Argidius aims to help entrepreneurs to build profitable businesses and contribute to the sustainable development of their communities.
They do so by improving the effectiveness and reach of small and medium enterprise capacity development services.
Argidius promotes the growth of small and medium sized enterprises (SME) in order to improve the lives of the poor through increased income generation.
They are convinced that inclusive economic growth is one of the primary drivers of change in low income countries.
They believe that the development of SMEs is critical to achieve sustainable development. Businesses create employment and generate income, and are therefore key to reducing poverty.
In developing countries, the small business sector is relatively under-served, resulting in what is known as the “missing middle”. By supporting the emergence of an effective, attractive and viable ecosystem of SME development services, we can help build SME capacity, improve their productivity and sustainability, and extend their access to markets and finance. In this way they leverage resources to create positive change.
Founded in 1966, the Argidius Foundation has since 1992 explicitly followed a strategy of support for international, market-driven, business development initiatives to alleviate poverty, and has historically focused on three areas:
Microfinance - provision of financial services to low income households
Business Development Services - provision of technical assistance and other non-financial services to low income entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses
Entrepreneurial Education - mostly training in various aspects of business management
Foundation support was initially targeted towards Latin America but has expanded into Africa in more recent years.
Their current strategy seeks to help build sustainable capacity building intermediaries that provide innovative and effective services to support small growth businesses.
The Argidius Foundation does not do any project implementation of its own. Argidius supports organizations that can build sustainable and scalable programs that provide business development services and finance to small growth businesses as a key driver of inclusive economic development and poverty reduction. They work in low income and emerging economies in Latin America and Africa.
They include but are not limited to:
Small and medium sized enterprise (SME) development in urban and rural settings. These activities might be focusing on capacity building for SMEs or facilitation of access to finance, or a combination of the two
Business and/or entrepreneurship training with a goal to help people enhance business performance and growth
Innovative ideas that meet their criteria and that have a potential to achieve scale and/or be replicated