How will our move to shared services support the group theory of change? | Allan Gray Orbis Foundation
How will our move to shared services support the group theory of change?

How will our move to shared services support the group theory of change?

What is the theory of change again?

Our vision of an empowered, prosperous, productively engaged African citizenry thriving in ethical societies with dignity and hope could inspire us on a million different paths. The path we chose is described in our theory of change, which connects our actions to this vision – high impact entrepreneurship is our route to meaningful employment, and meaningful employment is our route to thriving societies. There are other routes, but our mission is to follow this one, and by connecting us all to entrepreneurial leaders and their big ideas the journey itself feels as inspiring as the vision.

The theory of change has three broad streams of action. The first is to prepare and encourage young people to be impactful entrepreneurial leaders. Some people call this work ‘preparing the jockeys’. The second stream is to help entrepreneurial ventures access the capital, skills and relationships they need to succeed. Those same imaginative types call this ‘caring for the horses’. And the third is to contribute to an enabling entrepreneurial ecosystem, for example by improving the education system or through research or by changing attitudes. This could be called ‘improving the racetrack’.

Download the theory of change graphic here.

Ok that sounds familiar, got it. So how does this connect to the shared service project?

The shared services project aims to take care of back-office work in one place where we can build expertise and take advantage of economies of scale. This will mean the rest of the group’s energy can be fully focused on the three streams described above. If we get this right, it can and should enable us to make even better progress and impact on our core work without spending more money or effort. Sharing services allows us to use economies of skills and of scale to allow entities to concentrate on nurturing and supporting high impact entrepreneurialism.

The potential of this work for our long-term mission is exciting. We are building on foundations that were laid by AGOF and the Endowment in their support for incubated ventures within the group. Funda Wande, Jakes Gerwel Fellowship and Jasiri all have benefited from sharing services and from the established support teams in AGOF over the last few years. A successful group shared services team will enable us to support other start up social ventures in the group, but at some stage we could extend this to offer a trusted set of accounting, HR, legal and IT support services to Fellow businesses and external social ventures.

Can you put that in a few sound bites?

The shared services value proposition is to take very good care of transactional HR and accounting and to keep everyone’s computers on and safe, to enable the rest of the group to focus on delivering impact as described in our theory of change. Our long term goal is to be a contributor to the entrepreneurial ecosystem and a valued part of support for entrepreneurial enterprises.

How about one word?

Service.

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