A Letter from KANAVA's President & CEO

COO Carol Yee moderates a panel with USAID Administrator Mark Green at the PSC Development Conference held on December 4, 2018.

COO Carol Yee moderates a panel with USAID Administrator Mark Green at the PSC Development Conference held on December 4, 2018.

We at KANAVA would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. We’d also like to share some of the things we accomplished during 2018 and what we are working on for 2019.

Five Things about 2018

The year 2018 was another great one in KANAVA’s development as a small business.

First, we are still here and growing! KANAVA worked through the dreaded fifth year, when, according to the Small Business Association (SBA) , about half of new small businesses don’t make it. During 2018, KANAVA took the time to pause, reflect, and learn from our work over the last five years and plan for the next stages of KANAVA’s growth. Through this process, we made some adjustments, such as closing our office in northern Michigan and refocusing our business model on the Washington, DC area to strengthen our operational foundation to scale up. KANAVA embodies the benefits that small businesses bring to our clients, including expertise and innovation, as we outlined in “The Small Business Advantage” as part of PSC’s 6th Annual Development Conference Thought Leadership Compendium.

Second, KANAVA was honored to be invited to join USAID’s Advisory Committee on Foreign Voluntary Aid (ACFVA) in early 2018 and to graduate from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses (10KSB) program, offered in conjunction with Babson College, at the end of the year. In both instances, KANAVA was represented by its Chief Operating Officer, Carol J. Yee, with her extensive international development and contracting experience. We cannot praise the 10KSB program enough for the timely opportunity it gave us as we have assessed where we are and how we want to grow. This is a great program and a way for Goldman Sachs and Babson College to lend their vision and expertise to help grow and strengthen our national small business base.

Third, KANAVA is excited to be on four winning teams with great primes for indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contracts under USAID, and a new client – the Department of State. The IDIQs include Strengthening Tenure and Resource Rights II (STARR II), Integrated Health Systems (IHS), and two Performance Management and Evaluation Services (PMES) contracts. We also submitted our first prime and participated in multiple proposals as subs.

Fourth, KANAVA applied its signature Impact Strengthening Development (ISD) methodology and certification program, which builds the management capacity of local organizations, to measure and build the capacity of multiple local organizations in Northern Afghanistan. We completed a full ISD cycle, from an initial baseline assessment through three tranches of targeted training to reassessment of each organization. We were pleased to see that on average, the organizations improved their scores by 16% through KANAVA’s training and coaching.

Fifth, through our commitment to community service and our belief that we must give back even while we are building our small business. As a partner of the Vietnam War Commemoration program, KANAVA continued to facilitate community opportunities to recognize Vietnam Era Veterans and their families and facilitate interviews of Veterans that will ultimately be submitted to the Library of Congress military history program.

Moving Forward – Focus Areas for 2019

Strengthening to Scale Up. As we transition from 2018 to 2019, we are conducting a top-to-bottom review of our systems, procedures, and training to strengthen and scale up operations quickly and efficiently.

Expanding our Network. We are working with new partners and consultants, expanding our reach across new technical and geographic areas.

Launch of ISD Digitization. We are moving forward with our new IT partner, ARMATURE, to digitize the ISD assessment tool. ARMATURE has extensive experience providing digital solutions to enable efficient and effective certification programs, assessments, audits, and evaluations. We will launch the digitized ISD demo in early 2019.

Certification of Management Capacity Building. As part of our scaling up, KANAVA will also build on our ISD work to date to launch our certification program in 2019.

Priming and Subbing. Although we will continue to actively seek out opportunities to serve as subcontractors on projects, we also will submit more proposals as the prime contractor in 2019.

Community Service. During 2019, KANAVA will continue to recognize military veterans and their families and promote and capture their stories for submission to the Library of Congress. If you know of Vietnam Veterans that have not been recognized or interviewed, please contact us at info@kanavainternational.com.

As we look forward to the year ahead, we remain committed to furthering the goals that are at the core of our organization — economic development for all, empowerment, and community service. Thank you for joining us on this journey, and we are looking forward to new opportunities and adventures in 2019!

Best wishes,

Susan M. Puska

Susan Puska