The Emerging Enterprises Pro Bono Program provides free legal support to micro, small- and medium-sized enterprises and nonprofits with a clear social or environmental impact in developing countries. These enterprises span diverse sectors that include food and agriculture, manufacturing, education, technology, health, finance, clean energy, water, and sanitation.
In 2022, the Emerging Enterprises Program celebrated its 10th anniversary. Collectively, this milestone marks more than 225 clients supported by over 1,220 Sidley lawyers and specialists from all 21 of Sidley’s offices who have provided over 56,500 hours of quality legal support to a variety of impact-driven businesses across more than 60 countries.
Through their work and with Sidley’s legal support, Emerging Enterprises clients are working tirelessly towards the realization of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, with an emphasis on promoting Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8); No Hunger (SDG 2); Gender Equality (SDG 5); and Climate Action (SDG 13), among others.
Last year, 292 Sidley lawyers (up 40% from 2021) from across 17 offices worked to support Emerging Enterprises clients in negotiations and investment rounds; corporate structuring and data protection; contract review; and much more. Working alongside these clients, Sidley has helped them expand their operations, access new markets, and seize investment opportunities. We are grateful to all of the Sidley lawyers and staff who participate in the Program and provide essential support to businesses that foster economic, environmental and social change around the world.
Sidley forms partnerships with a variety of impactful organizations in order to connect with small businesses across developing countries and enroll them in the Emerging Enterprises Program. Since 2020, the Emerging Enterprises Program has focused on delivering capacity-building sessions. Together with our partners, we have delivered more than 20 webinars, workshops, and clinics to enhance the legal skills of entrepreneurs as well as business resilience to shocks (including the pandemic, climate change, and conflict). Together, we have trained more than 1,500 entrepreneurs, policy makers and government officials — the majority of whom are women — across 60+ countries. These partnerships have included:
Based in Tanzania, Daring Girls partners locally to ensure that girls have the knowledge, tools, mentorship, and support to confidently design their own futures. The company envisions a world where every girl has the skills, confidence, and savvy to become who she wants to be.
Daring Girls supports their flagship partner, GLAMI (Girls Livelihood and Mentorship Initiative) in Tanzania. In 2022, they were awarded the UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education. Last year, the organization supported more than 7,100 scholars through life-changing mentoring programming.
“Sidley has been a tremendous partner to us, supporting the legalities around our name change to Daring Girls, from guidance around and review of our revised bylaws and articles of incorporation to preparations to file paperwork that would make our name change official as of April 2023. Sidley also helped review important contracts that kept relationships with our local partners strong and beneficial to all parties. Sidley has been a source of reassurance for our entire organization, which could never otherwise afford such responsive, thoughtful, experienced legal support.”
— Jessica Love, Executive Director, Daring Girls
Sanergy takes a circular economy approach to solving the sanitation and waste management crisis in fast-growing cities in East Africa such as those in Kenya. The company builds networks of sanitation facilities distributed to communities in informal settlements. On a regular basis, Sanergy safely collects and transports the sanitation waste generated and other residual organics from restaurants, city markets, and agricultural park houses to a central processing plant for upcycling. The end products derived include agricultural inputs for farmers — organic fertilizer and insect-based animal feed — as well as biomass briquettes. Sidley is advising Sanergy on tax matters and a venture agreement negotiation.
CRMG is committed to advancing public health and implementation science research through Mutala Research, a nonprofit organization in Zimbabwe dedicated to conducting implementation science and public health research to advance the health of Africans. Some of their projects include vaccine hesitancy and vaccine effectiveness studies, as well as conducting clinical trials and clinical research studies. Their implementation science projects have impacted HIV care and management for adolescents living with HIV, as well as patients with advanced HIV and opportunistic infections. Sidley’s work has included providing advice and guidance on corporate structure and intellectual property matters.
“As an African organization, we want to ensure that we meet the highest standards of operational excellence and governance. Sidley has assisted us immensely as we form our nonprofit organization and establish governance protocols. Sidley has helped us with the organization structure and enabled us to set up a nonprofit organization in the U.S. that can support the work that we do in Africa.”
— Tariro Makadzange, CEO and Founder of Charles River Medical Group
Based in Kenya, Origen Fresh produces high-quality vegetable and essential oils. They support over 50,000 small-scale farmers by purchasing their avocados, fruits, and nuts to make high-quality oils that are exported to Europe, Asia, and the U.S. Sidley has assisted Origen Fresh in suggesting revisions to general corporate structure, regulatory measures affecting importation and exportation of their oils, and drafting an employee ownership plan and contract templates with partners/clients.
Shamiri is a data-driven organization that helps develop scalable solutions, including wellness programs, to improve the livelihoods of young people in Kenya. According to the company’s statistics, Shamiri’s services have reduced depression by 24%, anxiety by 29%, and improved academic grades by 2.5% in 71% of youth in Kibera slums in Kenya. Sidley has assisted Shamiri in entity structuring in the U.S., developing intellectual property protocols, and drafting financing agreements for donors and grants.