Angel Networks in Emerging Markets: A Guide for Development Institutions

Entrepreneurship is a key driver of economic development – when new businesses launch and grow, they create jobs, address customer needs through market-based solutions, and drive demand for other products and services from a supply chain. With this knowledge in mind, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other development institutions have increasingly dedicated resources to bolstering entrepreneurial ecosystems in order to fuel these economic ripple effects.

A critical component of strong entrepreneurial ecosystems are angel investors – individual investors who make relatively small, private investments to support enterprises through their more high-risk early stages. While angel investors often invest individually, they may collaborate with each other through angel networks, which bring together member investors for mutual benefit.

In 2018, USAID’s Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE) Initiative engaged CASE to investigate angel network models to analyze strategies and best practices, as well as make recommendations for how development institutions can leverage angel networks to reach their economic development goals. CASE was happy to partner with Millbook Impact and the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business on this initiative. The research team explored angel networks in parts of Latin America, Middle East/North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

This guide provides five specific recommendations and three tools for USAID, development institutions, bilateral and multilateral donors, and other investors to engage with and support angel networks in emerging markets in order to leverage local, private capital to fuel early-stage enterprises.

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