural value chains in Burkina Faso through the implementation of the access to finance component of the Economic Growth in the Agricultural Sector Program (PCESA).

In Burkina Faso, the agricultural sector accounts for 30% of gross domestic product and employs 86% of the population. Agricultural development is thus key to reducing poverty in Burkina Faso – considering that 43.9% of the population lives under the poverty line, with production systems dominated by subsistence farming. Access to credit was identified as a critical barrier at the outset of the PCESA’s predecessor. To address this barrier, the new program included a technical assistance component to two major banks, which Enclude was selected to implement starting in 2014.

Posted on November 02, 2016

Posted by: Enclude


This picture was taken during a training provided by Enclude in Senegal, for the municipality of Saint-Louis, on sustainable municipal waste management. The 2-day training was designed to build the capacity of municipal staff (mayor, civil servants, planners, cleaners and others) and related organisations on waste management and how to make strategic choices about it that are most suitable to the local context. This was a World Bank funded mission, under a larger technical assistance project for the government of Senegal.

Posted on November 01, 2016

Posted by: Kelly Robbins, Special Projects Lead

Enclude is thrilled to be one of the recipients of the 2016 ANDE Catalyst Fund grants!  What are we going to do with it?

With the support of the fund, Enclude will pilot a Gender Benchmarking Tool, designed to empower banks to serve women better through insights from publicly available big data.

The Challenge

Roughly one-third of all small and medium enterprises in developing countries are led by women, yet only 16-18% of SME lending goes to women-led enterprises.  We know that the opportunity to support this growth could be as large as USD 350 billion[1].  Yet strides still need to be made in designing and delivering accessible capital to women entrepreneurs.  Real change for women will not be accomplished by a handful of isolated lending programs.  Banks around the globe need to address a holistic picture of how they work with and for women: designing targeted loan products, confronting gender bias in loan approval, and bundling loans with other products women entrepreneurs need (such as savings and mobile payments).  Even more, banks need to consider how they employ women, how they market to women, and how success with these key clients can be measured in gender-disaggregated data.  Achieving maximum impact in terms of closing the credit gap means grappling with this holistic picture.

The Solution

To address the credit gap challenge, Enclude has developed a standardized Gender Benchmarking Tool that assesses banks’ performance and effectiveness in serving women customers, particularly women entrepreneurs.  The Tool combines a scorecard assessment of quantitative and qualitative performance of the bank, with a graphical analysis of women entrepreneurs’ practices and preferences in the relevant regional and national markets.  The client bank’s scorecard results are benchmarked against the regional realities and competitor performance to deliver clear recommendations for the most effective ways to improve services for women.

The Gender Benchmarking Tool’s specialized software design mines big data to deliver tailored insights banks need to serve women clients well.  This design is responsive to continuous updates of public data, and can fluently drill down by product type or delivery channel within the national or regional market of the client bank.

How will it work to close the credit gap?  For each bank, the assessment delivers:

  1. An accurate overview of the bank’s current levels of gender performance, benchmarked against other financial institutions in the same market
  2. Facilitation of self-defined gender impact goals
  3. An understanding of best practices for serving women clients, and a clear picture of local practices
  4. Recommendations of the most efficient and effective improvements based on the bank’s gender performance, in tailoring marketing, products, delivery channels, and operational practices

We are excited to pursue the pilot of the Gender Benchmarking Tool, with the support of ANDE and our fellow members.  If you are interested in giving input or participating in the pilot, please contact Kelly Robbins at

And finally – congrats to our fellow recipients: Alterna, el Buen Socio and Value for Women, Kiva, and Synergy Social Ventures!

[1] IFC, “Closing the Credit Gap for Formal and Informal Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises”