Insight on the growth journeys of businesses championing sustainability across Africa

Welcome to the Impact Enterprise Research Institute (LERI). We are an innovation think-tank studying growth trends of impact enterprises on a sector level across Africa.

Our Mission is to improve the quality of financial and technical assistance delivered to impact enterprises through data. LERI envisions a new Africa where SME technical assistance is rooted on sector-specific insight and empathy-driven tools.

We collaborate with development partners, independent consultants and enterprise support organisations to profile business needs, test efficacy of existing solutions, and challenge conventional approaches to business development.

A new Africa where SME technical assistance is rooted on sector-specific insight and empathy-driven tools.

Our Research Areas

We aim to be the most authoritative voice on the technical assistance needs of impact enterprises across 7 SDG-focused sectors.

Our work focuses on 5 business development themes: Access to finance, growth trends, SME SMEs and employment, business resilience, and enterprise success stories.

Every problem is a gift. Without problems we would not grow. Anthony Robins
  • i. Business resilience / Covid recovery

    LERI investigates positive and negative impacts of crisis on business performance. We help businesses to make the best of crisis, recognising that all forms of crisis – such as the covid pandemic - come with a mix of opportunity and challenges.

    Businesses that focus only on the negative impacts of a crisis tend to lose out on vital growth opportunities.

    Sustainability is no longer about doing less harm. It's about doing more good. Jochen Zeitz

    The best case study is the covid pandemic. While the negative impacts of the covid-19 pandemic on business liquidity and solvency are well-documented, there is very little insight on the positive impacts of the pandemic on businesses worldwide.

    Many stories of remarkable strategy shifts and operations transformation triggered by the covid19 pandemic remain undocumented. Our goal is to show this forgotten side of the story…

  • ii. Business growth and performance trends

    Understand what separates successful businesses

    LERI works to understand what separates successful businesses – those that manage to scale their innovations, grow margins, grow market share, and build lucrative partnerships - from those that take longer to achieve the same goals within the same sector.

    Businesses that participate in LERI’s business performance and high-growth studies get exclusive access to practical how-to-guides and executive reports to help reshape their internal operations. Our reports shade light on some of the following themes:

    • Growth trends of family-owned businesses versus sole proprietorships and partnerships
    • Startup success rates across sectors
    • Digitalization and technology adoption trends
    • The impact of acceleration and incubation services on long-term business sustainability
  • iii. Entrepreneurial success stories

    A strong business ecosystem celebrates entrepreneurial success.

    LERI documents stories of impact entrepreneurs breaking boundaries and making good change happen. We don’t just celebrate impact entrepreneurs; we also shade a spotlight on innovation teams working behind the scenes to amplify the impact of their organisations.

    Our humble contribution is to create compelling digital stories profiling industrious entrepreneurs and business teams. We celebrate every worthy business milestone; raising finance, expanding to a new markets, closing new partnerships.

    All entrepreneurs need good role models and mentors to keep inspired. We believe that the right entrepreneurial role models at a sector level will encourage positive transformation for across business ecosystems.

    Interested in celebrating entrepreneur role models? Join LERI to celebrate entrepreneurs with foresight today
  • iv. SMEs and Inclusive Employment

    Sector-specific insight on the contribution of impact enterprises to employment creation

    It is a celebrated fact that SMEs are the “number one employers” and “engine of growth” for economic development, innovation, wealth creation across emerging economies. But there’s little sector-specific insight on the contribution of impact enterprises to employment creation.

    LERI’s ‘SMEs for employment’ studies investigate sector-level employment trends with an eye on enablers for decent employment opportunity creation.

    Companies with their eye on their 'triple-bottom-line' outperform their less fastidious peers on the stock market The Economist

    We look beyond mere numbers, exploring qualitative relationships between employment and SME access to finance, governance and management practices, workforce engagement practices, labour attrition rates by sector, and the drivers of SME ability to create decent jobs.

    Are you interested in the role of SMEs in employment creation?
    Partner with us on our new survey here

Business Needs Assessments with LERI

Are you designing a finance or technical assistance program targeting SMEs? Partner with Listen & Evolve to understand the building blocks for successful SME technical assistance.

Work with LERI’s business empathy suite, a series of assessment tools, business health audits, and change management tools tailored to enable design of technical assistance solutions that address root causes rather than symptoms of the challenges businesses face today.

Solutions that address root causes rather than symptoms

Listen-evolve offers partners an organised model for planning impactful technical assistance. Our business empathy suite uncovers barriers and enablers of change within each enterprise with due regard to industry context.

Interested in partnering with LERI in your business development program? Contact us here

Help on your Webinar

LERI collaborates with development partners, accelerators and business development professionals on thought leadership around business development themes. If you are passionate about impact enterprises like we are, we are happy to partner on your next webinar. LERI’s research team contributes to business webinars through research insight, knowledge sharing, co-marketing events (both virtual and physical) and much more!

Let’s plan that great webinar today.
Get in touch here

Companies that are breaking the mold are moving beyond corporate social responsibility to social innovation. These companies are the vanguard of the new paradigm. They view community needs as opportunities to develop ideas and demonstrate business technologies, to find and serve new markets, and to solve longstanding business problems. Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business Review

Learn more about our enterprise research services

Join Now

Search Website