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Webinar Recording: Exploring the Accelerator Landscape

Posted By Abigayle Davidson, Aspen Institute, Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Exploring the Accelerator Landscape from ANDE on Vimeo.

The global accelerator landscape is growing and changing at a rapid pace.  Through the Global Accelerator Learning Initiative (GALI), ANDE and Emory University have been conducting research to add clarity to the recent phenomenon and provide insight into what acceleration looks like in various geographies and contexts.  The new GALI website and data portal allows users to access GALI publications, use interactive filters to explore our dataset of over 4,000 startups, learn about the landscape of accelerators, and search a directory of accelerators from around the world.  

In this webinar, Abby Davidson from ANDE introduces the new website and presents early findings from the Global Accelerator Survey, where users can learn about the landscape of accelerators and filter the results by geography and impact orientation.

Have questions? Share them with us here.

Tags:  2017  accelerators  GALI 

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Impact Fund Managers from Africa and South America Join Capria Network

Posted By Eduardo Grytz, Performa Investimentos, Friday, March 17, 2017
Updated: Friday, March 17, 2017

Impact Fund Managers from Africa and
South America Join Capria Network

With nine managers on four continents, Capria Network is now the
leading global network of impact fund managers

News Summary:

  • Four fund managers have joined Capria Network after completing a 7-week “Intensive”

  • Capria Network now the leading global network of impact fund managers

  • Managers received investment commitments from Capria of ~$2M in aggregate

  • Capria’s 4th investment cycle has opened and is connecting with managers now


Seattle, Washington. March 12, 2017. Today Capria announced it has signed agreements to invest in four fund managers who have joined Capria Network, the leading global network of impact fund managers. Capria’s 4th investment cycle has begun, seeking connection with more managers in emerging markets. New Capria Network members joining existing managers from Africa, Asia, and Central America include:


2017-03-09-Cohort-3---All-9-1920x1258.jpg


“We’re excited to be increasing the flow of impact capital in emerging markets, expanding our engagement in Africa, and adding South America as a new key region for the Capria Network” said Will Poole, Co-founder and Managing Partner, Capria. “The missing middle finance opportunity exists in all of markets where Capria Network fund managers are investing. High-growth businesses in these markets can deliver superior financial results and industry-leading social and/or environmental impact.”

Highly Selective & Collaborative Global Network of Fund Managers

In its most recent investment cycle, Capria connected with over 100 teams from 38 countries, carefully screened 37 teams and ultimately selected 4 who will have the opportunity to leverage extensive advisory and acceleration services in conjunction with gaining access to a growing global network. Experienced managers with deep investing and operational experience as well as first time managers want to join the Capria Network because they have the desire to be best in class, not just in their market, but globally.  All teams selected to join Capria’s seven-week “Intensive” become part of the Capria Network and they make a deep commitment to work with one another over a multi-year process as they build their world-class investment firms.


"As experienced fund managers launching our third fund, our plans with Capria were a little different than others", said Eduardo Grytz, Managing Partner at Performa Investimentos, a fund manager in Brazil with USD $75M AUM. "After meeting other Capria Network members and working together closely through the intensive program, we can clearly attest to the benefits to our firm of being a member of a global network of leading impact fund managers".


"Capria accelerates the development of first-time managers, like us. In regions with a nascent venture capital and private equity industry, only a few established impact funds exist as role models", said Dmitry Fotiyev, Managing Partner at Brightmore Capital. "We're already six months ahead of where we would have been without the engagement of Capria".

Deploying Capital and Expertise Where It's Most Needed

In the second half of 2015, Capria announced its bold plans to accelerate the creation of 15 impact funds in emerging markets in the next five years, leading to the deployment of over US $500M into businesses and impacting the lives of more than 5 million individuals. The need for seasoned investment managers who know local markets and can effectively deploy capital and return profits for investors continues to grow; Capria is working to address that need.


To help new and existing managers advance their efforts, Capria has made capital commitments to each of the new managers in the network, in aggregate about $2M for this cycle. Capria provides smart, flexible capital in the form of seed funds for the management company and/or a fund investment. The managers use Capria’s risk capital to invest in their teams and set up their funds quickly. Capria Network funds can also start making initial portfolio investments even before they have received capital from other investors.


"We have been investing in high-growth, small and medium size businesses in South Africa since 2008, but we are always looking for ways to improve and adopt global best practices", said Janice Johnston, Principal at Edge Growth. "We're excited to work with Capria and the network members to deliver both exceptional financial performance and world-leading social and environmental impact through our portfolio companies.”


"There's no faster way to heal deep wounds in a country than sustained economic development, but that can't happen without capital", said Fernando Cardenas, Managing Director oatOdiseo. "With the peace accord signed, now's the time for Colombia to embrace rapid development. Joining Capria's global network of impact fund managers will help us work faster and deliver superior financial returns to our investors."

Fourth Investment Cycle Open Now

Capria has started its global search for another group of the best impact investment managers in emerging markets to invest in and join the Capria Network. If you are starting a new impact fund and would benefit from the assets and services of Capria and the Capria Network, please introduce yourself. We look for fund managers that can deliver superior financial returns, scalable impact, and contribute to the Capria Network. Please take a look at our selection criteria to determine if Capria is a good fit.

About Capria

Capria Ventures is a global financial services innovator investing in the “missing middle” finance opportunity in emerging markets. Capria manages multiple investment funds, a fund manager advisory and accelerator, and the leading global network of impact fund managers. Capria is focused on delivering superior profits to investors along with social and environmental impact at scale, with a goal of unlocking over USD $500 million in impact capital by 2021 and positively impacting the lives of millions. Capria has offices in Seattle and Bangalore. More at: http://capria.vc


For more information, please contact Shweta Vitta at pr-lead@capria.vc

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“PULSE OF IMPACT MANAGEMENT” REPORT RELEASED ON IMPACT MEASUREMENT, MANAGEMENT AND REPORTING PRACTICES

Posted By Erina McWilliam-Lopez, Center for Social Impact Learning at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, Thursday, March 16, 2017
Updated: Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Pulse of Impact Management report was recently released by the Center for Social Impact Learning (CSIL) at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in partnership with SVT Group. The report features advice from impact investors to those new to the field, and also summarizes the history of impact investing, key terms and concepts in impact measurement, and trends, and provides a practical guide to the most relevant publications.

“We’ve reached a milestone in the impact management profession: so many reports are coming out that look at impact measurement and reporting practices that most folks just don’t have time to keep up. This report provides a one-stop synopsis that helps readers quickly identify the resources most relevant to them,” said Sara Olsen, Founder of SVT Group and coauthor of the report along with CSIL Research Associates Aislinn Betancourt and Courtney Kemp.

Opportunities identified by the Pulse of Impact Management include:

  • Understanding the opportunities to generate value from periodic impact measurement and reporting.
  • Enhancing the manageability of impact data with IT systems that enable capture and sharing of data all along the supply chain.
  • Addressing how best to account for impact that occurs after the investor exits.

The Pulse of Impact Management can be used as a quick guide of current practices at the due diligence, monitoring and reporting stages of impact investing based on a scan of 257 publications, interviews with 17 firms in the impact investing arena, and SVT Group’s empirical experience in the field over the past 15 years. Download the report here.

Ask questions and learn more about the Pulse of Impact Metrics from Sara Olsen of SVT during an upcoming ANDE member webinar on Thursday, March 23rd at 10am Eastern Time: 
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/869101650579353603

The Center for Social Impact Learning (CSIL) was founded at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) in July 2014 to proactively advance millennial engagement in the emerging fields of Social Entrepreneurship and Impact Investing through three interrelated lenses: Academic, Experiential, and Action Research. CSIL stands out among today’s impact-driven career programs because it’s designed to serve the full spectrum of emerging social entrepreneurs—from undergraduates to graduate students to accomplished professionals, offering them both valuable learning experiences in the social enterprise field and seamless transitions from one stage of professional development to the next. CSIL acts as a vehicle for positive impact in communities around the world by partnering with small and growing social sector businesses and responsible investment funds seeking new talent, and then matching them with globally-minded and diversely-skilled professionals.  

SVT Group is “your outsourced Chief Impact Officer,” an impact management firm that provides investors, companies and social enterprises support to measure, manage and communicate their social and environmental impact (e.g. theory of change, impact metrics, impact IT systems onboarding and support, retrospective impact analyses and more). As pioneers in the social capital markets, Sara and SVT’s team of subject-matter experts have measured the social and environmental value of approximately $9.08 Bn in private equity, debt and grants in dozens of countries and issue areas. Recent clients include Yo Yo Ma, Restore the Earth Foundation, Fair Trade USA, Global Fund for Women, Beneficial State Bank, and CalPERS’ Environmental Investment Advisor. SVT recently celebrated its 15th year in business. @svtgroup 

Tags:  impact evaluation 

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AXA and Impact Hub’s Three-Month Scaling Program

Posted By Whitney Schaefer, Impact Hub, Thursday, March 16, 2017

AXA, the number one global insurance brand, has teamed up with Impact Hub, a global social innovation network, to find one great initiative anywhere in the world that is dedicated to helping reduce risks to people and their property. Read the full blog post on AXA's Prevention With Impact Accelerator here.


The winning venture, as selected by AXA employees and Impact Hub, can look forward to 50,000 EUR to help scale their initiative; a one-week personalized accelerator programin a European citydedicated to taking the initiative to the next level; three months of in-depth support from an AXA Global Graduate—a high-potential AXA employee who will work alongside the venture to develop their initiative’s scaling plan; and access to AXA executives for pro-bono expert advice throughout the program.

 

Initiatives can generally fit into any of the following categories: healthy living & fitness, addiction prevention & management, digital healthcare, mental health & wellness, chronic disease treatment, fire safety, road & automotive safety, security & theft prevention, workplace safety, safety at home, and cyber security.


Apply until March 24th. 


Tags:  accelerator  accelerator program  axa  health  impact hub  safety  scaling  scaling program 

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​Agora Partnerships Launches Application for 2017 Accelerator Cycle 2 Class

Posted By Elysa Neumann, Agora Partnerships, Thursday, March 9, 2017
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKRdMGQbY_Q&feature=youtu.be

 
Agora Partnerships has launched applications for its 2017 Accelerator program.
 
Through its flagship Accelerator program, Agora Partnerships strives to accelerate the shift to a sustainable economy by providing entrepreneurs who are intentionally building businesses that solve social and environmental challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean with the resources they need to grow. Since 2011, 125 companies working in 19 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have participated in the Agora Accelerator, raising USD $52MM in capital and creating over 5,000 jobs. This year, in solidarity with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Agora Partnerships is aligning our Accelerator tracks to advance the SDGs.
 
The Accelerator is a 4-month program designed to provide high-potential entrepreneurs with the knowledge, network and access to capital necessary to create system change, through in-depth, personalized, 1:1 consulting; access to the Agora Partnerships’network of mentors, investors, and capital opportunities; and a global community of peers.
 
Agora’s Accelerator program is designed for companies who are solving social and environmental challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean, matching the following criteria: 
 
  • early or growth stage, past proof-of-concept; 
  • currently looking for investment to scale; 
  • legally incorporated as a for-profit structure with basic accounting systems in place; 
  • average annual income of USD $50K to $2MM; and, 
  • with a clear, measurable and sustainable impact.
 
Agora Partnerships looks to work with entrepreneurs who embody the leadership qualities of agency, empathy, curiosity and perseverance.
 
To apply to Agora Partnerships’ 2017 Accelerator click here.
 
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Agora Partnerships is a network committed to leveling the playing field for entrepreneurs by finding innovative ways to drive more human, social, and financial capital to the leaders and ideas that will make our world a better place. To learn morevisit: AgoraPartnerships.org

Tags:  Acceleration  accelerators  Agriculture  Business  Caribbean  central america  energy  Entrepreneurship  Environment  impact  impact investing  impact investment  innovation  Latin America  nicaragua  SGBs; Environment; accelerators; energy  small and growing agrobusiness  social ent  social enterprise  social entrepreneurship  social impact  sustainability  talent  Women 

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Bringing Food Safe Technology in Guatemala: Fair-Fruit & InspiraFarms

Posted By Paula Rodriguez, InspiraFarms, Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Guatemala is now positioned as the world’s third-largest exporter of peas, and indigenous farmers living in the highlands produce 99 percent of these peas.

Guatemala’s participation in the global fresh vegetables and fruits market has required a rapid technological adaptation to changes in food safety requirements. When implemented, these technological adaptations ensure access to high-value and regulated markets such as USA and the EU.

The lack of availability of this kind of technology, such as food-safe cold storage, bulking and processing spaces, has become one of the major limiting factors in the competitiveness of smallholder farmers in export supply chains.

Small and growing agri-food companies and exporters have played an important role in facilitating the compliance of food-safe and quality certification standards of the smallholder production base. This is true in the case of Fair-Fruit, a Guatemalan company, who specialize in fresh fruit and vegetables destined for European markets.

In the past Fair-Fruit had been collecting all their produce from Salamá and transporting it to its main plant in Ciudad Vieja (Sacatepeqez) for processing, a six-hour trip which often resulted in produce spoiling and a loss of revenue.

In 2015 Fair-Fruit decided to place an InspiraFarms satellite Cold Storage and Food Processing Facility (an FP180) at their production site in Salamá. Fair-Fruit hoped to reduce produce spoilage and dehydration due to long distance transportation, as well as save money on their overall processing and transportation costs as their motivation for installing the FP180 at their production site.

According to Miguel Basterrechea at Fair-Fruit, “For many years we’ve budgeted 30% in quality and dehydration carrying the product for such long distances. Cooling down the product and working on quality close to harvest fields can reduce these losses in between 10% and 15%. With around 2,000,000 pounds harvested in a year we are talking of 240,000 more pounds per year, and at a US$0.73 per pound, this generates a net total of US$175,000 per year”.

 

To know more about InspiraFarms visit us at www.inspirafarms.com

You can know more about Fair-Fruit here

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Agriculture  central america  Guatemala  inclusive innovation  postharvest technology  small and growing agrobusiness 

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The Changing Face of Impact Investment: Interview with John Kohler

Posted By Patricia Haines, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University, Friday, January 27, 2017
http://www.financingsocialentrepreneurs.com/episode-2-changing-face-impact-investment-interview-john-kohler-co-founder-toniic-global-syndication-network-impact-investors-senior-director-impact/

Podcast: This is an in-depth and comprehensive picture of the state of impact investment today. In this interview, John Kohler, Senior Director of Impact Capital at Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, talks the changing face of impact investing and the growth of new financing vehicles such as structured exits and the demand dividend. John highlights the particular challenges facing social entrepreneurs “crossing the pioneer gap” –the Transformative Frontier–trying to raise capital in the $500k -$1 million range. 

Tags:  impact investing 

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Workshop: Build a Career in Impact Investing

Posted By Ryan Steinbach, Impact Business Leaders, Monday, January 16, 2017

Location: Washington DC, USA

First Round Deadline: February 1

Build a career investing in what matters. The Break into Impact Investing Talent Accelerator is a 3-day intensive workshop in Washington DC for finance professionals and MBA students who want to build an exciting career in impact investing. As impact investing continues to demonstrate its ability to scale social and environmental innovations, investment firms will need a greater number of talented professionals to develop and manage the next wave of impact investment vehicles and funds. From February 18-20, Break into Impact Investing will prepare you for a career in this growing industry by:

  • Deepening your understanding of impact investing in an intensive 3-day workshop taught by leading practitioners from Washington DC-based impact investing organizations. Our practitioner instructors will discuss the industry landscape, provide real examples of impact investment deals, and share their own journeys into the space.
  • Positioning you for success with individualized assessment tools that will help you get clear on your next career move and practical workshop sessions designed to help you stand out in the impact investing hiring process.
  • Connecting you with impact investors based in the DC area who are hiring for open positions. In addition to our line-up of instructors, the workshop will end with a closed networking event, featuring top impact investing organizations in the region.

Break into Impact Investing is hosted by Impact Business Leaders (IBL) – a social enterprise that develops talented professionals into the next generation of leaders in social enterprise and impact investing. Join the 240+ professionals who have participated in IBL’s programs around the world and who are now emerging leaders at organizations such as, Acumen, Village Capital, The International Finance Corporation, and Asia IIX. Only 25 highly qualified professionals will be accepted into this program. If you’re ready to accelerate your impact investing career, apply for our program today. If you know someone who is ready to start investing in what matters, share our workshop and encourage them to reach to out IBL Marketing Director, Ryan Steinbach: rsteinbach@impactbusinessleaders.com

Tags:  impact investing  talent 

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Social Entrepreneurship: A Look Back, A Look Ahead

Posted By Patricia Haines, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University, Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Leaders in social entrepreneurship, from Miller Center, Skoll, Toniic, Acumen, FSG, and more, take stock of 2016, look ahead to 2017.

The cusp of the new year naturally prompts reflection about the past and speculation about the future. Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship invited some leaders in social entrepreneurship and impact investing to share their thoughts about the current state of the sector and some trends they see for 2017 and beyond.

“As social entrepreneurship evolves, we need to continually be creative about how we address our ultimate goal, which doesn’t change—and that’s to discover the best ways to help social enterprises worldwide collectively lift billions of people out of poverty,” said Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., executive director, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University.

Measuring Impact of Social Entrepreneurship

One of the big challenges is how to measure the impact of social enterprises on the communities they serve, as well as how to attribute what factors lead to particular outcomes.

“Is social entrepreneurship really making a dent in the big problems facing the world today? 2017 would be a good time to talk about this,” said Harvey Koh, managing director of FSG.

Sasha Dichter, chief innovation officer for Acumen, oversees the organization’s work in leadership and the spread of ideas, including Acumen’s work in impact measurement, called Lean Data. He said: “In 2016 we saw huge strides and appetite for impact measurement that was fast, cost-effective and useful to entrepreneurs. My belief is that in 2017 we will start to see widespread adoption of Lean Data and similar nimble approaches to impact measurement—and for the first time we will start to hear, at scale, the voice of the customers we are serving.”

“In any given year, financial returns can go up or go down. Up, we feel great; down, awful,” said Adam Bendell, CEO of Toniic. “Measured impact also has volatility, whether you look for social impact or carbon reduction. But values alignment—the process of aligning our investments with our values, across asset classes—that can go up each and every year, until it reaches 100%. And that steady progress is a source of tremendous psychic income to the conscious investor—one that mitigates the emotional volatility of investing and brings lasting joy.”

On the other hand, Lisa Kleissner, co-founder of KL Felicitas Foundation, observed that the notion of impact washing became more prevalent in 2016. Impact washing is when a company or organization spends more time and money claiming to be “impactful” through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices or producing investable products that truly deliver positive social and environmental impact. “To avoid impact washing, impact networks such as Toniic become so much more important—to provide clarity on what is and what is not impact,” she said.

One of the “goal posts” that Miller Center and others have identified for benchmarking the impact of social enterprises are the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs, which celebrated their one-year anniversary in 2016, provide specific goals for ending poverty, protecting the planet, and ensuring prosperity and well-being for all.

Marshaling Capital from Across the Investment Spectrum

Carolyn Woo, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), acknowledged the crucial role of financing in the success of social enterprises. She said: “CRS has taken some bold steps to become an active participant in the impact investing landscape, focused on leveraging resources, taking risks in new financing models, and helping to unlock entrepreneurial capital in the sectors and geographies in which we work. We see a number of trends that continue to inform our forward momentum on impact investing, including an increased interest from our traditional donors to catalyze the sector.”

As an example of these trends in impact investing, Woo described a CRS partnership with USAID to develop a fund that will make grants and loans to community organizations in Guatemala’s Western Highlands. This fund will be paired with technical support for communities to develop robust, inclusive development plans and projects—and it will be augmented by $50 million of additional public and private support for the target communities.

“As we move into 2017,” Woo continued, “we are looking forward to new partnership opportunities to create similar innovative financing solutions. We have also committed our own funds to make mission-aligned investments that create sustainable solutions for the poorest and most vulnerable worldwide.”

KL Felicitas Foundation’s Kleissner noted that 2016 saw “a remarkable uptick across the ecosystem in the increase of financial product offerings, impact intermediaries and new capital moving in. Impact investing definitely arrived in 2016,” she said.

To help explore new ways to address the funding of social enterprises, particularly as they scale, Miller Center has identified the “Transformative Frontier,” which spans the entire investment spectrum from approaches focused purely on investment returns to pure philanthropy.

“The trend line for social entrepreneurship has never been more promising,” said Sally Osberg, president and CEO of Skoll Foundation. “Increasingly, investors across the spectrum—commercial, impact and philanthropic investors—recognize the imperative for innovative solutions to societal challenges, knowing that the very future of democracy and free enterprise hang in the balance.”

Focusing on Replication and Taking a Systems Perspective

One potential avenue for making investment in social enterprises less risky, while creating pools of talent to expand the reach of social entrepreneurship, is to replicate validated social enterprise technology solutions and business models.

“We see strong potential in efforts to scale tried and tested models, while reaching deeper into the strongest pools of entrepreneurial talent. That would be great for accelerating impact, and it should also be interesting for investors,” said FSG’s Koh.

KL Felicitas’s Kleissner expressed a new urgency for impact investing and social entrepreneurship: “It has to be mentioned that the recent U.S. election underscored the importance of our work and that we are not working fast enough to solve domestic issues such as lack of access to education and sustainable job opportunities, both of which are key to a healthy democracy,” she said. “The relative ease with which Russia and social media manipulated U.S. voters laid bare how fragile our democracy is. My hope is that in 2017, the fourth sector—the emerging ‘for-benefit’ sector of the economy combining the private sector’s market-based approaches with the public and nonprofit sectors’ social and environmental aims—will strengthen and become a force in healing our democracy.”

Skoll Foundation’s Osberg highlighted the challenges to social entrepreneurship from larger cultural issues: “Knowing the imperative for innovative solutions to preserve the future of democracy and free enterprise, those stakes raise the ante for social entrepreneurship. If social entrepreneurs are to fulfill the promise of their innovative solutions to social challenges, then more social entrepreneurs must be able to demonstrate results at scale, and more investors must be willing to make bigger and more sustainable bets.

“When one adds in populist uprisings in both developed and developing world countries—fueled by globalization, demography, climate change and automation—it’s easy to see just how much more challenging the task of the social entrepreneur becomes,” Osberg continued. “It’s incumbent upon all of us who seek out and support social entrepreneurs to appreciate that their work has become all the more difficult, to step up our commitments and to join forces for the future we know is possible.”

FSG’s Koh emphasized that “we need to move into systems thinking, which is a departure from the impact enterprise approach. As we push to overcome barriers, we realize that what’s needed is bigger than working with just the social enterprises. It also includes governments, societies and other pieces that are part of larger systems.

“The systems people and the social impact people have different starting points and they don’t interact, but they should be connected,” Koh continued. “For example, the world of governments and big bilateral donors and intermediaries might work to improve agricultural markets—a very systemic, top-down approach. Social enterprises might work from the bottom up with individual farmers. It’s difficult to connect these two ends because they live in such different worlds, but we need to tie them together by thinking about the end goals. Is it to get more social enterprises going, or is it to grow more capital, or is it to have economies that are more inclusive?”

“In my mind, the only effective path forward for social entrepreneurship is through collective action that achieves collective impact: identifying and replicating lots of similar innovations, while aggregating a full range of capital and applying it intelligently so that all the efforts add up to making a huge difference,” said Miller Center’s Kreiner.

Miller Center is a pioneer and leader in this field, having started its Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) social enterprise accelerator programs at about the same time the Skoll Foundation was founded and that Acumen was launched.

“Successful trailblazers see where to go before others know the path,” said Kreiner. “Miller Center has embarked on a number of experiments in replication, new capital approaches, and building a network to spark greater collective efforts across the entire ecosystem. Our hope is that this experimentation, along with thoughtful analysis and continued conversations, will lead to best practices that can be applied to communities in need.

“In the end, this is not just about entrepreneurship or investing or philanthropy,” he said. “It’s also about understanding how societies function, and how societies are affected by ever-changing environmental conditions. The call to action for all of us is to mobilize the capital, the innovation and the passion that will make it possible to achieve our ultimate goal of eradicating poverty on a global scale.”

As Pope Francis wrote in his Laudato Si’ encyclical: “We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis, which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded and at the same time protecting nature.”

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  CSR  leadership  Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship  Skoll  Social entrepreneurship 

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Kigali Farms & !nspiraFarms partnered to bring the first solar powered cold storage plant to Rwanda

Posted By Paula Rodriguez, InspiraFarms, Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Worldwide the mushroom industry is valued at US$20 billion, and in Rwanda the national government has been promoting the cultivation of mushrooms both for their economic potential and nutritional value.

Laurent Demuynck, CEO and Founder of Kigali Farms in Rwanda, started the social enterprise in 2010 with the twin goals of massively improving nutrition in rural areas and supplying high value produce to urban markets, domestically and as exports to the East African Community and beyond.

Says Demuynck,“our new button mushroom facility positions us to be the leading mushroom supplier in East Africa, with quite possibly the best button mushrooms produced anywhere in Africa. At the same time, our Kigali Farms team is driven to make oyster mushrooms the cheapest and easiest to grow source of protein for thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of smallholder farmers. Africa produces three times less commercial mushrooms than Australia, and we want to change that”.

The company started by producing and selling oyster mushroom growing kits for farmers and more recently using locally sourced wheat straw to grow fresh button mushrooms, which provide attractive margins in international markets. Kigali Farms has also begun to move further up the value chain, producing mushroom powder, which is used to fortify food products, and developing various packaged products, such as soups and sauces.

In 2015, Kigali Farms partnered with !nspiraFarms® and PSDAg* to bring the first solar powered cold storage plant to Rwanda as a cost-effective, reliable and low-carbon method to reduce post-harvest losses, maintain high quality and increase shelf-life of the mushrooms.

As Kigali Farms grows, it is engaging an increasingly large community of smallholder farmers. It provides its farmers with a combination of education and capacity development in conjunction with supplier contracts. With the capacity to process in excess of 250 metric tons of mushrooms per year and annually produce upwards of 300 ton of oyster mushroom growing kits, Kigali Farms continues to extend its outreach to local farmers across Rwanda.

To know more about Kigali Farms: http://www.kigalifarms.com/

To know more about !nspiraFarms: http://www.inspirafarms.com/

 

*The Rwanda Private Sector Driven Agriculture Growth (PSDAG) is a 5-Year project funded by USAID

 

Tags:  Agriculture  small and growing agrobusiness  smallholder farmers 

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