Amani Institute wins the Argidius-ANDE Talent Challenge

September 25, 2019

Selected among 5 finalists globally to receive a 1 million Euro grant to scale its pioneering leadership program in East Africa, India and Brazil

Francesca Folda
Global Communication Director
+39 335 7788911

Jill Ivey
Jilletante Creative
+1 215.806.2951

Chantilly, VA, September 26, 2019— The Argidius Foundation and the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) declared Amani Institute the winner of the Argidius-ANDE Talent Challenge (AATC). Amani Institute’s award-winning leadership program provides an innovative and highly effective leadership development solution that creates value for Small and Growing Businesses (SGB) that leads to immediate improved business results.

Finding talented managers is a critical challenge for entrepreneurs everywhere, but it is especially difficult in emerging markets. To help overcome this hurdle, the Argidius Foundation and the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) launched the talent challenge in 2016 to identify highly promising solutions to human capital constraints in key emerging markets worldwide and provide seed funding to scale these models. An expert panel of SGB sector professionals selected the 5 winners from more than 85 applicants based on the clarity, feasibility, capacity, expected impact and scalability of the proposed solution.

As one of five winners of the first round of the Challenge, Amani Institute successfully launched the Amani Leadership and Management for Impact (ALMI) program in 2017. Since its inception the program has trained 130 middle and senior managers from 50 Small and Growing Businesses in East Africa. Nearly one in three companies that send one manager to this program end up sending more managers after that – a testament to the program’s effectiveness.

Following an intensive evaluation of the five programs which won the first round of the AATC, Argidius Foundation and ANDE today announced that the ALMI program by Amani Institute is the grand prize winner. As a result, Argidius Foundation will provide Amani Institute a grant of EUR 1,000,000 to support scaling up the project to India and Brazil, while continuing to grow in East Africa.

Scaling the program

With the 10th cohort of this successful program starting in Kenya on October 4th, Amani Institute plans to launch the program globally later this year under the new name Leadership for Growth (L4G), starting from India and following with Brazil (where the program will run in Portuguese as AGE, Acelerando Gestores para Escalar). The aim of the program continues to be an attempt to solve the middle management bottle-neck to growth and scale.

Amani Institute Co-Founder Roshan Paul says: “Any program we design creates value for both the organization and the individual. Leadership for Growth has been custom designed in emerging markets and tested to answer the specific needs of small businesses. This is the only leadership and management program with a consistent track record of business results.”

Caroline Gertsch, Amani institute’s Kenya Country Director, explains: “We wanted to design a program that is true to our mantra that ‘learning only produces value when it is applied on the job’. The modular structure of Leadership for Growth, its equal focus on three pillars of leadership (self, others and the business), and the immediate application of tools and knowledge on the job: this is what has led to measurable results”.

Of the 50+ companies that have participated in the East Africa edition, on average companies see growth by more than 20% and have together accessed more than $3million in investment finance after participating in the program.

“We are glad to support Amani Institute’s leadership program globally because Argidius aims to help entrepreneurs to build profitable businesses, which in turn contributes to the sustainable development of their communities – Nicholas Colloff, Executive Director of Argidius, underlines. We strongly believe talent development is key for business growth and this program has been a clear proof of this concept”.

Randall Kempner, Executive Director of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), adds: “SGBs do more than create jobs and generate income.  Successful SGBs also cultivate a spirit of entrepreneurship that can transform the economic and social culture of developing nations.  A program like Amani’s that inspires and trains entrepreneurial leaders at SGBs has the potential to create long-term positive impacts, both for businesses and society”.

“We want to thank both Argidius Foundation and ANDE who believed in our project and guided us along this process” says Ilaina Rabbat, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Amani Institute.  “We also want to thank all the enlightened CEOs and founders of dozens of SGBs in East Africa that have invested in their talent development through us. Their satisfaction and the direct impact on their businesses is the best encouragement for us to move forward with developing a new generation of managers who can lead with integrity and empathy while making their businesses successful, purpose-driven, and sustainable.”

About Argidius Foundation
Since the 1980s, the Argidius Foundation has been working to catalyze economic development in low- and middle-income countries, especially in Africa and Central America. Convinced of the potential that small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) hold for employment creation, income generation, and poverty reduction, our strategy focuses on building their capacity and improving their access to finance. By improving the effectiveness and reach of SME capacity development services, we aim to help entrepreneurs to build profitable businesses and contribute to the sustainable development of their communities. For more information, please visit:

About ANDE
The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) is a global network of organizations that propel entrepreneurship in emerging markets. ANDE members provide critical financial, educational, and business support services to small and growing businesses (SGBs) based on the conviction that SGBs will create jobs, stimulate long-term economic growth, and produce environmental and social benefits.

As the leading global voice of the small and growing business sector, ANDE believes that SGBs are a powerful, yet underleveraged tool in addressing social and environmental challenges. Since 2009, we have grown into a trusted network of nearly 300 collaborative members that operate in nearly every emerging market. ANDE grows the body of knowledge, mobilizes resources, and connects the institutions that propel the small business entrepreneurs who build inclusive prosperity in the developing world. For more information, visit

About Amani Institute
Responding to the widely recognised gap between higher education and the employment marketplace, Amani Institute is preparing a new generation of leaders tackling the world’s toughest problems. Amani Institute’s mission comes to life through its award-winning Certificate in Social Innovation Management, which runs in Kenya, Brazil, and India. This program has enrolled 490 Fellows from more than 63 countries and has been featured in Fast Company, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Forbes, CNBC Africa, and Vanity Fair, among others.

Amani Institute also specializes in developing customized training programs for foundations, universities, NGOs, and companies. Previous clients from around the world have included UNICEF, Ashoka, Vodafone, Deloitte, Georgetown University, CRY, Nilekani Philanthropies, 91 Springboard, CARE, and Oxfam. Amani Institute currently trains thousands of changemakers each year through a varied mix of programs and brings thousands to events on 21st-century careers, the future of work, and social innovation.

Through developing individuals who have the knowledge, practical skills, vision, courage, and networks to take on major challenges, Amani Institute builds much-needed capacity in organizations leading social impact, thus enabling more effective operations across the field.

For more information, visit


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