Reflecting on 2015, Looking forward to 2016!


As the New Year approaches, we at KANAVA International are thrilled to begin our fourth year of operations in March 2016. The last three years have been very exciting. We have shared key milestones through our KANAVA Global Connection blog on our KANAVA websiteLinkedIn PageFacebook Page and Twitter account @kanavaintl. Our blogs, written by KANAVA staff and guest bloggers, Denika Karim and Sammy May, have highlighted topics of international interest from the field, as well as domestic issues.

During 2015, we continued to build our company qualifications in international and domestic economic development, with a special focus on management capacity building, and other niche services, especially on strategic planning and diversification of funding. We also grew our staff, and further developed internal systems and procedures to compliantly manage projects and expand our capacity for continued growth. In February 2015 we took a major step forward in KANAVA’s objective to link international and domestic economic development work by opening a satellite office in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, on the northern border with Canada. Our goals in opening the “Soo” office are to augment our operations based in Arlington, Virginia, to link our knowledge and experience in international work to a domestic, rural area, while seeking to add the Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) small business designation, expected in early 2016, to our current designations—Woman-Owned, Service-disabled Veteran-owned Small Business—to help grow our Federal contracting business.

As a small business, the challenges of starting a services company from the ground up cannot be underestimated. But the benefits of working within economic development—domestically and internationally—to help find ways to strengthen local organizations, which, in turn, strengthen their communities, makes each day exciting and rewarding.

Some specific accomplishments during 2015 include:

  • Our work on the grants program for the West Africa Trade and Investment Hub project grew and we expanded our work to provide assistance to a trade association in diversification of funding sources.
  • Our application of our Impact Strengthening Development (ISD) methodology in Cambodia and with businesses in the Washington, DC area grew.
  • We built an initial framework for digitization of ISDTM that will be adapted to local applications.
  • We added new clients, such as a DFID-funded client in Europe that will give us the opportunity to work in Sri Lanka in early 2016, as well as other private sector clients.
  • We opened and hired staff for our Soo office.
  • And, we are excited that companies are seeking us out to join their proposal teams!

Grounded by our focus to promote economic development international and domestically, and finding ways to link the two, we find we are also venturing into the needs of local communities, such as international tourism, while we are also working to assist non-profits and small businesses to strengthen their operations and attract new sources of funding.

Lastly, as a partner to the Department of Defense’s 50th Vietnam War Commemoration program, KANAVA actively participates in the recognition of Vietnam Era Veterans and their families. A major event of 2016 that KANAVA supports is recognition of Vietnam Veterans and recording of individual histories for future generations during the upcoming Engineers Weekend in June in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

We are looking forward to 2016 and continuing to grow KANAVA and positively impact our partner communities and organizations!

Kanava International