Evaluation: Shona’s acceleration of early-stage ventures

SHONA supports the growth of early stage ‘Good Businesses’ that are positively contributing to East African economies. Originally established in 2013 as a franchise of Unchartered (formerly the Unreasonable Institute), Shona rebranded in 2019. Argidius partnered with Shona in 2015 to support the accelerated growth of early stage ventures with access to knowledge, mentorship, connections, and financing through an array of tailored support.

The partnership also aims to validate the sustainability of the delivery model. As at the end of 2019, 31 enterprises had been supported, with a median baseline revenue of €28k. The cost per enterprise at this stage of the partnership was €52k per enterprise. In 2018, an independent qualitative evaluation was commissioned to understand the impact and efficacy of Shona’s programming and as an organization. 

Key Findings: 

  • SHONA is a healthy organization with smart, committed staff, an empowered team and a strong culture of performance and fun.
  • SHONA is building a sustainable model, although still is dependent on philanthropic capital. There was very little pushback from entrepreneurs with regard to paying according to the revenue share agreement. Although this was cited as a deterrent to some signing up in the first place. 
  • The qualitative feedback from participants and alumni is positive, however impact is not yet apparent in the business performance data. SHONA’s biggest challenge with its growth program is recruitment: getting enough of the ‘’right’’ businesses to register.

​Executive Summary