Episode 9: How to maximise the potential of diaspora investment

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Good afternoon, you're listening to the Migration & Diaspora Podcast, a podcast where we discuss all things related to migration and diaspora, with me your host, Loksan Harley.

On this week's episode, we're joined by an absolute rockstar of a guest, Eric Guichard. Calling in from his home in Maryland, USA, Eric is CEO of Homestrings, which he founded in 2012 as a web-based crowdfunding platform, which offered the African diaspora access to investment opportunities. Homestrings raised over $25 million in capital from 5,000 members, which led to Eric being named 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year and 2014 African Financier of the Year in the UK. Harvard Business School, of which Eric is an alumnus, also published a case study on Homestrings' experiences with diaspora-based crowdfunding.

These days, Eric and Homestrings focus their energies on sharing their expertise and first-hand experiences by advising governments and private sector clients on diaspora investment. And I don't know how he finds the time but Eric also sits on several boards, including the African Development Bank's Diaspora Investment Advisory Board and the African Union's African Diaspora Initiative Steering Committee.

Eric was therefore the ideal guest to give us an overview of diaspora investment and talk us through the state of play of the sector, including what both diaspora origin and host countries can do to catalyse diaspora investment, in addition to relating diaspora investment to diaspora engagement and migration governance more broadly. I definitely recommend listening closely to this one as Eric reveals to us the few key priority actions that governments can take to really maximise the potential of diaspora investment. There are some linkages here with episode 2 on Doing Diaspora with Dr Martin Russell and episode 4 with Mr Remittances, Leon Isaacs so tune into those if you haven't already.

I had great fun recording this episode. Eric is so articulate and has such a unique perspective on this topic - no doubt informed by his own migrant and diaspora experiences growing up in Guinea, Senegal and the United States, as well as his extensive professional experiences working in private sector asset management and as a sovereign adviser at the World Bank.

As well as being the podcast's first American guest, Eric also happens to be the first Arsenal fan on the show, which is really the only character flaw I can pick out in Eric and does make me second guess his judgement!

Anyway, in spite of that, this episode is absolutely littered with industry-leading free advice and I do hope you enjoy listening.

Useful links

Homestrings, Inc.: Diaspora-Based Financing and the Crowd Funding of Development: https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=45600

Homestrings: http://www.homestrings.com/

Connect on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/eguichard/

https://www.linkedin.com/company/homestrings/

ADB report by Eric/Homestrings on Promoting Remittance for Development Finance: https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/project-document/185098/48190-001-tacr-01.pdf

VC4A (mentioned by Eric): https://vc4a.com/

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