LeapFrog Investments has launched the LeapFrog Investments Talent Accelerator (LITA), which it claims is the private equity industry’s first talent development programme for CEOs, C-suite executives and middle managers in emerging market growth firms.
The programme is backed by US-headquartered Prudential Financial Inc., one of the world’s largest financial institutions, with a cornerstone investment of USD1.5 million.
Lata Reddy, Senior Vice President, Diversity, Inclusion & Impact, Prudential Financial, says: “PFI was founded on the principle of pursuing inclusive growth through financial services. The LeapFrog Talent Accelerator transports that ethos to some of the world’s fastest growing emerging markets. Through our support, we are helping to develop a cadre of transformative leaders that are delivering innovative solutions to consumers in Africa and Asia, ultimately creating opportunities for financial security for more people.”
“In seeking to solve the challenge of talent development within our partner companies, we commissioned a study that revealed no in-market programmes existed in the African and Asian markets in which we operate, that could address the concerns being raised by our CEOs,” says Vaughan Lindsay, Executive Director, LeapFrog Labs. “The LeapFrog Investments Talent Accelerator was developed in response to tackle these unmet needs, and enable sustainable growth through investment in people.”
A survey of the CEOs of LeapFrog’s firms found that talent development is the single greatest challenge they face. This is consistent with EY’s findings in sub-Saharan Africa which found a critical gap in the skills required for succession planning and developing talent. Institutional training and education programmes are critically important in many emerging markets where there is still low take up of formal degrees. In Kenya, for example, only one per cent of the population have been awarded a university degree, compared to an equivalent figure of 32 per cent in the US.
LITA is designed to help bridge this gap and unlock significant growth for companies, markets and economies in the process. Research from the Boston Consulting Group demonstrates that companies with strong leadership and talent management training increase their revenue more than twice as fast and their profits one and a half times faster than those without access to skills programmes.
LeapFrog developed the LITA’s bespoke curriculum with EY. It sets a new standard for executive and managerial education in emerging markets by providing a tailored programme that mixes formal classroom and technology-based learning, with mentoring, coaching, sponsorship and peer-to-peer learning between participating companies over a 12 month period. The three target populations who will participate in the LITA are: the CEO, C-suite (CxO) and middle managers. Additionally, the LITA will also offer services aimed at professional skills development; initially around actuarial and underwriting skills.
The first class of the LITA will convene 70 individuals from LeapFrog’s partner companies. This first cohort are financial services companies in the growth markets of Africa and Asia. They support jobs and livelihoods for 12,000 and reach 42.5 million people: FMR Capital – an Indian financial services company, bringing credit and finance to 7.5 million emerging consumers; Magma Fincorp – which reaches emerging consumers across rural and semi-urban India with vehicle finance, housing finance and general insurance; Resolution Insurance – one of Kenya’s largest health insurers and a rising star in East Africa’s fast-expanding general insurance markets; UT Life – provider of life insurance to emerging consumers in Ghana.
Kshama Fernandes, founder of IFMR Capital, a successful financial inclusion business in India that provides capital market access to financial institutions serving low-income consumers, comments, “LeapFrog’s Talent Accelerator will be leveraged by IFMR Capital to offer training and development opportunities not available to our team until now. The curriculum, distinct in the marketplace, offers the right combination of operational and leadership training to help ensure that our team is enabled for the growth trajectory IFMR Capital is on.”
“We see investment in people as one of the most important elements of building commercially successful and impactful businesses,” says Andy Kuper, CEO, LeapFrog Investments. “Leveraging talent management to build enduring teams capable of a high level of operational efficiency benefits participating individuals, their organisations, and our investors.”
The LITA in its initial phase will be grant funded, however will transition to a self-funded model by year three, when it will be opened up to the benefit of the wider market.
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