Agora is a dynamic platform that connects entrepreneurs from emerging and frontier economies with the resources they need to grow their businesses. Sponsored by the United Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), the platform offers investment managers a range of features, including innovative lead sourcing, flexible screening, direct connections to entrepreneurs, and potential collaboration with co-investors. Entrepreneurs, in turn, have access to similar tools for connecting with capital providers and showcasing their companies to investors and partners in their ecosystem.
The platform is a two-year collaboration between UNCDF and partner institutions, launched by a group of dedicated and passionate staff who believe in the power of digital solutions to bridge the gap between capital and entrepreneurship. Tested on a pilot basis in Senegal and Uganda in 2022, an improved version 2.0, with added features and improvements, was announced in 2023 at the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) in Doha, Qatar.
Agora is dedicated to continuously evolving based on user, partner, and UNCDF staff input. The platform is designed to adapt and respond to the changing needs of the communities it serves, ensuring that it remains a valuable resource for entrepreneurs and investment managers alike.
Agora leverages its partnership and co-creation ecosystem to continuously improve and respond to the evolving needs of the entrepreneurs and investment managers it serves. The Agora Partnership is a collaborative effort between institutional members with the goal of implementing impactful investments and connecting entrepreneurs with funding sources in frontier, emerging, and developing markets. The Partnership's principles include working together to connect impactful ventures with funding, promoting international coverage of impact investment and entrepreneurship, and advocating for reducing the gap between capital and impactful investment opportunities.
To achieve its objectives, the Partnership aims to:
Agora is guided by a set of unwavering principles that drive its mission and shape its approach. These seven principles are deeply ingrained and serve as the guiding force in all its functionalities.
Agora is committed to making its services and resources accessible to entrepreneurs from frontier and emerging economies, regardless of their location or background.
Agora is designed to be inclusive, fostering an environment where all entrepreneurs, regardless of their size or stage of development, can connect with potential partners and investors and receive the support they need.
Agora operates on a principle of fairness, ensuring that all enterprises are assessed and qualified based on the same criteria, regardless of their size, location, or sector.
Agora is built on the principles of co-creation, working with a wide range of partners to help entrepreneurs access the resources and support they need in a participatory and inclusive manner.
Agora is committed to transparency in all its operations, providing users with clear and accurate information about the enterprises they are interested in and the partners they are connecting with.
Agora is dedicated to continuous innovation and improvement, developing new technologies and services supporting the growth and development of enterprises in frontier and emerging economies.
Agora places a strong emphasis on ownership, ensuring that the countries partnering with it are driving the deployment of the platform and own the process.