From input to impact: tracing impact pathways within green and inclusive SME partnerships

Junger Unternehmer

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) play an important role in translating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and national level climate and social policies into impact at a local level. With limited resources, however, SMEs often struggle to develop robust impact monitoring and reporting structures that can highlight their contribution to these goals. They also may need technical support to identify their social and environmental impacts, but are unable to access this support. These challenges result in unreported impacts and a missed opportunity for SMEs to garner support for their business growth and leverage their impacts.

Addressing this issue of financial and non-financial support to impactful SMEs, Ashoka and iPropeller have implemented the Accelerating Climate Change Solutions in Africa – ACCESS programme, with support from the Flanders Department of Foreign Affairs. In this programme, SMEs from Belgium and African countries have partnered to deliver products and services that support climate change adaptation. The ACCESS programme provided financial and non-financial support, including support on impact management. This programme has guided the partner SMEs to review key components of impact management, including linking impacts to core business activities, developing an impact theory of change, collecting impact data, and developing compelling reports to share analysis of this data.

adelphi has used its experience in working with green and inclusive small and medium enterprises to deliver impact management support to projects implemented by SMEs in Belgium, Kenya, and Togo under the ACCESS programme. The support drew on a toolified methodology to accompany the SME partnerships with targeted support on impact metrics, pathways, and reporting.