The Argidius-ANDE Talent Challenge (AATC)
Finding talented managers is a critical challenge for entrepreneurs everywhere, but it is especially difficult in emerging markets. The Argidius Foundation and the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) Talent Challenge identified five promising solutions to the human capital constraints faced by small and growing businesses (SGBs). Creative Metier was selected alongside Amani Institute, Open Capital Advisors, Shortlist and Village Capital as winners. Winners were selected based on the clarity, feasibility, capacity, expected impact and scalability of the proposed solution.
Creative Metier’s Prize Winning Solution
To develop the market for executive coaching for Kenyan SGBs, by working with professionally qualified local executive coaches to support SGB senior leadership and orientate local coaching firms (who are themselves micro or small businesses), to deliver an ongoing service to the SGB market.
Program Design and Features
The program was designed to demonstrate the potential of executive coaching for SGBs, and the potential of a market development approach to deliver a sustainable supply of professional services to SGBs by addressing key market constraints including supply, demand and lack of information. Ten SGBs were competitively selected to represent the diversity of SGB business types and structures, with coaching firms selected for their potential to deliver a high quality and sustainable service to the SGB market.
Business Growth and Resilience
The Kenyan business environment was particularly challenging for SGBs during 2017/18 with a severe and sustained slowdown of the economy due to political shocks, severe drought, and other socio-economic factors. Despite this, SGBs engaged in the program reported increased revenues and employment (on average). Nine out of the ten participating SGBs reported that their better than expected performance was due to the executive coaching, with the coaching sessions contributing to greater business resilience.
The program delivered proof of concept with the SGBs achieving significant business results and reporting the value of executive coaching in achieving these outcomes. At the end of the program, participating SGBs had identified unmet financing needs to build on their success which demonstrated the program’s potential value in creating a pipeline for investment and engagement with accelerators. Whilst the SGBs recognize the value of executive coaching, and will use coaching services in the future, there is a mismatch between what they are able to pay and the fees that the coaches need to charge. There are however indicators that market forces are resolving this gap as the supply of qualified coaches increases and prices soften, while the value attributed to coaching increases as a result of ecosystem level interventions such as this program.
The growth and resilience achieved by the SGBs, opportunity for financing and emerging balancing of the supply and for this powerful professional service shows the strength and sustainability of Creative Metier’s market based approach.