Top 5 Reasons Why 2014 Was a Huge Year for Kanava International


As 2014 winds down, we at KANAVA International have a lot to be thankful for, which is why we want to share some of our favorite highlights from the last year:

1. We’re (almost) a one-of-a-kind company.

When the Department of Veterans Affairs decided to award us a “service-disabled” designation this year (read the full story here), we became one of a handful of firms known as SDVOSBs—Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses. That we’re also women-owned makes us a rare breed indeed, and we’re proud to offer our services to implementing partners looking for that unique mix of qualifications.

2. Our team grew—by 100 percent!

Thanks to two new projects—the USAID/Cambodia-funded CBCLO project implemented by IESC and VEGA and the USAID/West Africa Trade Hub and African Partners Network project with Abt Associates—we welcomed Kelly Vaena, our Director of Projects who is now based in Geneva, and Laurencia Tettey, our Trade Hub Grants Manager based in Accra, Ghana. We’re also excited to announce that, in early 2015, Kelly McKenna will join us as Director of Operations, overseeing our new Sault Ste. Marie office (see #5 below).

3. Our signature certification program is up and running.

Carol Yee, our Chief Operating Officer, kicked off KANAVA’s partnership with IESC in Cambodia on the CBCLO project, initiating our first field application of the Impact Strengthening Development (ISD) management capacity building tool and certification program. In September, Carol undertook a joint assessment of the ARV Users Association (AUA) organization with the CBCLO staff and began training the CBCLO staff on the ISDTM tool, and its application to strengthening the management capacity of local Cambodian organizations. (Read more about ISD here.)

4. We’ve forged some exciting partnerships.

We continue to develop our partnership with GlobalWatch Technologies on the ISD certification program. In late summer 2014, KANAVA signed a memorandum of agreement with George Mason University School of Business to provide academic rigor to the ISD program and jointly develop market opportunities related to the ISD tool and certification program.

We have also had some great meetings with USAID, other donors, and their implementing partners to introduce KANAVA and its offerings.

5. We’re giving back to our communities.

As 2015 approaches, KANAVA’s commitment to economic development and linking domestic and international economies will move forward as we establish an office in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, a small international city in Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula active in the support of entrepreneurship. Founded in 1668, Sault Ste. Marie is one of the oldest cities in the United States and shares the international border and its history with its twin city in neighboring Ontario, Canada. We have been drawn to the “Sault” because of its growing investment environment and the opportunity to create jobs within a “historically underutilized business zone” or HUBZone. We seek to have HUBZone status by summer 2015.

We wish you all a Happy Holiday season and a prosperous and healthy new year!


Kanava International