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Global leaders in impact investing recognized by GSG

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 16, 2018

New Delhi - 8 October 2018: The catalysts of the global impact movement have been recognized by the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG) at the 4th annual Impact Summit on 8-9 October in New Delhi.

The annual GSG Honors and GSG Millennial Honors celebrate the individuals and organizations radically reshaping how measurable impact on people and the planet is reflected in financial decision-making.

GSG Honors

The GSG Honors rewards and recognizes the outstanding individuals and organizations catalyzing the growth of the sector through management and ownership of assets, building the global impact market, and addressing pressing challenges through scalable impact enterprises. This year’s Honors are presented in partnership with Pioneers Post.

“It is the innovation and drive of leaders such as this year’s winners that bring us closer to a future where impact is the defining element to the business and investment decisions we all make,” said Sir Ronald Cohen, founder and chair of the GSG.

Sir Ronald will present the Honors to the winners alongside Pioneers Post editor Tim West.

“These bold disruptors showcased in this year’s GSG Honors are doing nothing short of putting us back in touch with our own humanity, demonstrating that people and planet can and must sit alongside profit and prosperity as we consider how our actions will impact on future generations,” said West.

      Impact Asset Owner of the Year: Blue Haven Initiative

The U.S.-based family office was among the first created with impact investing as its mission and focus, applying a rigorous portfolio-management lens to for-profit and philanthropic capital with the goal of aligning financial performance and public benefit.

“My wife, Liesel Pritzker Simmons, and I have long known that impact investing is more informed investing. We are excited to see the impact movement grow around the world and look forward to a day when investors everywhere are investing for positive impact,” says Ian Simmons, Co-Founder & Principal.

      Impact Asset Manager of the Year: LeapFrog Investments

Since its founding in 2007, Australia’s LeapFrog Investments has invested capital, people and knowledge in purpose-driven businesses, particularly those in emerging market, helping them to grow, to be profitable and to have real social impact.

Dr. Andy Kuper, Founder and CEO of LeapFrog, said: “LeapFrog is honoured to be named Impact Asset Manager of the Year, recognizing the team’s efforts over the past 12 months, and a decade of building a best-in-class investment institution. We are all lucky to be alive at a moment of a historic financial and social opportunity for business. Looking ahead to the next 10 years, we plan to extend our portfolio companies’ reach from over 100 million to 1 billion emerging consumers, profoundly changing companies, markets and lives. We look forward to continuing to support high growth healthcare and financial services companies to fulfil this ambition, delivering on our original mantra: Profit with Purpose.”

      Impact Entrepreneur of the Year: Dr. Devi Shetty, Narayana Health

India’s Narayana Health is a low-cost hospital network that has created an affordable, globally-benchmarked quality-driven healthcare services model by leveraging economies of scale, skilled doctors, and an efficient business model.

      GSG Honors - Impact Market Builder of the Year: The Impact Management Project

How impact will be measured has long been a pressing question facing the sector. The Impact Management Project is an ambitious initiative to provide coherent and end-to-end ‘rules of the road’ for impact management.

The IMP is a global network of standard-setting organisations, who have come together to accelerate widespread adoption of impact measurement and management. This is the first time that such a diverse group of organisations, from right across the value chain, and covering both public and private markets, have come together to provide coherent and end-to-end ‘rules of the road’ for impact management.

Clara Barby, The Impact Management Project (IMP), said: In financial management, ‘general acceptance’ of norms for how we talk about, measure and manage financial performance enables capital to flow efficiently across value chains and across borders. If we want impact management to become the norm for every enterprise and investor, we need shared principles, reporting standards and benchmarking methods for impact. Building consensus and coordinating efforts through the IMP network is our best shot at creating an impact management approach that can ultimately become generally accepted globally. It is a privilege to coordinate this truly ‘by the market, for the market’ effort – and I accept this award on behalf of everyone who participates.”

GSG Millennial Honors

The GSG Millennial Honors celebrates the next generation of impact leaders, honoring entrepreneurs under 30 who have founded or co-founded scalable enterprises with measurable impact. The year’s Millennial Honors are presented in partnership with the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE).

“ANDE is pleased to again be part of this effort to honor small and growing business (SGBs) led by the next generation of innovators. We know that SGBs drive prosperity in developing markets and it’s critical to celebrate entrepreneurs that are leveraging business to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Randall Kempner, CEO of ANDE.

This year’s winners are Samir Ibrahim, Founder and CEO of SunCulture, and Ankit Agarwal, Co-Founder and CEO of HelpUsGreen.

Sun Culture sells affordable, IoT enabled solar-powered water pumps and micro irrigation systems, bundled with ongoing support and financing to increase smallholder farmer productivity. Their solutions use clean electricity and increase crop yield by up to 300%, support farmer livestock and household needs, and generate up to 10x more income. SunCulture is currently saving 9 billion liters of water annually.

Samir Ibrahim, CEO & co-founder of SunCulture: “I’m deeply honored to receive this award. This award is a reflection of the commitment that each and every person at SunCulture makes to all of our customers, and I feel lucky to do this work with everyone on our team.”

HelpUsGreen preserves the Ganges River by collecting the floral waste from temples that is otherwise dumped in the river and up-cycles it into charcoal-free incense sticks and biodegradable alternate to Styrofoam. This, in turn, provides livelihoods to marginalized women in Uttar Pradesh, India.

“We are deeply humbled by the GSG recognition and opportunity to represent our work, furthering the impact work towards cleaning the Ganges and Sustainable Development Goals”


Meg Massey, GSG Director of Communications

+1 202 827 5712



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How donor supported engagement on enabling environment can help your business grow

Posted By Mark Sevier, Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation, Monday, October 15, 2018

Policies, laws, regulations, and norms — i.e., enabling environment factors — that govern market behavior substantially impact businesses’ viability, scale, and growth trajectory. In emerging markets, enabling environment factors can also affect how businesses ultimately reach consumers who depend on their goods and services to make a basic living. In rural agricultural settings, for example, smallholder farmers (those farming fewer than five acres) are often left out of formal markets and have little access to government programming; they therefore depend on the affordable access that businesses can provide.

Major multilateral development agencies and government donors are increasingly looking at how enabling environment issues can constrain or foster robust markets that benefit the poor, including smallholder farmers. A newly released report from the Feed the Future Enabling Environment for Food Security project examines how the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) can work with host country governments and private sector partners to create more conducive enabling environment conditions for investments that reach smallholder markets.

The report engages companies working in the smallholder farmer markets of Bangladesh, Guatemala, Kenya, Uganda, and Nigeria. Based on conversations with private sector company representatives, the report explores how enabling environment factors positively or negatively affect business growth in terms of reaching smallholder farmers at scale. It provides a sounding board for private sector opinions on how USAID and other development partners can best support private sector investment and help address the policy constraints that threaten to derail these crucial investments.

Access the full report and technical learning note here to learn what your peers are saying and suggested implications for donor engagement and support.

As donors move to help address enabling environment issues that limit conditions for investment and the impact of development programming, private sector actors have a key role to play in shaping the process through having their voices heard and stories engaged. Below are key takeaways from private sector interviewees as well as ways in which donor supported engagement can help your business better engage on enabling environment factors.

Enabling Environment Factor

How a Donor Can Help

Enabling environment issues don’t necessarily factor into whether investors make an investment or not; rather, they shape the details of the final investment.

For example, foreign investors tend to operate through a local partner to shift the risk of regulatory compliance. This can affect local companies who then must manage many systems across multiple jurisdictions, adding additional costs to their own operations. High costs and complicated, unclear forms incentivize businesses to limit operations to one country or to regional markets with similar operating environments.

De-risking grants and/or acceleration services.


Find out if the donor has opportunities to off-set the high cost of capital through operational grants that defray costs. In a constrictive enabling environment, this avenue can give your company the necessary time to reach growth potential in concert with traditional financing. This type of engagement can also open dialogue for your company to educate and inform the donor into best practices for them to support private sector to thrive.

Enabling environment factors influence business decisions to exit markets or cut existing business lines.

Risks due to policy changes, procedural delays, or “unfriendly” business policies can influence businesses to simply stop operating in a given country or region.

Join multi-stakeholder stakeholder forums.

Many funders are heeding advice to draw on their convening power to organize working groups and open opportunities that benefit their intended beneficiaries. Examples abound in sectors such as cocoa, coffee, and palm oil illustrating the power of such groups. Join them and proactively participate in meaningful ways to help effect change.

Enabling environment reforms can benefit from reliable, quality data and evidence.

Business see the donor role in policy reform as providing reliable evidence, and more and more donors are delivering through new initiatives. Donors can help not only by providing evidence but by using their convening power to inform existing or proposed policies.

Engage about your data needs.

Donors publish a high volume of helpful research, data analyses, articles, and policy papers to solve pressing issues identified by the public or private sectors. Engage donors on what types of data would be helpful for your business. Chances are there may already be existing market data on which you can draw to lower your operational and marketing costs.


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FINCA International and USAID PACE Launch FINCA Forward, a Fintech Innovation Platform

Posted By Michael Leen, FINCA International, Thursday, October 4, 2018

Global microfinance pioneer FINCA International, in partnership with USAID, announces the launch of FINCA Forward, a fintech innovation platform. This two-year pilot will facilitate collaboration between early-stage financial technology enterprises and microfinance institutions (MFIs) to help small and growing fintech businesses overcome the pioneer gap and to enable MFIs to better reach underserved and underbanked populations, especially women. Participating fintechs will run proof-of-concepts in close collaboration with MFIs in Africa and Latin America, which will include tailored pre-investment support and the opportunity to access investment capital. For more information, visit


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Tags:  Financial Inclusion  Fintech  innovation  Microfinance  SGBs 

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TrustLaw Awards: you are invited!

Posted By Flavie Fuentes, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Tuesday, September 18, 2018

TrustLaw is the global pro bono program of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a new ANDE member. We connect non-profits and social enterprises around the world with the best law firms who provide pro bono legal assistance to drive social change.  

We will host our TrustLaw Awards next week on September 26th in Times Square, NYC. These awards recognize high impact pro bono projects and lawyers who have gone above and beyond in providing  pro bono legal assistance to non-profits and social enterprises. Each award will commemorate an extraordinary commitment to social change through the power of pro bono.

Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth will open the ceremony and a panel discussion on Business and Ethics will follow. We will then have drinks and nibbles and would love to meet with ANDE members!

You can RSVP here. Hope to see you there! 

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Public Private Partnerships to Address Emerging Threats to Smallholder Farmer Food Security

Posted By Mark Sevier, Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation, Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Background: Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Feed the Future (FTF) initiative. The goal of this announcement is to develop public private partnerships to support smallholder farmers and complement the U.S Government Global Food Security Strategy[1] by directly engaging with the private sector to empower farmers with the tools and technologies they need to face the wide range of emerging threats and shocks in smallholder agriculture. These threats and shocks include fall army worm[2], coffee rust, and other plant and animal pest or disease issues, as well as drought, other natural hazards, and weather-related issues that impact food production and security. Helping smallholders access capital and resources, build assets, and manage risk are important strategies to prepare for and recover from these threats and shocks. Through these activities and investments, private sector agribusinesses will target smallholder customers with proven solutions to these emerging threats, thereby improving smallholder production and regional food security, while also establishing profitable product lines and expanding market opportunities for sustainable business growth. Additionally, Partnering for Innovation and USAID will help private sector partners assess and improve adaptability and responsiveness within their own business models, distribution channels, and inventorying systems to build their capacity to better help farmers proactively reduce and manage risk and recover from shocks and stresses. The full solicitation is posted here.

Funding Opportunity: Overall funding from Partnering for Innovation for this solicitation is up to $3 million with up to five partnerships anticipated.

Deadline for questions:  Deadline is September 14, 2018 by 11:59 pm EDT; answers will be posted to the funding page.

Deadline for submission: October 3, 2018 at 11:59 pm EDT. To complete the application, please use the budget template and budget costs notes posted to the funding page.

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GroFin, shortlisted for Finance for the Future Awards 2018

Posted By Shailen Neewoor, GroFin, Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Updated: Thursday, August 30, 2018
We are excited and proud to announce that GroFin has been nominated as a finalist for the ICAEW & Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) - Finance for the Future Awards 2018 - in the 'Building Sustainable Financial Products' category.

GroFin was shortlisted in the Building Sustainable Financial Products, which recognises organisations that create sustainable business products that are financially sustainable.

GroFin entered this prestigious award to share the achievements of the GroFin Model – an integrated solution of finance and business support to small and growing businesses. The application of this model through the Small Growing Business (SGB) Fund has sustained over 37,000 jobs in Africa since its launch in 2014.

Guido Boysen, GroFin CEO, said: “We are thrilled to be a finalist in the Finance for the Future Awards. This achievement is thanks to the support of our investors, partners and staff. The nomination is an endorsement of our efforts to support and grow SMEs across our 11 countries of operations in Africa.”

Tags:  ANTHOS  Calvert Impact Capital  CDC  DFID  DGGF  FINFUND  FMO  International Finance Corporation  Mastercard Foundation  Omidyar Network  Open Society Foundations - Soros Economic Developm  Rockefeller Foundation  Shell Foundation  Skoll  Triple Jump  USAID 

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SEAF Launches Gender Equality Scorecard ©

Posted By Robert Webster, Small Enterprise Assistance Funds (SEAF), Monday, August 27, 2018

SEAF Launches Gender Equality Scorecard ©


Washington, D.C. (August 27, 2018)


SEAF, the emerging market impact investing firm, has announced the launch of its proprietary Gender Equality Scorecard (“GES”), which will be a vital tool to support the promotion and achievement of women’s economic empowerment and gender equality in SEAF’s global investments.  The GES is initially being piloted in SEAF’s investments in Southeast Asia and it is expected to be used eventually across SEAF’s world-wide, impact investing platform.


Jennifer Buckley, SEAF Senior Managing Director, stated, “SEAF’s Gender Equality Scorecard is launched with the conviction that those firms that realize internal gender equality in terms of compensation, leadership and other factors are superior financial performers and powerful drivers of women’s economic empowerment.  In this way, SEAF sees enormous potential in using the GES to create shared value for women, investors and entrepreneurs.”


SEAF’s Gender Equality Scorecard will assess potential and existing SEAF investees on gender equality, scoring across six key gender equality vectors:  pay equity, leadership and governance, workforce participation, benefits and professional development, workplace environment, and women-powered value chains.  These assessments will identify opportunities to improve gender equality and hence guide SEAF’s critical post-investment value creation work.


The Scorecard was born out of SEAF’s current gender lens investing initiative, the SEAF Women’s Opportunity Fund.  This Fund was launched in partnership with the Investing in Women (“IW”) initiative of the Australian government and focuses on women-led/owned businesses in Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia.  The Criterion Institute, the gender lens investing think tank and an IW partner, has played a critical role in GES’ development.


“SEAF’s Gender Equality Scorecard represents an exciting and innovative development to advance gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in the impact investing space,” explained Joy Anderson, President and Founder, Criterion Institute. “We are delighted to partner with SEAF and look forward to the GES’ continued development and influence.”


Bob Webster, SEAF Managing Director, said, “The Gender Equality Scorecard is the next key step in our gender lens investing journey and we look forward to working with our partners, including future stakeholders such as asset managers and academic institutions, in assessing its validity and improving it over time.  After its pilot use in the SEAF Women’s Opportunity Fund, its use will be expanded to SEAF’s next generation of gender lens investing initiatives, which are currently under development.”

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Tags:  creating shared value  emerging market  financial inclusion  gender equality  impact investing  impact investment  inclusive business  innovation  womenCreating Shared Value  women's economic empowerment 

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FINCA International Launches FINCA Ventures, an Early-Stage Impact Investor

Posted By Michael Leen, FINCA International, Wednesday, August 22, 2018

ANDE Member and global microfinance pioneer FINCA International has announced the launch of FINCA Ventures, an impact investing platform that provides patient capital and pre- and post-investment support to help early-stage social enterprises achieve growth and scale.

FINCA Ventures aims to accelerate the growth of social enterprises developing goods that align with FINCA’s charitable mission, thus fostering a market for affordable, high-quality and life-improving products and services for low-income families.

Over the past 18 months, FINCA Ventures has invested in six social enterprises serving emerging market customers, including Amped Innovation, BioLite, Eneza Education, Good Nature Agro, Ignitia and Sanivation. The investment profile for FINCA Ventures spans energy, WASH, education, health, agriculture and fintech, with a geographic focus on sub-Saharan Africa.

For more information, visit

or contact and


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Tags:  ANDE Members  BOP  impact investing  social enterprise 

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Why Iraq makes a compelling case for Impact Investments

Posted By Shailen Neewoor, GroFin, Tuesday, August 21, 2018

In December 2017, Iraq confirmed it had defeated the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, three years after the jihadi group swept through the country, seizing some of its largest cities and wreaking havoc on the local population.

Now, authorities estimate Iraq needs nearly US$90 billion to restore the country that has been reeling under the impact of occupation by the ISIS. While the 10-year reconstruction plan will cost US$88.2 billion, at least a quarter, US$22 billion, is required immediately.

Of this, Iraqi officials state that at least US$17 billion will go toward rebuilding homes. The United Nations estimates 40,000 homes need to be rebuilt in Mosul alone. A major city in northern Iraq, Mosul was affected most deeply by ISIS extremists who devastated homes, schools, hospitals and economic infrastructure, displacing millions of people.

GroFin Iraq Client - Basra Driving Institute

And the turmoil in Mosul is just the tip of the iceberg. Across the nation, the war against the ISIS displaced more than 5 million people – of which less than half have returned to their hometowns in Iraq. Moreover, more than 4 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance with 3 million unable to regularly attend school in Iraq, according to UNICEF statistics. As many as one in four Iraqi children live in poverty in the nation of 37 million.

Also, as OPEC’s second-largest crude producer and home to the world’s fifth-largest known reserves, Iraq needs up to US$7 billion to repair its oil and gas fields as it is currently struggling to pay the international firms running them. Against this backdrop, the Middle East as a whole, especially countries like Kuwait whose deep pockets rely on oil production, have taken a hit in recent years as energy prices crashed and only recently began regaining ground.

Given the enormity of the humanitarian and economic crisis that is threatening to engulf the Middle East as a whole, governments from around the world have pledged billions of dollars in loans and investment for the reconstruction of Iraq. Indeed, Iraq secured nearly US$25 billion in investment and credit during an international donors’ conference in Kuwait City, with Britain and Turkey leading the charge.

While some observers question the rationale for investment instead of aid, it cannot be denied that having a long-term stake in Iraq – as is implied by an investment over a prolonged period of time – promises sustained and targeted engagement and interest in the country. Long-term investments are most certainly the need of the hour, with schools, sanitation and basic health care all sorely needed in areas devastated by the ISIS.

Such infrastructure projects could well be undertaken by private sector companies, backed by the World Bank or external donors. Indeed, to support rebuilding efforts in Iraq by attracting investors, World Bank officials have been pointing to legal guarantees available in post-ISIS Iraq, courtesy an investment law that offers ownership, unlimited cash transfers and tax breaks, among other benefits.

GroFin Iraq Client - Al Majal Technical Services (AMTS)

However, officials acknowledge a feeling of fatigue from international donors, especially since the ISIS occupation has sparked the biggest mass migration since World War II. Moreover, ennui has set in, as this is the second time in less than two decades that Iraq has turned to the international investor community and government allies for support in nation rebuilding, the last time being the aftermath of the 2003 war.

At this critical juncture, Iraq needs a concerted focus to rebuild the nation by raising funds from right-minded and long-term investors in a manner that is sustainable and inclusive. It is here that impact investors, with their sense of mission, emphasis on blended returns instead of purely financial returns, and focus on developing vital needs sectors such as schools, hospitals and energy, have an important role to play.

Within the impact investing arena, pioneering organisations such as GroFin that have an entrenched presence in the Middle East, can lead the way for the investor community as a whole. GroFin’s dedicated Nomou Iraq Fund supports 81 local entrepreneurs and has extended funding of US$ 4.9 mn to 9 homegrown SMEs that sustain a total of 657 jobs and support 3,285 livelihoods per annum (all figures as at end of 2017). Moreover, Nomou Iraq’s finance and support touches many lives at the base of the pyramid (BoP), with 46% of all employees at investee SMEs comprising low-to-semi-skilled workers, while 700 customers served per annum belong to BoP households.

Ultimately, impact investments are the need of the hour for Iraq as the war-torn nation grapples with an uncertain future in the absence of the required funding to build basic infrastructure for its residents, currently counting as many as 3 million internally displaced persons. If you are an investor seeking to make a difference in the Middle East, GroFin Iraq would be happy to partner with you and enable you to reach out to local entrepreneurs whose businesses are generating employment at scale and touching multiple lives.

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Funding Opportunity: Solicitation for New Agricultural Partnerships (SNAP) in Cambodia

Posted By Mark Sevier, Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation, Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation is now accepting applications from private sector firms in response to its Solicitation for New Agricultural Partnerships (SNAP) in Cambodia.

Partnering for Innovation will provide funding on behalf of USAID/Cambodia by developing shared-value partnerships with private sector companies selling high-quality inputs and services to small, medium, and/or large-scale farmers. The partnerships, which will benefit both the business and its farmer customers, will be designed to develop Cambodia’s agricultural sector and spur economic growth by introducing or scaling commercial products and services that increase farmer productivity. 

For-profit businesses, including domestic and international businesses registered in Cambodia, are invited to submit an application. Applications are due by September 14, 2018. 

To learn more, review requirements, and apply, please click here!

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