About the event


Why do some programs run by enterprise support organizations, or ESOs, that provide financial and/or non-financial support make little to no meaningful difference whereas others prove transformative in accelerating agri-SME growth, employment gain, and their ability to raise capital? This session will highlight proven ways ESOs have strengthened their financial sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and impact on agri-SME growth and access to finance, and ways funders can effectively assess, identify and work with ESOs.


Nicholas Colloff, Executive Director, Argidius Foundation

Nicholas Colloff’s career has focused on developing enterprise related solutions to poverty. He was the founder of Opportunity International UK, helping to start two MSME banks in Eastern Europe and an investment fund for financial inclusion for Eastern Europe. After Opportunity, he helped establish Basic Needs, focused on mental health in developing country contexts, where he helped develop a model for community mental health care that included pathways to enhance employment and income generation for people with mental illness. He then joined Oxfam GB first as Country Director for Russia and subsequently Director for Strategy and Innovation globally, focusing on emergent areas of concern – urban poverty, impact investing, micro-insurance – and he helped launch the Small Enterprise Impact Investing Fund. With Argidius, the focus has been on developing small and growing business support ecosystems, especially on identifying the characteristics of an effective business development intervention and how to improve businesses access to knowledge, talent and finance.

Harry Devonshire, Evaluation & Learning Manager, Argidius Foundation

Harry’s career has focused on sustainable development. Harry has previously built financing mechanisms and carried out finance raises for ag and social enterprises in Uganda, provided sustainability advisory and assurance services whilst at Deloitte in London, and since joining Argidius in 2015, developed and manages Argidius’ learning agenda comprising of the foundation’s impact monitoring and management; evaluation program; research partnerships; communications; advocacy; and, the development of grantees’ organisational effectiveness.


Event Details:

Event dates: May 25, 2022, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM GMT+2

Location: Webinar

Organizer: SAFIN



Quote: Charging SMEs for enterprise support, even at nominal amounts, often results in increased attendance, engagement and results from the enterprise,” Harry Devonshire, Evaluation & Learning Manager, Argidius Foundation

Summary article:

This event built on the main findings of the report ”How to fulfil the potential of Business Development Services (BDS) using SCALE”, which introduces five fundamental considerations for increasing the efficiency of such support when provided to small and medium-sized enterprises. When applied to the agriculture sector during the session, the following insights emerged:

1. Selection is particularly challenging in the agriculture sector

2. The type of support offered (what) is less important than the delivery process (how)

3. Pursuing access to finance can influence selection and problem solving

4. Different cost-benefit outcomes can be assigned to different types of support services

Read more


Session videos: