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Entrepreneurial Training Programs

OffSpring offers comprehensive leadership training programs that prepare African professionals for increased responsibility and leadership roles in their respective fields. Designed for individuals at all levels-from new employees, mid-career directors, to top executives - each module will be tailored to the needs of the targeted audience, ensuring that each program delivers what our clients need most: outstanding employees/leaders who will improve corporate performance and position their organizations to succeed.

Key areas covered in our training include:

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Business Advisory Services

By almost any measure, the capacity of Africa's private sector is limited. Many entrepreneurs and businesses lack the necessary management skills needed to become successful in a more global climate. Additionally, the business associations and the Chamber system, while growing in numbers, often are not capable of supplying needed services to its membership.

Over the past decade, many African governments and donor agencies have sought to build a robust market for BDS as a way to foster a more competitive business climate and hence to create more commercially viable businesses. A clear lesson emerging from these efforts is that such programs need to be well designed, with built-in incentives that allow beneficiaries to graduate into self-sustaining enterprises. Another, equally important lesson is that such approaches need to be sector specific – the one-size-fits all, generic BDS models seldom produce the desired results.

The OffSpring Group has been involved in the design and implementation of several incentive driven BDS programs in a number of African countries. We've helped hundreds of firms to build more effective management practices and become better able at offering a wide range of services demanded by private firms in many sectors. Equally important, we've helped to design and implement models which were cost effective and provided the necessary incentives to ensure gradually declining dependence of BDS service providers on donor funding.

A sample of Business Advisory Services in Ethiopia include:

1. Worked with the Ethiopian Chamber system to strengthen private sector participation in the Public Private Consultative Forum (PPCF). Activities included capacity building to assist the chamber to conduct fact-based research as part of negotiations aimed at improving the business environment.

2. Assistance to the national apex chamber association to launch national business forums and develop advocacy strategies at the national level.

3. Conducting outreach activities to educate the business community about policy issues; including efforts by Ethiopia to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU.

4. Work directly with the ministry of Trade and Industry to improve the legislative/regulatory and policy framework in support of a more enabling environment for business operations/expansion.

5. Work with lead firms to deliver credit enhance and associated TA in targeted value chains.

6. Provide Training-of-Trainers programs for Business membership organization (BMOs) in policy advocacy, skills building, and program delivery techniques.

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Financial Engineering

The Offspring Group will assist clients in developing countries to broaden the range and availability of financial products available in a given country. This may involve the design and implementation of programs aimed at providing credit enhancement tools to stimulate bank/non-banks actors to introduce/expand credit/financing mechanisms (i.e. leasing, account receivable, pension funds and Insurance) to underserved market segments. It may also involve efforts to work with financial institutions to improve both the understanding and risk management practices associated with new financial products/approaches to service delivery - including increased understanding/use of credit rating /information sharing systems and improved regulatory environment for improved capital market operations; Lastly, we believe strongly that a supportive enabling environment is key to promoting market innovation to take place: in many developing countries, this entails the adoption of international audit, reporting practices, to promote the transfer of best practices that promote prudent risk management practices in the financial sector.

In addition to our expertise to deliver quality programs in the above intervention areas, our experts also bring a wealth of country experience which will help us to identify optimal collaboration opportunities for donor agencies/government bodies to work together in the above areas. Together, the leadership of the OffSpring Group bring over 20 years of experience working in Africa at senior, advisory roles. This experience also allows us to adjust international best practices and design programs suited to local environment, particularly in regards to design non-bank interventions such as the design/and implementation of capital and/or equity market products, venture capital funds or subordinated debt programs as appropriate.

Ethiopia's Development Context

Ethiopia has experienced tremendous growth in the past seven years. Average GDP growth from 2005/06 to 2009/10 stands at 11% according to government figures and at a more conservative level of 8% according to IMF/WB statistics. Regardless of which figure one utilizes, the rate of growth over this period has been impressive. Further, a breakdown by sector shows that despite Ethiopia's heavy reliance on agriculture as a key contributor to GDP, all three major economic sectors – agriculture, industry and services - showed substantial growth during this period: agriculture and related activities 8.0%; industry 10.0%; and services 14.6 %. These growth rates met or exceeded GoE projections under the five-year Plan for Accelerated and Sustained Development to End Poverty (PASDEP).

After registering impressive growth over the past 7 years, Ethiopia recently announced an ambitious five-year strategic plan, the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) that is aimed at moving the country to middle income status. In order to achieve the ambitious goals under the GTP major reforms are required in the area of private sector competitiveness during the next five years. Despite the recent impressive Ethiopia continues to face important challenges – key among them is the necessity of stimulating the country's private to truly emerge as the “engine of growth”.

Despite recent successes at the country level, Ethiopia's private sector continues to struggle as a result of an inefficient business climate as well as a number of firm/industry bottlenecks. Particularly during the past two years, with the economy showing strains associated with the global downturn, escalation of prices for major import products and resultant restrictive monetary policy by government designed to help contain the impact of the global crisis and associated inflation, the prospects for private sector growth appear to have stalled according to some, or to have diminished according to others. With credit growth continuing to decline, an already challenged business environment has become even more challenging during the past couple of years.

Ethiopia - and in particular, the private sector - face the challenge of not only continuing the growth rates of the past decade, but to do so in a more inclusive, diversified framework while managing to hold inflation and broader macroeconomic instability in check. This task is made more challenging in the face of severe capacity gaps among both public and private institutions. Achieving these goals will require a focus on building the competitiveness of the private sector. While government has long maintained an objective of rapid technology adaption as an impetus for development, the type and absorptive capacity of the economy to fully utilize technology is linked to broad range of factors – including an enabling business environment in which the legal/contract enforcement regime encourages longer-term investments, a developed framework for Business Development Services (BDS) providers, as well as a system of chambers and business associations that can effectively advocate for necessary reforms and deliver services to their membership.

The Offspring Group believes in the centrality of the private sector in helping the country's transformation process. We are committed to helping private firms, government agencies and donor partners in the design and implementation of a package of services in – finance, business advisor and entrepreneurial training that will help Africa's second most populous country realize the promised Renaissance.

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Sample Projects

USAID / East Africa

For USAID/Ethiopia, we supervised the development of a five year private sector initiative. We worked with the USAID/Ethiopia Mission as part of the economic growth team, responsible for both the design and implementation of economic growth oriented projects, including efforts in the area of agriculture and agro-business, trade policy and facilitation as well as other business enabling efforts. We also helped to manage a $20 million loan guarantee program aimed at agricultural projects, which required building strong relationships with both the central bank (NBE) as well as many local private banks. We supervised the development of a study aimed at assessing the viability of leasing as an alternative to traditional bank financing, which resulted in a multi-year program of assistance to help create a leasing sector in Ethiopia.

We also guided the development of a Multi-donor Fund for private sector development. During implementation of the MDF, we had extensive interaction with Ethiopia's private sector and donor communities – including both the Ethiopian and Addis Ababa Chambers of Commerce. Staff from The OffSpring Group also co-chair the PSD-TWD for almost two years, working together with donor partners (both bilateral and multilateral – including UNDP/Ethiopia) to harmonize private sector development programming in Ethiopia.

USAID - West Africa

We managed a multi-year private sector project, with regional offices in Ghana and Senegal, which sought to deliver technical assistance and policy advice to African governments on building an enabling trade framework. We worked with both private companies and government officials to assist West African countries attract foreign direct investments and to develop market penetration strategies to get African products into western countries.

Financial Reform Project Management

We represented the US Department of Treasury in delivering financial advisory work to several African countries, including Ethiopia, Senegal, Ghana and Liberia. We worked with commercial banks, central banks and ministries of finance to implement a broad range of capacity development and risk management reforms. In many of the above countries, we worked with multiple donor partners to coordinate various programs aimed at fiscal and financial sector reforms. We've also advised central bank officials on the implementation of prudential bank supervision practices and, in Ethiopia, we facilitated the launch of the first centralized credit information sharing system among banks.

African Development Bank (AfDB)

We served as consultants to the Risk Management Unit of this REC to review request for loans from member countries. We carried out due diligence analysis and proposed acquisition, divestiture, and liquidation options for troubled financial institutions. We also contributed to the development of internal scoring system used by the AfDB to assess the credit-worthiness of applicants.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ghana

We supervised due diligence review of two banks in Ghana for possible acquisition by an international banking group. We also worked as part of a broad team, comprised of central bank officials, accounts, auditors and bankers to liquidate two commercial bank Ghana; including the establishment of procedures for the transfer of accounts to other banks as well as procedures to collect outstanding debts.

Trade Reform Projects

Negotiations, policy advice and management of a technical assistance program of trade capacity building for Ethiopia financed under the European Union's 9th EDF (06/09 to 06/11)

Ethiopia was granted €5 million to implement a program of technical assistance in building trade capacity in various ways: improvement of negotiation capacity, analysis of trade issues and the regional negotiation agenda; capacity building to conduct research; preparation of studies to inform the strategic direction of the government of Ethiopia on trade issues; accession to the World Trade Organization; negotiation of the Economic Partnership Agreement and capacity building through the procurement of appropriate equipment for implementation of higher standards for SPS and TBT. A senior representative of our team served as project director, senior trade economist and imprest administrator for the project. During its implementation he organized stakeholder consultations as well as one academic conference at which six scholarly works were discussed on various aspects of trade policy. He was also directly responsible for the imprest component of the project and also managed a contribution agreement with UNDP as well as six other grant contracts to implement targeted project components.

Negotiation, policy advice and capacity building to the Government of Seychelles for joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU (03/08 to 03/09)

The government of Seychelles requested assistance from the European Union's TradeCom Facility for technical assistance to build its trade capacity, resume negotiations for accession to the WTO and receive advice and representational support in its negotiations of the EPA with the EU. A senior member of our team provided the Government of Seychelles with technical assistance over a period of one year fulfilling the very mandate. Specifically, he served as chief technical advisor to the Government of Seychelles in resuming talks for the WTO accession process, including the preparation of a comprehensive roadmap and a revised memorandum of foreign trade regime. At technical level he undertook an economic assessment of all the major services sectors in Seychelles and proposed how they were to be scheduled as part of Seychelles's WTO accession package. Similar work was done for the EPA. He also served as services negotiator for Seychelles and the countries of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.

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Offspring Energy Group

The Energy and Legal Services practice was created to assist African countries to better navigate the challenges associated with international contract negotiations. We look to assist African governments to negotiate long term contracts for effective management of energy and other natural resources. Our goal is not simply to promote contract terms that are fair but that also promote sustainable economic returns so that future generations also benefit from a country's natural resources.

Our internationally trained lawyers have worked on regulatory matters of multinational companies for the past decade. We've drafted and reviewed contracts for compliance with international and company regulations. We have also edited, evaluated and authorized bid and tender documents as well as other promotional materials. We help companies and international organizations to evaluate/balance commercial, legal and regulatory risks associated with business opportunities. We also carry out due diligence assessments to identify likely legal / regulatory challenges that can adversely affect new business opportunities and help clients develop offer terms, negotiate and conduct contract negotiations and structure and implement agreements.

List of services

Both Greenfield and expansion energy projects often require technical support to present their plans to financiers in the infrastructure development space. Offspring Energy Group provides technical expertise for any stage of the project cycle, covering technical, economic and financial questions. Our support is geared to providing advice, ensuring coordination, developing and reviewing project structures, removing bottlenecks, filling gaps and identifying problems. This helps increase the quantity and quality of requests for funding.

Advice is given on:

The beneficiary sectors are:

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