A note from the team

As we reflect on the end of this financial year, the time we’ve spent instrospecting and re-evaluating over the last 12 months is beginning to bear fruit. This time last year we were rapidly pivoting our operation to adapt to a COVID-19 world, then focusing on our own resilience and future as an organisation. If 2020 was spent crafting a cocoon, then the last quarter has been the time needed for metamorphosis to take place. 

As we face second, third, fourth waves, new variants, shortages and unequal access to vaccines – the world still seems to be grappling with the thought that things will return to normal. However, normal means something different now. We can’t get back to where we were, and we shouldn’t want to – at no point did the old normal serve everyone. The longer we wait for the world to go back to normal, the more time we divert from creating a better one. We’re charging full ahead, doing our best to help change that trajectory and carve a path where all people have an opportunity for economic empowerment through equal access and inclusion in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

This quarter the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) team have finalised our latest impact data collection, and the ygap Kenya team ran our first in-person program for the year with their Accelerator Program. We’ve also had a lot of staff changes – some new faces, some familiar, and some who have sadly moved on. It’s been a big quarter, and we hope you enjoy reading about everything that’s been happening at ygap. 

As always, thank you for your support. 

Team ygap

Impact Focus

Enterprise Data Collection Report

“If you’ve been keeping up with ygap for a while now, you would have heard us talk about our evolving impact measurement practices and learnt a bit about how we manage our impact and what data we collect to make our impact case. Now that we’re slowly building up a depository of data, what can we do with it?

During February this year, we ran our latest round of annual enterprise data collection. Enterprise data is what we collect from our ygap alumni up to two years after they complete their ygap program, and includes indicators such as whether their businesses are still operating, what their annual sales revenue are, how many employees they currently employ and how much funding or investments they have raised. The purpose of collecting this data is to construct a picture of the venture and the changes they’ve experienced since coming out of our program and to analyse how our program and support has played a role in those changes.

Across March and April, each in-country Impact team sat down with the MEL team to consider their data, and using annual sales revenue as a proxy for venture growth, in-country Impact teams reflected on the progress and outcomes that have occurred in the ventures we’ve supported, to evaluate the contribution of the ygap intervention, and determine the areas where we might have fallen short.”

Hedda Ngan, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Manager

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Q4 Program Impact Data

Kenya Accelerator Program

For over 7 years ygap Kenya has run a total of 13 accelerator programs to support local entrepreneurship, with June 2021 being the largest cohort yet. The ygap Kenya 2021 Accelerator program commenced on June 13th with a 5 day intensive live-in accelerator at Lukenya Getaway in Athi River. For ygap Kenya, this marked the start of yet another partnership with The Argidius Foundation for the span of 2021-2023, strategically built around the common goal of helping entrepreneurs establish profitable businesses and contribute to the sustainable development of their communities. In addition, this was ygap Kenya’s first accelerator run after the COVID 19 Pandemic hit the country in March, 2020.

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Partner thanks and recognition

We’d like to say a heartfelt thank-you to some of our fantastic partners who have renewed their commitment to supporting ygap over the last quarter. Their continued faith in our work means we can keep championing entrepreneurship that creates equitable and sustainable change across the world. 

  • The Cameron Foundation committed $100k over four years in support of our ygap Accelerator program and wider ecosystem work in Kenya.
  • The Grow Corp Foundation committed $200k in support of the ygap First Gens program and our yher programs in Africa and the Pacific Islands 
  • The Noel and Carmel O’Brien Family Foundation committed $100k to support our ygap Accelerator program and wider ecosystem work in South Africa. 
  • The Roberts Pike Family Foundation committed $75k for the yher Pacific Islands program, to support women entrepreneurs and sustainability in the island region.

Team Update

Our staff are the beating heart of what we do. This quarter has seen sad departures, exciting new hires, and some significant role changes.

Marisha Nair joins us as the new First Gens Program Manager. She has a rich background working across human rights, climate change and communications, and we can’t wait to see where she takes First Gens going forward.

Mercy Munene has joined the ygap Kenya team in the position of Business Development Officer. Mercy’s role signifies a new phase of growth for the ygap Kenya team, and we are so happy to have her on board.

Nonney Kalinta is our first ever ygap Pasifika intern! She is assisting Talei with an exciting range of work, from the upcoming yher Pacific Islands program, to the ecosystem work we’re undertaking with Fiji. 

Taryn Yat joins the Polished Man team in the position of Graphic Designer. She brings a wealth of experience and a creative eye to our campaign designs. We’re excited to have her on board for Polished Man 2021.

Audrey Jean-Baptiste, who started her ygap journey with yher Pacific Islands and then headed up our ecosystem work in ygap Collaborations, has been promoted to Director of Strategy and Operations – a new role that sits on the ygap Leadership team.

Hedda Ngan, our incredible Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Officer, has been promoted to Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Manager to reflect the growing scope of her work across all of ygap’s operations. 

Kaitlin Tait, who returned from maternity leave this quarter, has stepped into the exciting new position of Head of Learning and Design.

It was with a heavy heart that ygap farewelled our Head of Global Programs and long-time staff member, Simon Lee. Simon was not only incredibly good at his job, having led ygap’s impact to new and exciting heights during his tenure, but he was also a delight to work with. We’re proud of Simon for taking the next step in his career and wish him all the best for his future endeavours.

In the Spotlight

ygap is a proud member of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), and we were honoured to be featured in their member spotlight this quarter.

“For the first time in our thirteen year organizational history, we are changing our vision to better reflect the evolution of our work and the global challenges facing us all. Rather than focusing on “a world without poverty,” we are striving towards achieving “an equitable and sustainable world” through the types of inclusive entrepreneurial activities that we support.”

Follow the link below to hear ygap CEO Mark Harwood speak to ygap’s exciting new direction, moving from a vision of a world without poverty to one of an equitable and sustainable world.

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“The GLIA Community of Practice kicked off this quarter, convening six Entrepreneur Support Organisations (ESOs) from around Southeast Asia committed to advancing gender equality through their work. Many of the organisations were involved in the past few years of work undertaken to develop the Gender Lens Incubation and Acceleration (GLIA) Toolkit. Facilitated by ygap and with the support of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, the six participating members will spend the next 12 months identifying and testing a set of “minimum standards” for gender lens incubation and acceleration. This is in an attempt to answer the prevalent question – how do we define ‘gender smart’ organisations and programs?

It has been noted among those working across a number of gender projects in Southeast Asia that there is a need for concrete, measurable evidence of an organisation’s progress towards gender lens application. We are confident that convening this group will be the start of that.

The Community of Practice will be supported by a flexible resource hub, which will see the ygap team working to undertake research and develop curriculum content and workshops that will aid these ESOs along their journey of pursuing these standards.”

Tishya Desai, ygap Collaborations Program Coordinator.

The 25th of May marked Africa Day. Our yher Africa Regional Director, Katleho Tsoku, shared some insights on what Africa Day means nearly 60 years after its establishment, and the power of entrepreneurs to create meaningful change across the continent.

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Thank you