International development firm Chemonics has marked the debut of its UK operations with a series of events in London. The multi-day occasion saw discussions on wide-ranging topics, including the prevention of extremism and global mental health, education, and conflict.
Despite the ever present anxiety of Brexit uncertainty, a number of American-origin consulting firms sought to strengthen their UK presence in 2019. In spring, tech consultancy Slalom announced plans to open a Manchester office in which it will employ 200 staff by 2025. Later, Change 4 Growth confirmed it was opening a new London location, which will see the company look to supply organisational transformation solutions crafted over the last several years in the US to British clients, while most recently Chicago-headquartered consultancy AArete expanded its London office to better serve its UK clients.
Now, international development consultancy Chemonics has held a multi-day event to formally launch its work in the United Kingdom. Founded in 1975, Chemonics is dedicated to helping people live healthier, more productive, and more independent lives, with projects spanning more than 100 countries and all facets of international development, from health care to financial inclusion. The employee-owned firm has 5,000 staff around the world, including 90% hired locally.
While the professional services firm has worked with the UK Government since the early 2000s, it has determined that the time is right to establish itself in the UK officially. This is thanks largely to recent emphasis by the UK Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on transparency, cross-sector thinking, innovation, and technical expertise, which Chemonics saw as a key fit with its focus on international development, trade, and stabilisation programming.
“Ever since our early days, we have been committed to helping improve lives in the world’s most complex and challenging environments,” said President and CEO Susanna Mudge. “We share the UK government’s commitment to transparency and results and are eager to work with the entire development community to help HMG achieve its goals.”
Mudge and members of Chemonics’ board of directors, executive management team, and technical practice leads have subsequently attended a series of events taking place in London in May to introduce the company to the UK development community. The launch events served as an opportunity for Chemonics to further develop partnerships with stakeholders across the industry, including small and medium-sized enterprises, think tanks and academia, peer suppliers, and international development financial institutions and donors.
On May 14, Chemonics convened technical leaders working on conflict, stabilisation, and security issues for a discussion with a focus on preventing extremism, after a keynote address from United States Institute of Peace President Nancy Lindborg. Then on May 15, Chemonics hosted a panel discussion exploring the intersection of global mental health, education, and conflict, considering how multi-sectoral platforms and approaches can be leveraged to improve mental health and well-being and psychosocial outcomes in some of the world’s most troubled and insecure places.
Commenting on the findings of the events, Chemonics’ UK Senior Vice President Jeff Wuorinen said, “All of us at Chemonics believe that those who have the least deserve our best… For more than 40 years, that is what has always guided us – our firm commitment to working in partnership with funders and SMEs and other development actors to make meaningful changes that improve people’s lives around the globe.”