February 8, 2023
After closing out the first month of 2023, we are still reflecting on the important progress we made last year in advancing our mission amid a uniquely challenging economic, political and social climate for small and medium-sized enterprises in Southern Africa -- and approaching a new phase of Shared Interest’s work. Through our new business model and updated strategic plan, we are laser-focused on achieving our guiding star, which calls for scaling up the implementation of our new model in our five countries of focus (South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Eswatini) and working with 10 commercial lenders to ultimately benefit 100,000 Black and economically disenfranchised Southern Africans.
We look forward to another year of working with our communities that make our work...work. Thank you for joining us as we empower Black women entrepreneurs and other small and medium-sized enterprises working at the intersection of addressing some of Southern Africa’s most urgent development challenges: climate change, gender equity, agriculture, fintech, and social enterprises.
Ann M. McMikel
Here are some of our 2022 accomplishments because of you!
Shared Interest exceeded our deployment target of $3.5 million in 2022 and deployed $4.1 million in high-impact deals in South Africa, Malawi, and Zambia that scaled the work of small and medium-sized enterprises in these countries and unlocked critical capital from key local lending institutions. By 2024, our deployment goal is to provide between $8 million to $11 million in high-impact, sustainable deals that support our development priorities of agriculture, climate change, women’s entrepreneurship, fintech and social enterprises. Key deployment highlights in 2022 include:
Partnering with Lead Impact Capital to support an Inclusive Housing Fund (IHF) that will provide affordable housing in South Africa. This project is an exciting example of our impactful deployment in South Africa under our new and innovative business model, which calls for working with a diverse portfolio of partners on the ground with expertise in sourcing high-impact business deals, inclusive lending, monitoring and evaluation. Through IHF, approximately 31 low-cost apartment buildings with about 470 rental units will be built—creating 500 jobs and benefitting 1,500 individuals with housing, particularly women.
Collaborating with former Malawian President Joyce Banda through the Joyce Banda Foundation International Market Women’s Activities Initiative and providing a $1 million portfolio loan guarantee to FDH Bank to increase its capacity to lend to majority women-owned Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in Malawi. This initiative will promote gender-smart lending practices, including movable collateral registries and products and services that leverage technology and increase access to capital for women entrepreneurs.
Working with Inde Credit in Zambia to scale up our support and provide working capital finance solutions to Zambian SMEs, particularly those that provide services to the mining, food and beverage, and construction industries. Under this guarantee, Farm Depot is our most recent SME that supplies farming inputs to rural-based farmers, and also provides technical assistance to the farmers through partner organizations.
Shared Interest expanded the gender and geographical diversity of its Board of Directors and welcomed four new board members:
Lea Conrad (South Africa) – Managing Director, Conrad Advisory
Faith Khanyile (South Africa) – Chairperson, WDB Growth Fund
Stacy Manvitz (U.S.) – Impact Investor
Dr. Cynthia Spence (U.S.) – Associate Professor of Sociology / Director, UNCF/Mellon Programs /Director, Social Justice Scholars Program, Spelman College
Shared Interest deepened the impact of our work by implementing a Racial Justice Board Resolution and Racial Justice Framework that prioritizes systems change, the economic empowerment of women, and critical community partnerships, including:
The Kick-Off of our virtual Community Conversation on Racial Justice Series included the hosting of 6 virtual conversations and featured key thought leaders and community partners who are advancing the fight for racial, economic and gender justice. Our 2022 speaker line-up included: Gay McDougall, Albie Sachs, Attorney Benjamin Crump, Joyce Masi, Marion Bergman, Donna Katzin, Amazon’s Black Employee Network, Dr. Joan Benson, Trevor Manuel, Faith Khanyile, Lea Conrad, Janet Jobson and Grace Matlhape.
Targeted Partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities for screenings of the Mission: Joy Film that highlights the powerful relationship between Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. HBCU student voices were incorporated in a special Archbishop Desmond Tutu Gala Tribute last year.
Shared Interest was awarded $100,000 from the Nasdaq Foundation to support our racial justice work with the next generation of black leaders who attend HBCUs. This grant will support HBCU students learning about the field of social impact/ESG investments and opportunities to advance sustainable development in black and economically disenfranchised communities in the US and Southern Africa. This new project will expose students to a wide range of career opportunities in the field, generating a pipeline of young leaders of color, and ultimately improving the diversity of backgrounds and perspectives within the sector.
Shared Interest boosted its profile through special events. On October 12th, we hosted Shared Interest’s 28th Anniversary Virtual Gala - Sustainable Tech: Celebrating Innovation and Rural Technology that featured performances from India Arie and Simphiwe Dana, and an inspirational tribute to Archbishop Desmond Tutu tribute. The event highlighted how technology is leveling the playing field for an inclusive world and are working to create thriving digital economies that support rural tech-based entrepreneurship, small and growing businesses, and job creation in emerging markets in Africa. This year’s honorees were: Inde Credit, a non-bank financial institution we partner with in Zambia that recently received its second guarantee; Dr. Gillian Marcelle, Managing Director at Resilience Capital LLC; and William Asiko, VP Africa Regional Office, Rockefeller Foundation.
In the summer we featured the film Mission: Joy – Finding Happiness in Troubled Times which shows the unlikely friendship between two Nobel Peace Prize winners—Dalai Lama and Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Through this regional film event series, we partnered with Spelman College, Morehouse College and Fordham University’s Ubuntu Program to help HBCU students emerge personal interests in social justice action and amplified their voices on the impact that Emeritus Archbishop Tutu had on them and their social justice work.
Board members hosted regional gala watch parties in Tyrone, GA, Washington, DC, and New York City providing exciting opportunities to highlight the work of Shared Interest in intimate settings, raise funds and engage new community donors and partners.
Shared Interest established the Donna Katzin Imbokodo Donor Circle that will build on our founder Donna Katzin’s legacy. We announced the second phase of the Donna Katzin Imbokodo Legacy Fund that transitioned to the Donna Katzin Imbokodo Donor Circle. The donor circle mobilizes a diverse group of women leaders and allies in supporting, championing and investing in Black women entrepreneurs and the circle of support they need to build healthy communities and drive sustainable impact in Southern Africa. Learn more…
Shared Interest refreshed its logo and website. As we scale our work through a new business model, we thought it was time our brand reflect our new vision, goals and priorities for growing our impact. We hope you find our new brand identity, logo and website more vibrant, inspiring and innovative. Check out our website.