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Frontier Market Scouts

Featured FMS Partner: Ayla Schlosser, Founder and Executive Director of Resonate

July 24th, 2014 · No Comments · Africa, Frontier Market Scouts, Scouts in the Field, Uncategorized


Ayla Schlosser, Founder and Executive Director of Resonate

This post was submitted by MPA student and FMS alumna Nicole Manapol

Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign,but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Danger of a Single Story (TED)

Stories are transformative – whether it’s the “official” story of a despotic regime, a beloved myth or the self-destructive narratives we sometimes play in our heads.

No one understands this better than FMS Partner Ayla Schlosser, Founder and Executive Director of Resonate – a startup teaching leadership skills to women and girls through a training course rooted in storytelling. Launched just over a year ago and based in Rwanda, Resonate was founded on the principle that stories matter. Through her background in community organizing and communications consulting, Ayla saw firsthand the importance of storytelling as a tool for affecting change and building leadership capacity. As Ayla often remarks – a compelling story can mean the difference between having an idea about how to fix a problem and actually leading the charge for community-based solutions.

Seeing the potential of narrative-based leadership training in other contexts outside the US, Ayla began looking for organizations where she could use her expertise to catalyze work already being done with women internationally. When no such organization materialized, Ayla (in true entrepreneurial fashion) decided to start her own company…in a country (Rwanda) she had never visited. When asked about the risk of traveling halfway across the world to test a market in which she had no prior experience – Ayla responded – you’re never going to have all the information – at some point you’ve just got to dive in and see what happens…

 In October 2013 Ayla was off to Rwanda.

Why Rwanda? Although Ayla had no prior experience in Rwanda, there were a lot of reasons that made it an ideal place to pilot Resonate’s training. Over the past 20 years Rwanda has been working hard to rebuild its economy. Women’s economic empowerment has been a central feature of the government’s recovery strategy, creating a favorable environment for women’s leadership initiatives. Rwanda also has a strong tradition of oral leadership making the training a good cultural fit.

Resonate training

Resonate Workshop

But perhaps the most compelling reason to launch in Rwanda was a strong partner – the Akilah Intitute for Women, an East African women’s college. As a graduate of Smith College, an all women’s school in the US, Ayla felt a natural affinity with Akilah. Her first training at the college with a group of female journalists still counts as one of her best moments since launching Resonate. Prior to conducting the training, Ayla worried about how participants would receive it – would it make sense? Would it fit the culture? The outcome is something Ayla still proudly recalls. The women got it…but not only did they get it – they were transformed by it. For most of the women at Akilah and also at subsequent trainings that was the first time they had ever told their story, felt how their personal narratives could resonate with others – how they could affect and inspire change. One of the women in a Resonate training later related to Ayla that she keeps the video clip of herself telling her story on her phone to remind herself of that moment – the moment she truly recognized her own strength and what she had to offer others.


Resonate Workshop

With less than a year since launching programs on the ground in Rwanda – Resonate is poised to expand into Kenya and potentially other countries in the Region. Ayla attributes much of her success to her staff on the ground –in particular lead trainer Solange Impanoyimana who came to the project with a strong background in community development, storytelling and radio and who has already taken ownership of the enterprise. Friends, family and professional networks were also incredibly helpful to Ayla as she sought points of contact within Rwanda, developed marketing and communications strategies, fundraised or just simply needed advice.

Ayla recognizes programs like Frontier Market Scouts, which provided her with the talent and human resources to support operations. As a busy entrepreneur, traveling between Rwanda and the US and trying to launch a business, having the time to recruit and screen candidates is a major challenge. The benefit of working with FMS is having the program vet top candidates for you. Through this process Resonate was able to hire Donna Sinar, an MPA candidate at the Monterey Institute of International Studies with significant management experience in the non-profit sector. As a startup, priorities are constantly changing. What Ayla likes best about Donna and her FMS preparation is her ability to be flexible and respond to whatever new priority may arise on a daily basis.

Moving forward Ayla is considering different business models to generate revenue to sustain Resonate, including crowdfunding and a one-for-one training model with corporate CSR programs. There is a lot of interest and demand for Resonate’s Storytelling for Leadership training. The challenge now she says is being strategic about what she pursues given the size and capacity of her team. Other challenges involve fundraising – as many entrepreneurs know you need a history of funding to get funding.

But Ayla is undeterred – my approach is collaborative, I don’t want to re-invent the wheel. This is an exciting time for Resonate – particularly for anyone interested in Resonate’s work. As a startup we are constantly evolving. People who get involved with us now have the unique opportunity to shape what Resonate will be…

Interested in Resonate’s work? Learn how you can get involved:

Interested in becoming an FMS Partner? Apply here

For more information, visit Read our blog at Follow us on Twitter @FMScouts and on Facebook at



Leveraging top talent to help our partners maximize their impact

October 10th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Are you seeking new talent to help with operations or financial management activities? We’d be thrilled to connect you to talented and purpose-driven professionals.


Frontier Market Scouts is currently seeking placement opportunities for our upcoming Winter 2015 cohort of FMS fellows. The 2015 cohort of fellows are an impressive group, hailing from 45 countries, some of the world’s top universities, and have on average 3-5 years of professional experience in a diverse range of industries including:  finance, banking, management consulting, international development, philanthropy and non-profit management.

The FMS Benefit
We vet and train talented professionals then custom match them with fellowships at social start-ups and impact investors. FMS fellows receive a professionally and personally rewarding experience, while enterprises benefit from a passionate team member dedicated to helping them achieve their mission.

Become a FMS 2015 Fellowship Partner:

It’s super easy to become a partner. Below are two ways to engage depending on where you are at in identifying your needs:

1. Interested but want to chat with us first? Click here to complete our partner sign up form.

2.  Ready to submit an opportunity? Download our  job description template and submit to

Top 5 things to know about becoming an FMS fellowship partner:

1. We will have a new cohort of 60 Fellows ready to be placed during our FMS Winter 2015 trainings in Monterey (January 12-23) and Amsterdam (February 16-27).

2. We require that partners pay our fellows a minimum of $250 USD for a full- or part-time contract lasting anywhere between two to 12 months.

3. If you are interested in considering an FMS Fellow for 2-12 months beginning in January or February 2015, please send us a job description by October 31, 2014 at

4. FMS fellowship candidates complete a comprehensive two-week preparatory training before field assignments begin. As part of this process, the FMS placement team coordinates individual consultations and screenings with each FMS fellowship candidate, to develop a more accurate assessment of professional maturity and character before recommending candidates to partners.

5. The FMS placement team will typically match 3-6 candidates for each job description submitted by a partner. Partners can select interviewees and offer positions to candidates at their discretion.

Learn more about our Placement Process

What our FMS partners are saying: 

Ayla Schlosser, Founder and Executive Director of Resonate
As a busy entrepreneur, traveling between Rwanda and the US and trying to launch a business, having the time to recruit and screen candidates is a major challenge. The benefit of working with FMS is having the program vet top candidates for you. 

Zoe Schlag, Unltd USAOur experience with Cristina, our current FMS Fellow, has been incredibly positive and she has had a significant impact on our ability to find and support early-stage social entrepreneurs. We would be honored to have another fellow.

Anand Kulkarni, CEO of MobileworksWe are very happy with the FMS candidates we’ve worked with before – we hired our last Fellow into a full-time role.  I would love to have some additional Frontier Market Scouts Fellows.

To learn more please contact Nicole Manapol, Partner Engagement Associate at or visit


Get a Preview of our FMS Winter 2015 Cohort!

October 1st, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

FMS Infographic_W2015 Applicants



New Opportunity for FMS Alums and MIIS Students to Gain Live Impact Investing Experience!

September 30th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

The new MBA Green Light Initiative Practicum calls for action-based research to focus market-based innovations for clean cookstoves

This is an incredible opportunity for our students to gain live impact investing experience and practical knowledge on the global adoption of technological innovations for Base-of-the-Pyramid markets.– Yuwei Shi, Dean of the Graduate School of International Policy and Management and Co-founder of the Frontier Market Scouts Program

About the Project

MIIS recently formed a partnership with I-DEV and GACC to launch a year-long investment analysis project for FMS alums and current graduate students to work with professional mentors and gain practical experience while reviewing and making recommendations on clean cooking companies seeking investment from the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves’s venture grant funds. FMS alums are eligible to become the project lead while graduate students form into non-competitive teams for the cycle of the due diligence process.

Why This is Important Work  – Check out the Video

The Perks

  • Exposure to live impact investing deals
  • Professional connections in impact investing
  • Mentor guidance
  • Gain in-depth knowledge of the clean cookstove industry in emerging markets

Who Should Apply

MIIS MBAs or other graduate students in a related international development or business field with a keen interest in gaining live impact investing experience. Time Requirements* Able to offer 30-40 hours to conduct due diligence and analysis from October 20 through December 3 for the first investment process and 20 hours for the next two investment processes running January through April. Those graduating in December are still eligible as long as they can commit to working through the last two investment processes.

How to Apply

Interested MIIS MBA students should apply by email to by October 1st.  Please include a C.V. and short statement to answer the following:

  1. Why you are interested
  2. Previous experience that could be beneficial to analyzing potential investments
  3. How this relates to your career goals



The FMS Placement Process Explained

September 26th, 2014 · No Comments · Frontier Market Scouts, Scouts in the Field, Uncategorized

The career-defining opportunity to work with social ventures and impact investment firms around the world.


“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”  ~ John Steinbeck

Jose (FMS ’13) getting ready to take off.

I’ve loved learning about the startup environment, the issues startups face, the time and resource constraints. It’s not like the corporate world where you have departments doing the work for you – you have to be resourceful, you do not have the luxury of time to research the best approach, you’ve got to just get in there and figure it out.

 – Albert Wong, FMS Fellow at One Degree Solar

Get ready to embark on one of the most professionally and personally rewarding experiences of your career. As an FMS Fellow you will join a network of nearly 300 impact-driven professionals who share your passion and dedication to solving today’s most intractable social problems through social enterprise and impact investment.

Ready to get started? Here is a snapshot of what you can expect on the first part of this exciting journey.

  • Program Welcome (Webinar and Fellow Handbook): the FMS Fellowship begins with an online webinar to welcome participants to the program and provide an overview of what to expect during the upcoming placement process. Fellows will receive a welcome packet / handbook prior to the webinar that they should review beforehand and come prepared with any questions.
  • The Placement Process (2 – 4 months): the placement process is where the fellowship learning experience really begins. Although this can be a nerve-wracking time for fellows as they wonder where they will be placed, we see huge successes from fellows who can clearly express their professional goals, build relationships, and above all, are truly adventurous and able to accept ambiguity with a positive attitude. Our team works with fellows to prepare them for their interviews and coaches them throughout the placement process.

The placement process is broken up into three main phases:

One-to-one Career Consultation
(October – November)

  • One-to-one career consultations take place within the first month after fellows have paid their program deposit.
  • Fellows meet with a member of the FMS team who works with the fellow to better understand their specific career goals, skillsets and professional maturity.
  • Prior to their career consultation, fellows will develop a personal pitch to a prospective employer that they will practice during the consultation with the FMS team.

Matching Process
(November – December)

  • The FMS team reviews available job opportunities and recommends each fellow to all potential matches, based on experience, skills, and career goals.
  • Partners receive the list of recommended candidates at which point partners short-list which fellows they would like to interview.
  • The FMS team introduces fellows to placement partners and share job descriptions

(December – February)

  • Once introductions are made it is up to the placement partner and fellows to arrange a time for an interview.
  • Fellows are guaranteed at least 3 interviews with prospective employers
  • Jobs are offered at the partner’s discretion
  • Once an offer is made fellows and employers must sign a copy of the agreed upon job description and submit to the FMS team.


  • Pre-Departure Orientation (Webinar and course materials): This webinar will take place 4-6 weeks prior to the 2-week certificate training in Amsterdam and Monterey and will focus on training logistics (flights, accommodation, travel insurance, important contacts, training agenda and readings). Former Fellows will join the conversation to provide guidance on what fellows can expect during the training and how to get the most out of the experience.
  • Two-week certificate training (Amsterdam or Monterey): Prior to departing on their field assignments, Fellows participate in an intensive, two-week certificate training that prepares fellows for 2-12 month field assignments with social enterprises and impact investment foundations in the US and abroad. The FMS training is an incredible opportunity to network with leading practitioners in the field and professional peers – you will be busy!
  • Field Assignments (US and Global Locations, 2-12 months): Two – four weeks following the FMS training, Fellows embark on field assignments with social enterprises and impact investment foundations in the US and abroad. While on assignment, fellows provide due diligence for investors and technical assistance for entrepreneurs to discover innovations, improve business processes, attract investments and promote sustainable business models.
  • Career support and peer mentoring: While in the field FMS Fellows will have the opportunity to participate in a series of Global Impact Chats with other fellows and mentors to share experiences, lessons-learned and new knowledge to maximize impact and cultivate resilience while in the field. Topics will also cover job search strategies for fellows transitioning out of their assignments.


AshokaU Scholars: Apply by October 1

September 5th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

About the Opportunity


Clap your hands for social innovation!

AshokaU is committed to setting the stage for an inclusive community of educators, practitioners, and students who share a passion for social entrepreneurship. The Exchange Scholars serves as an opportunity for proliferating diverse perspectives, enriching the conversation and our collective knowledge.

Selected Exchange Scholars will receive complementary registration to the Exchange and hotel accommodations. Travel is not included. Apply here.

Eligibility Criteria:

    • Evidence that you are an entrepreneurial leader and that attending the Exchange will further your professional leadership goals and your institution’s social entrepreneurship offerings
    • Representative of a community college, Historically Black College and University, women’s institution or other minority serving institution
    • Have not previously attended an Ashoka U Exchange


    • Commit to writing one article before the Exchange and one article after the Exchange to be posted on the blog
    • Share your learnings from the Exchange after you have returned to campus


What’s Your Story?

August 27th, 2014 · 1 Comment · Africa, Frontier Market Scouts, Scouts in the Field

Donna Sinar_Rwanda

Written by FMS Fellow Donna Sinar 

In my circles, when we ask “what’s your story?” we want to learn about where someone grew up, what they do for a living, their plans for the evening or something similarly superficial. In contrast, when Resonate leads a workshop with this underlying question, they are probing participants to demonstrate their values through a story of struggle and triumph.

I arrived in Rwanda nearly two weeks ago and already I have enough stories to fill a shoebox. Every morning there’s a story about hailing a moto and moments later engaging the core and hailing Mary, hoping I’ll make it to the office in one piece. There’s the one where I unintentionally ordered goat guts on a stick (it was salty, crispy, and tasty) or the one where I rallied the participants of a training to sing Happy Birthday for Resonate’s Lead Trainer, Solange, though I was totally wrong about it being her birthday.

There are plenty of muzungu in Kigali stories I can tell you. But I want to tell you about the self-transformation and community building that I witnessed at the Nyarirambo Women’s Center (NWC) training in mid-July. It was a Sunday filled with revelations, both for the twelve young staff members and me – and we were not in a church nor a mosque.

NWC is a center in Nyamirambo, an eclectic and vibrant neighborhood in Kigali. The center engages local youth (up to age 35) in hospitality and tourism by training them to lead tours for visitors in their community. We arrived early to set up for Resonate’s core training on Storytelling for Leadership.

The group was insightful, disciplined, and open – different from American youth groups I’ve led. They were quick to connect with Solange, her story, and her facilitation style. One shared his story of abandoning his life as a street kid to finish his high school education and today reaches out to street kids to show them another way. Another illustrated her strong-held values of self-respect by opening up about rejecting a Sugar Daddy’s propositions. A third shared his experience as a young elected neighborhood chief and the challenges that arose when he was put in positions of contesting his neighbors and elders.

When each in the group had learned to tell their story succinctly and heard of the trials and victories of their peers, a seismic transformation occurred both individually and collectively. Evidence and testimonials of group bonding captivated the room. “I love that we are just like a family… [and] hearing from all who shared their story” proclaimed an NWC participant. While the group grew closer, each person held within them a reminder of the courage they already possessed. Resonate’s training taps into the existing well of bravery, strength, and love within each person and gives permission and guidance for participants to tell it in a compelling way. On a pragmatic level, the young tour guides learned a new way to connect authentically with tourists as well as a way to present and express themselves and their ideas in their future professional and personal endeavors.

What results from the workshop is an outpouring of love: self-love and familial love, which is ground zero for social change. Like Cornell West beautifully stated: “Justice is what love looks like in public.” Resonate’s Storytelling training lays the foundation for individuals to take on leadership, call for action in the face of injustice, and mobilize others for change.

I had the privilege to learn that storytelling is an opportunity to connect more deeply with peers and strangers alike. Through telling our stories we can build a more intimate relationship with ourselves as well as the circles we walk in. Listening and telling our stories serve as windows to the shared human experience. After all, stories are the background music to falling in love and stories can also make the dangerous mistake of broadcasting a single narrative and breed deep-seeded, yet misplaced, hatred (as we’ve seen the pendulum swing both ways here with the genocide twenty years ago and ongoing reconciliation today). For better or for worse, stories move us to small actions and great leaps of passion. Stories, and the people who tell them, hold power for change.

I hope the next time you’re asked “what’s your story?” you will use it as an opportunity to connect and express your love out loud.

About the Author:


Donna has committed her heart and energy to the anti-human trafficking movement for over a decade. Most recently, she headed the anti-human trafficking unit at The Standing Against Global Exploitation (SAGE) Project, a survivor-centered nonprofit organization in San Francisco. Donna is an innovative and adaptive leader, a keen strategic planner and a compassionate team builder. Donna is motivated to weave mission with sustainable business practices to urge meaningful change in the areas of migration, poverty, and exploitation. She is fluent in Hebrew and competent in Spanish; a self-starter and industrious. Communication is her strong suit – she is comfortable in boardrooms and in the field alike and is at her best when she is bridging the two spheres.


BizCorps, Bogota & Blogging

August 25th, 2014 · Comments Off · Scouts in the Field

[Note to readers: My plan is to gracefully pass over that 2 year gap that was my Darden experience, just for ease of transition really. I’m happy to talk about all things business school in a different venue, if you are interested in my thoughts, learnings, etc. Moving forward, the purpose and function of this blog will be the following:
  • Chronicle my experiences and learnings during my work, and in Colombia in general
  • Retain a somewhat-articulate grasp of the English language
  • Have a central repository of the basics, so that when I DO actually connect with friends and family, I don’t have to repeat the same details on my end (so self-serving, I know!)
  • And finally, lure visitors to this fine country. See you all soon.]
First, let’s cover the basics: What am I actually doing in Bogotá? My employer in Bogotá is BizCorps, a US-based nonprofit that places recently graduated MBAs with growing companies in developing countries. BizCorps was founded by Rob Mosbacher Jr., former head of OPIC, a federal organization tasked with “mobilizing private capital to help solve critical development challenges.” Through his tenure there, Rob learned that the real constraint to addressing these challenges was not capital flows, but human capital – access to highly trained managers who bring knowledge of best practices and global markets. He mobilized around this central learning and created an organization to fill this need – hence, BizCorps. In country, we operate as long-term consultants, embedded in our placement companies for about a year, working to diagnose and address a variety of issues (more on our clients & this process later). By the numbers: 6 of us comprise BizCorps’ 2nd cohort in Colombia, hailing from 5 different American universities and 4 different countries. BizCorps also operates in Kenya, based in Nairobi (Nick and Heather are both blogging from Nairobi, if you want to keep up with that side of the world too). My client is Fruandes, an organic, fair trade dried fruit company that exports 96% of it’s product to Canada & Europe (& a little to the US). They have sold out their planned production through most of 2015, and are looking to expand their capacity (& rethink their operations strategy) by likely moving out from Bogota. I’m helping them with this process by both assessing the feasibility a relocation and of new possible locations, while then working to build processes that will make them less-reliant on individual’s knowledge and save time and money as they grow. Why Colombia? All you have to do is google ‘Colombia turnaround’, or something of the like, to be introduced to the loads of literature recently published on the subject of Colombia’s emergence on the world stage. Some recent free trade agreements have boosted this too. Here is a sample of how Colombia is performing in what someone-who-has-a-website called the “Top 10 Growth Markets in Latin America”:
  • TV sales in Colombia will go up by 30% in 2014
  • Pets market: average annual growth of 13%
  • Cosmetics: grew 31%, 2011-13
  • Hotel rooms under construction in Colombia: 2,805
  • Luxury boat sales: up 27%, 2009-13
Also, if you’ve never played around on Google’s Public Data Tool, it’s pretty fun: GDP growth rate gdp growth rate GDP per capita (constant US$ 2000)gdp per capita (constant US$ 2000)    


The Ice-Bucket Challenge and Giving in America

August 22nd, 2014 · Comments Off · Africa, Jonathan Waldroup, Scouts in the Field

This week my Facebook feed has been bombarded with friends doing the Ice-Bucket Challenge. I’ve seen some pretty interesting adaptations (including a traveling friend who had no bucket, so jumped off a 60 foot cliff into the ocean instead – kudos Rob). I’ve also seen a number of what some people might call “haters” questioning the merits of the whole endeavor. With feelings running strong on both sides, I couldn’t help but join into the fray. What should we make of this fad?

The Results

I think the first thing we should notice is just that: it’s a fad. That said, it’s a fad I wish I had thought of. Working for a small non-profit myself, I would be the hero of the century if I could increase our revenue by such huge percentage with a random viral challenge. So I think the first thing we should recognize is: There is absolutely nothing wrong with using crazy marketing stunts like this to raise money for a worthy cause. With the exception of the many who seem to have trouble dumping water on themselves, there is no harm in the challenge, and it will hopefully do significant good for the state of research for ALS. So before I move on, I want to emphasize the importance of the outcome. The outcome is very positive, so from that perspective, the ice bucket challenge is great. And I applaud anyone who has participated with the goal simply of increasing funds going to this research.

Everything Else

But regardless of the outcome, why has this particular endeavor been so successful? And what does the answer to that question tell us about American society? Anything that goes viral tells us something about the deep desires of the society hosting the “virus.” What is this “virus” exploiting so effectively in our society? A Google search tells me that, among all taxpayers (not just those who itemize tax deductions), charitable giving in the US averaged between 2 and 2.5% of income in 2008 for all those with income less than $500,000 (the most recent I could find for this total population data). With a median income in the US of $51,000, 2% would amount to just over $1,000 per year given to charitable causes, including religious organizations. Why do we spend so little on causes we claim to care about, when we are willing to spend so much of our income on frivolity (consider the hordes of low-salaried young people who will spend $100-200 in a single night on alcohol, and that multiple times per month)? The rather obvious fact is, people want to spend money on themselves, regardless of what they say about their beliefs or goals. That is why it takes a gimmick to bring out donations in any sizable amount from the population at large. That doesn’t make the ice bucket challenge bad; it makes it savvy. But there have been other gimmicks. Why has this particular gimmick been so effective? Some of the response is chance – the right influencer dumps water on his head at the right time, and it takes off. But it never would have gone viral if not for the fact that we all want to appear as good, generous people online. No one is going to applaud my generosity—or my well-apportioned swimsuit physique—if I am asked to give money for ALS research and I just do it, privately. An immediate clarification is needed – I know that many people who are participating in the challenge are extremely generous, and give regularly to all sorts of good causes. Even if the truly generous join in, the reason something like this goes viral is, sadly, because of appearances. Requests to privately increase support for any cause will never be as effective as requests to increase support for a cause that also bolsters your image, even if the generous donate in both instances. But I would argue that private giving is what counts, especially because it is often more durable, not being motivated by social performance. Very few of those who give $10 for ALS research will continue supporting the cause on an ongoing basis, simply because of the lack of any continuing social payoff. But sustainable change only happens with sustainable support, most of which does not afford the opportunity for Facebook posting. The wild popularity of the ice bucket challenge is sad evidence that as a society, we have missed the whole point of generosity, which is not really generosity if the goal is self-aggrandizement. There is a good reason that the ideal of Christian generosity is captured in Jesus’ command to not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing when you give to the poor.

Wait – I can’t see your abs!

My Challenge to You

The world is full of problems, and the world is full of people trying to solve those problems. To make any sort of sustainable impact on those problems, more is needed than generosity only when a viral trend demands it. So instead of challenging you to dump water on your head and give two Starbucks lattes worth of money to ALS research, I challenge you instead to pick an organization that you think is making a lasting, positive difference in the world, and commit to support it for at least a year, with at least $100 per month, or whatever amount makes it hurt just a little. And don’t tell me about it.       Filed under: Life and Culture Tagged: ALS, charitable donations, generosity, giving, ice bucket challenge


Fellow Impact: FMS Fellow Madelle Kangha takes on Africa’s Youth Unemployment Challenge

July 31st, 2014 · No Comments · Africa, FMS 2014, FMS in Action, Frontier Market Scouts, Scouts in the Field, Uncategorized

Madelle Kangha_Profile

FMS Fellow Madelle Kangha

This post was submitted by MPA student and FMS alumna Nicole Manapol

Madelle Kangha may have just completed the FMS Training in June but this budding social entrepreneur (and aspiring leader of Cameroon) is already having a big impact on one of Africa’s most complex challenges – youth unemployment.

Since launching the JumpStart Academy Africa in 2013 with her Nigerian friend, Omotola Akinsola their venture has trained 220 young people from Cameroon and Nigeria in ethical leadership, civic engagement and entrepreneurship. JumpStart also provides employment opportunities to 30 young people.

One of their scholars from Ndu, Cameroon recently became one of 50 young people across Africa selected to join the inaugural class of the Yale Young African Scholars program. JumpStart Academy was also recently nominated for the Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition, an international contest sponsored by the Goi Peace Foundation, Stiftung Entrepreneurship and UNESCO.

Madelle and her team have big impact goals – their plan is to reach 17,000 young people over the next 5 years.

In this interview Madelle talks about what led her to establish JumpStart and how the Frontier Market Scouts Program can help social entrepreneurs accelerate their impact.

Tell us a bit about your background – what led you to establish your own social venture?

Growing up amidst challenges in Cameroon lit a fire in me to create a more equitable society. I also benefited from strong role models, like my parents and siblings. This inspired my mantra and daily motto: “Setting the sky as your limit is overrated – Set the sky as your base. For in doing so, you soar to new heights and define the boundaries of what is possible.”

Beyond my personal experiences, I also had a very rich and unique education, which is at the core of my work as a social entrepreneur – especially with regards to Jumpstart Academy Africa. After 7 years in an all­girls boarding school, I learnt the possibility and value of female leadership in society. At the African Leadership Academy, I learnt firsthand how to design and implement solutions, business principles and new languages like Swahili.

During my time at the London School of Economics, I immersed myself in extracurricular activities such as helping pupils with their school work and raising their aspirations for higher education, running free law clinics, participating in Moot Courts, serving as Marketing Director for the LSE Entrepreneurs Society, Events Officer for the LSE Catholic Society, and study abroad with the LSE UN society at United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

Beyond academics, I was fortunate to undertake challenging internships and work experience programs with leading organizations such as Clifford Chance, Oliver Wyman, ICAP Plc, Standard Bank, Shearman and Sterling LLP and Teach First.

With these experiences, I set out to implement my ideas to create a better world; first with Youths4Change and then with Jumpstart Academy Africa.

What do you love most about your work?

My work as a social entrepreneur is all about creating value in a way that changes lives and advances society – this is what drives me.

I love that every day presents a new learning curve for me but my most important lesson has been managing the triple bottom line – People, Planet and Profit. My business can’t sustain itself without profits, and the world can’t be sustained without my business.

Managing multiple bottom lines can be a challenge but a combination of a well thought out model, a clear set of operating principles, deep passion and sufficient attraction of capital taken altogether, can allow a social entrepreneur to have both mission and margin.

Tell us about the JumpStart Academy – how did this all begin?

I enrolled at Watson University in 2013. It was at Watson that my path crossed with Omotola Akinsola, a groundbreaking changemaker from Nigeria. Aside from the fact that we both hope to someday lead our respective countries, we also had the same theory of social change – so we joined forces and Jumpstart Academy Africa was born.

The idea behind Jumpstart Academy Africa is simple ­ using the principles of ethical leadership and entrepreneurship; students can learn the skills needed in today’s transformed and transitory world. Beyond acquiring skills, students receive training that enables them to innovate across different sectors – to be job creators as opposed to the old rhetoric of job seekers.

Why does this matter? Currently, Africa is the most youthful continent in the world. At least 35 per cent of its more than 1 billion population is between the ages of 15 and 35. Experts estimate this could double by 2045. Africa is home to the world’s fastest growing labor force, which by 2040, is expected to grow to 1.1 billion people. With an ever-increasing youthful population, the challenges are ever increasing, more complex and more urgent. Most pertinent is the fact that Africa is home to seven of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world, yet 70% of the working­age population is unemployed.

This means reaping the demographic dividend of Africa’s youthful population is not a given. It requires immediate and urgent substantial investment. Africa’s largely youthful population makes up the next generation of workers, politicians, teachers, parents, entrepreneurs and leaders. I firmly believe that harnessing the untapped potential of Africa’s youthful population is key to achieving economic growth and prosperity for the continent.

At Jumpstart Academy Africa, we are tackling this challenge via Leadership and Entrepreneurship. The model is simple. JumpStart Academy delivers a two-year Leadership and Entrepreneurship curriculum to students aged 15 – 18 across partner secondary schools, through trained university students and graduates. Currently, we serve over 220 students in 15 schools across Cameroon and Nigeria. Ourgoal is to reach over 17,000 young people across 10 countries in the next 5 years.

Tell us about your FMS Experience – how did you first learn of the program and what were the most valuable aspects of the training for you?

I first learnt about FMS at the Net Impact conference in San Francisco last year where I was fortunate to meet Yuwei Shi – the founding director of the FMS program and Dean of the Graduate School of International Policy and Management at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. He told me about the program and encouraged me to apply. Less than a year later I was attending the June training in Monterey.

My FMS Experience was great. I was impressed with the caliber of the fellows, the mentors and trainers. The content of the training was very well tailored and relevant to my work with the JumpStart Academy. I particularly liked Ross Baird’s session on the Fit Framework, which looks at the Investor’s perspective in the Social Impact Space. This has been a very useful tool as it gives me insight as a social entrepreneur into what investors are looking for when considering whether or not to fund a venture.

As a social entrepreneur the training is invigorating – you get to bounce ideas off of others working in the space, collaborate and in my case – recruit talent for my enterprise!

Any advice for other aspiring social entrepreneurs?

Yes – Fail often to succeed sooner!!!

Learn more about the JumpStart Academy and how to get involved:

Vote for the JumpStart Academy Africa in the Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition

Keep up with Madelle and other fellows at

For more information, visit Read our blog at Follow us on Twitter @FMScouts and on Facebook at


Winter 2015 FMS Fellowship Program – Last Day to Apply!

July 29th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized


FMS Fellow Coryell Stout with One Degree Solar crew in Nairobi, Kenya

Earn a certificate in impact investment and social enterprise management and gain invaluable field experience with a social entrepreneur or impact investment manager for 2-12 months in the US or abroad!

Friday, September 5, 2014 is the last day to apply for Winter 2015 Trainings.

Winter 2015 Trainings are offered in Monterey, California and Amsterdam, the Netherlands

  • Monterey, CA: January 12-23, 2015
  • Amsterdam, NL: February 16-27, 2015

Who are we seeking?

FMS is looking for passionate and pragmatic idealists who hold a strong belief in enterprise and market development as the most important means to large scale and sustainable improvement of living standards in developing countries. The ideal Frontier Market Scout also has a solid background in business and/or management, and a superb aptitude for immersive learning in dramatically different environments. Applicants should have completed a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalence, although highly qualified undergraduate applicants may also be considered.

Ready to start your adventure? Apply Now

View the Winter 2015 FMS Position Description

If you have additional questions, please email or call Erina McWilliam-Lopez at (831) 647-4645.

For more information, visit Read our blog at Follow us on Twitter @FMScouts and on Facebook at


Heading off the beaten track: an interview with FMS Fellow Catriona Forrester

July 8th, 2014 · No Comments · Frontier Market Scouts, Scouts in the Field, Uncategorized


This post was submitted by MPA student and FMS alumna Nicole Manapol

In many ways July is synonymous with independence. In America we have our 4th of July celebration, in France there is Bastille Day, even the Northern Territory of Australia celebrates its anniversary of self-governance on July 1st. Worldwide there are 22 national independence days celebrated during the month of July.

In the spirit of celebrating independence this month I decided to interview FMS Fellow Catriona “Cat” Forrester, a mid-30s finance professional from Australia, who is forging a new path for herself in the impact investing space with the Frontier Market Scouts Program. At midnight July 7th, Cat boarded her flight to Guatemala City to embark on her new adventure with Pomona Impact, an angel investment group that targets small to medium sized impact businesses across Mexico, Central America, and Ecuador. Over the next 12 months Cat will be based in Antigua, Guatemala helping Pomona identify and invest in high caliber social entrepreneurs, launch Guatemala’s first Impact Hub and develop a new impact fund in the region.

In this interview Cat talks about her decision for a career and life change in her mid-30s, and advice to new applicants on how to get the most out of the Frontier Market Scouts program.

You had a great job in finance, working from some of the most dynamic cities in the world (Sydney and London!) with frequent opportunities to travel across the Asia-Pacific – what motivated you to shift direction and become an FMS fellow?

I have a great career – it’s still evolving! My 15 years of work experience has been in finance, which has allowed me to travel for work and do business in some very exciting places. I’ve had the opportunity to work in Sydney, Melbourne and London. After a short lived stint in London at a hedge fund, I returned to Sydney and started to re-assess my career path. Maybe it was finally settling into the apartment I owned or being back in the city where I was born that felt unsettling after being so nomadic over the past several years… the idea of the “status quo” quite scared me. I had always been fascinated by emerging markets and felt I could apply my financial and Spanish language skills in an impact investing environment. I also realized that picking up and moving to a developing country on the other side of the world was a luxury that I may not be able to afford in a few years.

So why the Frontier Market Scouts Program?

I was fortunate to have the opportunity for frequent travel during my career. With a focus on the Asia-Pacific I traveled extensively throughout Asia. I went to Japan, China, Singapore, Macau, the Philippines, and Hong Kong to name a few. I travelled in Sri Lanka in 2006 and traveled all over Latin America. I had also done some translation work for UNDP projects in Burkina Faso, Zidisha a microfinance group in West Africa, and ASAED, an independent children’s welfare group in Senegal. This really piqued my interest in social enterprise and impact investing. Whatever my next move was going to be I knew I wanted to explore this space.

I also knew that as an emergent sector, social enterprise and impact investing were difficult to break into – this was the main reason I decided to apply to the Frontier Market Scouts Program. The placement with a social enterprise or impact investment organization plus the two-week training seemed like a good opportunity to get my foot in the door. The opportunity to come to Monterey, California was also appealing for the networking opportunities it afforded with impact organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area.

And now you’ve landed a job with Pomona Impact and are about to board a flight to Guatemala. How are you feeling?

Excited…trepidacious…I love Latin America. I wanted to be in a Spanish-speaking country and working in a position in impact investing so I’m quite lucky to be placed with Pomona. I’m aware of the security situation in Guatemala, which is serious in some places, but I’ve traveled in similar contexts in Asia so I feel confident that I have the experience to avoid any potential issues.

And you’ve just survived public transport in Los Angeles including a surprise trip through Compton…

[laughter] Yes! That was quite empowering! Overall I’m excited about learning something new…about growing and finding out where all this might lead.

What advice would you give future applicants considering the FMS Fellowship?

Make use of the resources the Monterey Institute provides. The best part of the FMS experience so far was the support I received throughout the whole process from application to placement, to training and professional networking. The FMS program has an expansive network to tap into but it is up to you to take advantage of that and be proactive. At the end of the day this space is all about the hustle!

Great advice Cat – you’re quite an inspiration and we wish you the best of luck on your new adventure…

Cat is one of 13 FMS Fellows about to embark on field assignments in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Cameroon, Rwanda, Ghana, Hungary, the Netherlands, and the US. Since 2011, the Frontier Market Scouts fellowship has trained over 240 social enterprise professionals and graduate students from 20 countries worldwide. FMS fellows have helped to scale over 100 social enterprises around the world during field assignments based in Holland, Brazil, India, Ecuador, Vietnam, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Turkey, Egypt, China, Colombia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Belize, Lebanon and more. Training faculty come from renowned social enterprise organizations such as Village Capital, Shell Foundation, Invested Development and Accion.

Keep up with Cat and other fellows at

For more information, visit Read our blog at Follow us on Twitter @FMScouts and on Facebook at






Frontier Market Scouts Take on the World Of Social Impact Investing

June 30th, 2014 · No Comments · FMS in Action, Frontier Market Scouts, Socent, Uncategorized, Village Capital

This post was submitted by MPA and FMS alumna Danielle Steer.

It’s not every day that a person can sit at a pub watching the World Cup and listen to four different languages at the surrounding tables, while discussing impact investing as a poverty alleviation strategy. Unless, of course, you’re a part of the Monterey Institute community. Today, this is my lunch break.

This experience seems apropos considering I’ve just finished two intense weeks in a classroom with 30 other inspiring, diverse, and experienced individuals and practitioners for the Monterey Institute’s Frontier Market Scouts (FMS) program.

FMS Group Work

Participants from Around the World

I was unsure at first what types of professionals might be attracted to the program. My career has previously focused on gender education and development; so I was excited to learn more about how entrepreneurship could help build local economies and empower the impoverished. I was beyond pleased on the first day when I found out my colleagues in the class hailed from backgrounds not only in development and the public sector but also big banks and Wall Street. While some were gaining relevant professional experience while in graduate school, others had quit jobs at Visa and Citibank to take part in the training and fellowship. We were also a geographically eclectic group as well with participants from Ireland, USA, Singapore, Australia, Philippines, Cameroon, China, the Netherlands, and Rwanda.

Ross Baird- FMS Instructor

Intense Training with Real Experts

The two week FMS training is broken down into five-two day workshops covering different aspects of social entrepreneurship from the scouting and entrepreneurship to the impact investor perspective.

The first session was taught by Ross Baird, Executive Director at Village Capital. Ross brings a contagious energy to the course and provides a great introduction to impacting investing and social enterprise. From pitching frameworks to impact evaluation criteria for entrepreneurs, we explored various options for how scouts might identify and develop entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

Session two brought a change of pace with Simon Dejardins, currently residing across the pond at the Shell Foundation in London. Although his content was jam packed with how to scale high impact social enterprises, we were able to experiment with various approaches to business support and stakeholder analyses.

The half-way point of the training started with Dr. Yuwei Shi, Dean of the Graduate School of International Policy and Management and founder of the Center for Social Innovation Learning at MIIS. Yuwei focused on an action learning approach to business modeling by bringing in fellow experts on business development and ideation. In addition we explored a live case study, Salud2. Salud2 is a social enterprise at the concept phase started by five MIIS alumni this spring. Although Salud2 was a runner up at the recent Hult Prize competition, the FMS participants were able to go through the a business modeling exercise to help Salud2 consider alternative directions they might take their business before they enroll at the Hult Accelerator this summer.

With two sessions still to go, the FMS crew took a two day break to process the immense information we had covered over the week. We were also able to take advantage of the local beauty and activities along the way!

Feeling rested we returned to the ever charismatic, Paul Berloff of Accion Venture Labs. Paul led us through a series of lectures and activities focusing on investor perspectives on social enterprise.   From the due diligence and the role of investors to the trends and criteria for impact we took an in-depth look at impact investing through the eyes of Accion Venture Labs.

For the final training session, we were joined by two MIIS alumni, Amit Sharma and Ravi Kurani. This workshop provided an overview of the current universe of systems of environmental, social and governance ratings (ESG ratings and analytics), including the ones commonly used in impact investing such as GIIRS. We also walked through the development of ImpactSpace , a start-up with the mission to help capture data and impact measurements for social ventures working with their counterparts.

FMS Participant Nicole Manipol

Putting it All Together

Although I still feel like I’m processing information, theory, methodology, and tools packed into two short weeks there were some definitely themes and big ideas that have been apparent from day one.

In the classroom I learned not only from the practitioners brought in to teach but also my colleagues. The class was a healthy mix of experience and knowledge that allowed us to work in meaningful and balanced groups. When I faltered on financial models, the finance group member was there to simplify the process. When we talked about design and impact the development people helped clarify impact metrics and the methodologies used to understand them.

After class, we learned more about the culture and informal aspects of the impact investing space during happy hour. Each of the practitioners took the time to get to know the participants and share stories about their very different roles in the space.

As a people person, I really enjoyed the importance of relationship-building as a common theme throughout the two-week training. Whether you’re an entrepreneur looking for seed funding or an investor hoping to make an impact, personal connection and human interaction drive the entire process. I feel fortunate that I now have 30 new FMS colleagues in the field and around the world.

FMS Particpants in Big Sur




22 Tips for Living in a New Country

June 26th, 2014 · No Comments · Alumni Stories, Frontier Market Scouts, Scouts in the Field, South America, Uncategorized

MIIS and FMS Alumna Danielle Steer Shares Tips on Living and Working Abroad.

Over the course of the next two months, 21 Frontier Market Scouts (FMS) Fellows will be heading into emerging markets as scouts, business development consultants, and impact investing associates. FMS fellows come from a variety of backgrounds and have very diverse international experiences.  For some, the FMS field placement is a first exposure to living and working in an emerging market.


As an alumna of the Monterey Institute MPA program, I can’t begin to count the number of experiences my colleagues and I have shared about being a development practitioner including “how to cope” and “methods for success”.

I decided to enlist the help of fellow FMS and Monterey Institute alumni to give our fellows advice for living and working in the developing world. Their collective advice stems from experience in Nigeria, Cameroon, Rwanda, Peru, Ecuador, Philippines, and India.

Tips for Living and Working in an Emerging Economy

  1. Talk to your taxi driver!  They have some of the best suggestions for local places to check out and more generally just some great stories about life.
  2. Get close to a family or two, especially if you’re in a more rural area.  This will give you so much more insight than just hanging with the expat crew.  Have meals with these people a lot.  They will also look out for you.
  3. Invest in a good fan that oscillates, embrace crowded bus rides, and keep a good sense of humor.
  4. It’s okay to be homesick. There may be moments when you long for the safety of “home.”  Find a way to bring a piece of home with you to self-sooth when need be (i.e. a DVD, favorite book, cooking spices and ingredients, or Siracha).
  5. When family and friends visit have them bring you items from “home” like cheddar, mac & cheese boxes, and socks.
  6. Take part in four things that can expedite building relationships – playing sports, music/dancing, food, & drinking (albeit not to excess or to the point where you cannot make sound judgments).
  7. Be prepared for reverse culture shock.  Sure, there will be some initial culture shock when you move out of your home country.  But no one ever prepared me for the reverse culture shock.  It might hit you when you order a coffee in Swahili at Starbucks or when you are overly cautious trying to cross the street in your hometown.  If you can, get in touch with other people who might be experiencing it at the same time or who can sympathize.  That community of people “who get it” when you are stunned by consistent electricity or hot running water is comforting.
Sierra Leone Peacebuilding J-Term Trip

Sierra Leone Peacebuilding J-Term Trip

Money & Safety

  1. In a taxi, lock both back doors. Sometimes people try to open them while you are sitting in traffic.
  2. Keep your money in two places on you. If a thief tries to steal from you, pull out your stack with less money and say that’s all you have.
  3. Keep $50 USD in small bills stashed away in your luggage.
  4. Try to find out before arriving at your assignment whether or not credit/debit cards are commonly accepted.  More often than not, you’ll need to carry cash, so finding an ATM in a well-lit, secure location is key.
  5. Put together a thoughtful budget before you leave.  How much are you willing and/or expecting to pay for housing each month?  Groceries?  It adds up quick, and if you’re traveling with a fixed amount of cash in the bank, you don’t want to find yourself in a sticky financial situation without a backup plan.
  6. A steripen is a great small investment. You can use it anywhere and it saves a bunch of money as opposed to buying bottled water.  It’s also good for the environment.
  7. If you are a single (read: unmarried) female, regardless of having a boyfriend or not, be prepared to frequently explain your lack of husband.  (Side note: You’re not likely to convince an inquiring man to change his stance on the matter, but don’t let it keep you from sharing your point of view.  “Some of my female colleagues chose to wear fake wedding rings to avoid this, but I personally didn’t feel right pretending to be married just to avoid these conversations.”)
  8. Keep your bag or backpack in front of you down by your legs or on your lap when traveling or at a restaurant.

Lock the doors!

Keeping in Touch

  1. A picture is worth a thousand words.  Take as many pictures as you can of your community, your work, and your travels but know when to be discreet either out of respect or for your own safety.  It might feel vain, but ask people to take pictures of you in the field as well. It makes for better storytelling and helps your family and friends to better understand what you did. Not to mention when you’re feeling nostalgic upon your return, it’s nice to look back.
  2. Post about your travels via social media. Someone in your network will always have a good recommendation for a connection, place to eat, or site to visit.

Work Life

  1. Patience is a virtue: In Peru, everyone is late, and people have different professional standards. In the end these are all cultural differences and shouldn’t be taken personally.
  2. Take your colleagues out to lunch!  You’ll get a taste for local cuisine, build relationships, and hopefully pick up on some local slang!
Team Peru- Youth in Cacchin

Team Peru- Youth in Cacchin

Final Advice

  1. During rainy season, don’t walk through flood water in the street. There may be a hole in the ground that you don’t see.
  2. Don’t be scared to rock a fanny pack!
  3. Never travel without the following:

                            Pocket knife & sewing kit                                                                  
                            Small padlock
                            Charcoal pills (for tummy aches and intestinal issues)
                            Calendula cream (for mosquito bites and burns)
                            Duct tape (It really fixes everything!)

Have any intriguing travel tips or stories of your own? Please share them via:


Geneva Paul

June 24th, 2014 · No Comments · Winter-Summer 2014

Location: New York, NY- USA
Partner: Accion NYC

Geneva has the personality skill set and technical experience to connect investors to entrepreneurs and develop small medium enterprises. She understands the investment decision process and balances this with the operational structure and entrepreneurial passion of the small-medium business owner. Her experience in financial asset management firms includes market due diligence, financial analysis and cash flow modeling, and identifying key risks in debt underwriting. Her latter experiences in finance and operations sharpened her skills to identify key risks in operation systems and workflows and improved her ability to communicate and coordinate with key stakeholders. She desires to leave an indelible mark of loyalty, sedulousness, and compassion to the financial inclusion sector.

Learn more about Frontier Market Scouts