Impact networks

Collaborative for Frontier Finance 2022 Annual Convening in Dar Es Salaam

Collaboration is at the heart of Small Foundation’s work. While this can be seen across each of our approaches, nowhere is it more clearly evidenced than through our support of impact networks: organised collaboratives that bring together diverse stakeholders to work together towards resolving a shared, complex problem. 

In practice

We support our impact network partners directly through provision of grant funding and non-financial support, including coaching, impact measurement and management (IMM) support, and access to specialist learning opportunities such as the Converge Network Leadership Series (NLS).

Converge has been a highly influential partner in the evolution of our network practice, with our collaboration leading to development of the NLS, from which has emerged a network of network coordinators in sub-Saharan Africa. In partnership with Converge we also developed our network IMM toolkit.

Also important to our network practice has been our multi-year partnership with Creative Metier, including action research which informed our understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by impact networks in East and West Africa.


Small Foundation has strategically supported impact networks since 2018, and has longer since held impact network memberships. Our network practice both overlaps and uplifts our investment practice, promoting local expertise and agency as well as trust and connection across the ecosystem.

We support impact networks that strengthen and amplify the effectiveness of business ecosystems for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa. We see this work as foundational to our mission, recognising that achievement of any system-wide change will require deep learning and collaboration across stakeholders with a shared sense of purpose.

We also prioritise communicating about our network practice and learnings; through our blog and partner communications support, our IMM toolkit, and support of Converge’s Impact Networks documentary and David Ehrlichman’s book. This is because while impact network outcomes tend to be both longer term and emergent, we feel these partnerships offer high value and potential for accelerating change.