Print Page   |   Sign In   |   Register
Notes from the Network
Blog Home All Blogs

We are pleased to release the 2018 GroFin Impact Report

Posted By Shailen Neewoor, GroFin, Friday, August 16, 2019

"Famous rock musician and philanthropist Bono once remarked that impact investing is an excuse for good people doing bad deals. We would argue that GroFin is about good people doing real deals. GroFin has invested nearly $340 million in 708 small and growing businesses (SGBs) and in doing so helped them to sustain over 28,000 jobs. These deals might not hit the headlines or generate “alpha returns”, but they do deliver real impact alongside positive financial returns,” Guido Boysen, GroFin CEO.

This year we have changed the format of our annual Impact Report by adopting the Integrated Reporting guidelines. This brings GroFin in-line with global best-practice to report on how we create value by leveraging the various forms of capital at our disposal. This framework enables us to look at the business in an integrated way.

The report provides as an overview of the following:

  • GroFin’s business model and strategy
  • Our biggest accomplishments during the past year
  • The financial performance and impact generated by each of our six active Funds
  • The successes of our clients and how they are changing lives in the communities where they operate.

We are forever grateful to our clients, investors, funders, partners, and staff without whom our success and impact would not have been possible.

Visit the report website

Download the report

 Attached Files:

Tags:  A Access to Finance  Access to Finance  Africa  Agribusiness  Agriculture  ANDE Members  ANTHOS  Base of the Pyramid  Business  Business Models  Calvert Impact Capital  capacity development  CDC  DFID  DGGF  East Africa  education  energy  entrepreneurship  finance  FINFUND  FMO  gender  Global. Development  IFC  impact  impact assessment  impact evaluation  impact investing  impact investing; gender lens investing; gender; w  impact investment  impact management  impact measurement  International Finance Corporation  Investors  Mastercard Foundation  MENA  missing middle  Open Society Foundations - Soros Economic Developm  Philanthropy; impact investing  Scale  SDGs  SGB  SGBs  SGBs; accelerators; East Africa  SGBs; small and growing businesses impact investin  SGBs; West Africa; Senegal; Africa; MENA; Entrepre  Shell Foundation  Skoll  small and growing agrobusiness  small and growing businesses impact investing  smes  social impact  Soros Economic Development Fund  South Africa  supply chain  sustainability  sustainable development  Tanzania  Triple Jump  Uganda  USAID  West Africa  Women  World Bank Group  Youth 

PermalinkComments (0)

Upaya Social Ventures Funds Its Latest Investments from A Recoverable Grant Pool

Posted By Heather Soehn, Upaya Social Ventures, Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Upaya raised $2M to expand its job-creating investments, including an innovative $1M Pool of Recoverable Grants that was used to fund its latest two investments in agribusiness enterprises.

Press Release (SEATTLE) -- Upaya Social Ventures announced the completion of its $2M campaign to double the nonprofit’s investment reach within five years. $1 million of the funds raised will support operating expenses with the balance an innovative pool of recoverable grants. The unusual fundraising vehicle will fund Upaya’s investments over the next five years in social enterprises creating jobs for the poorest of the poor.

This initiative expands on a financial innovation in the nonprofit sector – the “recoverable grant” – by pooling such grants to fuel a diverse portfolio of impact-driven investments that allow the donor to possibly recover their philanthropic contribution along with a sliver of upside.

“Upaya is excited to provide an option to philanthropists to fuel our investments in a way that can return their donations if our investments do well.” Upaya CEO Kate Cochran said. “We think this kind of structure aligns all of our interests with the ultimate success of the entrepreneurs and their jobholders.”

The $1M for operating expenses was donated by the Allen Blue and Kira Snyder Fund, a donor-advised fund. Those funds will be used for sourcing, selecting and supporting the investments. Allen Blue is the VP of Product Management and Co-Founder at LinkedIn; he also sponsored Upaya’s first accelerator program in 2017.

The $1M recoverable grant pool has been completed with a leading grant of $500,000 from The Delta Fund. Contributions from 3rd Creek Foundation, Chintu Gudiya Foundation, Galloway Family Foundation, Vibrant Village Foundation and the Norwegian Interhands Foundation have also been pledged.

“What is exciting about this recoverable grant pool,” said Upaya Co-Founder Sachi Shenoy in a piece written for Giving Compass, “… is that we are building on traditional philanthropy, creating additional innovative tools to help plug gaps in market-based economies, and benefit those who may otherwise be left behind.”

Upaya recently selected two companies for investment that participated in its 2018 Accelerator Program focused on the agribusiness industry in India. ZooFresh Foods and Laymen Agro, have received their first tranches of funding and became the first investees to come out of the recoverable grant pool.

ZooFresh Foods is a social enterprise based in Odisha, India that connects smallholder farmers with under-served markets to eliminate waste, increase farmer incomes, and enhance consumer access to local meats. Laymen Agro is a dairy company that brings village-fresh products from the rural Tamil Nadu region in India to urban kitchens while ensuring the majority of the consumer's expenditures goes back to the rural economy. Both companies share Upaya’s mission to create dignified jobs, or drastically improve incomes and livelihoods, for people living in extreme poverty.

“Expanding our reach through this pool of recoverable grants is just the beginning,” says Kate Cochran, CEO of Upaya. “We look forward to continue blending the boundaries of both philanthropy and impact investing to have greater impact than ever before.”

Having honed its approach over eight years and 16 investments, Upaya is planning to expand its reach. The pool of recoverable grants will enable Upaya to double its average annual number of investments, improving the returns from its portfolio through diversification.

About Upaya Social Ventures
Upaya Social Ventures (Upaya) creates dignified jobs for the poorest of the poor by building scalable businesses with investment and consulting support. Since 2011, Upaya has supported 16 small and growing businesses in India with investments and expertise, and those partner companies have created more than 13,000 lasting, dignified jobs. With offices in Seattle, Washington and Bangalore, India, Upaya is committed to a goal of helping its partners create employment opportunities in the world’s most difficult-to-reach regions and industries.


Tags:  fundraising  Grants  impact investing  impact investment  Philanthropy  Philanthropy; impact investing  Social entrepreneurship  social impact  Upaya Social Ventures 

PermalinkComments (0)

GroFin - Transforming SGBs in Africa & the Middle East

Posted By Shailen Neewoor, GroFin, Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Updated: Friday, June 15, 2018

Gain a deeper understanding of how GroFin, through its unique investment model in SGBs, is positively transforming small and growing businesses and the local communities they support. The inspiring success stories of its entrepreneurs exemplify the collaborative efforts of GroFin staff, investors, partners and clients. The 2017 GroFin Impact Report, Nomou Impact Report and Aspire Impact Report translates its faith in the power of the collective by asking the question “If not us, who? If not today, when? If not with our finance and support, how will these small businesses grow and succeed?”

2017 GroFin Impact Report

As at end 2017, GroFin has financed 675 small and growing businesses, supported 8,840 entrepreneurs, sustained a total of 86,190 jobs and touched the lives of 430,955 family members in the local communities across our 15 locations of operation in Africa and the Middle East. The report indicates that GroFin has made more investments in its priority sectors of education, healthcare, agribusiness, manufacturing and key services. Furthermore, GroFin invested US$ 60M in nearly 88 new small and growing businesses, with over 50% of the SMEs operating directly in our sectors of focus, sustaining 14,000 total jobs and supporting an additional 72,000 livelihoods. And to reinforce its value proposition of providing 'support beyond finance' the company introduced the GroFin STEP (Success through Effective Partnerships) Programme to support its SMEs and Entrepreneurs.

2017 Nomou Impact Report

The Nomou Programme is a regional initiative in MENA which was co-created by GroFin and Shell Foundation. As a result of the collaborative efforts of its investors, partners and clients, the Nomou programme is contributing to the alleviation of poverty and improvement of livelihoods in the communities where the programme operates, as well as striving to reduce the adverse impact of the humanitarian crisis in the region.

In 2017, the Nomou Programme supported 1,005 entrepreneurs, made investments into 103 SGBs, sustained a total of 10,287 jobs, touched the lives of 51,435 beneficiaries and added economic value of US$ 149 million per annum through its investee SMEs across Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Oman.

2017 Aspire Impact Report

Since their inception in 2014, the Aspire Small Business Fund (ASBF) and the Aspire Growth Fund (AGF) have sought to promote local entrepreneurship, employment and economic value-add in the Niger Delta. With the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) as anchor investor, the Aspire Enterprise Development Funds epitomise GroFin, a private development finance institution, and SPDC’s efforts to serve the local community with a combination of investment funds, business skills and market linkages.

In 2017 GroFin increased its commitment to supporting SMEs in the Niger Delta Region by investing in an additional 17 small and growing businesses and extending further funding of US$ 2.5M (140% increase from total amount invested as at end 2016). As at end of 2017, GroFin has supported 365 businesses, invested in 53 SMEs and sustained a total of 1,975 jobs under the Aspire Funds.

 Attached Files:

Tags:  2017  A Access to Finance  Access to Finance  Africa  Agriculture  ANDE Africa  ANDE Members  Base of the Pyramid  Business  business training  capacity development  DGGF  East Africa  education  finance  impact  impact investing  impact investing; gender lens investing; gender; w  impact investment  impact measurement  innovation  Investors  Kenya  MENA  missing middle  Philanthropy; impact investing  Private sector development  Rwanda  SDGs  SGB  SGBs  SGBs; accelerators; East Africa  SGBs; Environment; accelerators; energy  SGBs; West Africa; Senegal; Africa; MENA; Entrepre  small and growing agrobusiness  smes  social impact  South Africa  sustainability  sustainable development  Tanzania  Training  Uganda  West Africa 

PermalinkComments (0)

Announcing DIV:LIVE - A Social Enterprise Competition on August 26

Posted By Kristen Gendron, U.S. Agency for International Development, Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Spread the world to innovators and entrepreneurs! USAID's DIV program and partners are hosting a live pitch competition on August 26th in Amman, Jordan. 

The competition, DIV:LIVE, seeks innovations in the Middle East that aim to solve the world’s most intractable development challenges through demonstrated impact and cost-effectiveness. Innovators selected for the final stages through the DIV competition will pitch their development solution at the DIV:LIVE event to be considered for a grant ranging from $100K to $1,500,000+ USD. 

Learn more here and help us spread the word with the tools below.

Our target audience

We are hoping to get the word out to start-ups, social entrepreneurs, traditional entrepreneurs, and even NGOs and public sector-focused groups who can apply to the competition (winning seed funding of ~100K and scaling funding up to 15M), as well as other investors or stakeholders who might want to get involved. We are hoping to increase awareness/applications in MENA specifically, but are open to all applicants who would be willing to travel to the finals in Amman.

DIV:LIVE overview text for sharing

DIV and the USAID's Jordan Competitiveness Program are co-hosting a live pitch competition called DIV:LIVE on August 26th in Amman, Jordan. This pitch competition is open to any country, but we are specifically outreaching to potential applicants in the Middle East and North Africa region. Selected innovators will pitch their development solution to be considered for a grant ranging from $100K to $1,500,000+ USD. This event will include a live audience with other potential investors and relevant stakeholders. Any interested organization - nonprofit, for-profit, or university - can apply. Ultimately, we are seeking innovations that aims to solve the world’s most intractable development challenges through demonstrated impact and cost-effectiveness





Download File (PDF)

Tags:  Access to Finance  ANDE Members  Entrepreneurship  High-Growth Entrepreneurship  impact investing  impact investment  innovation  Investors  MENA  Philanthropy; impact investing  social business  social enterprise  Social Entrepreneurship 

PermalinkComments (0)

Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) follow-up info

Posted By Kristen Gendron, U.S. Agency for International Development, Friday, January 30, 2015

ANDE members,

Thanks to those who joined yesterday's webinar on Development Innovation Ventures (DIV)! It was great to connect and hear your insightful questions.

We are excited about working with ANDE members to help drive great innovators to the financial and non-financial resources DIV can offer. I am sharing with you some tools that will be helpful in those efforts. Below/attached you’ll find:

  • Quick description of DIV  
  • Draft social media content: many DIV applicants have found out about us through social media
  • DIV Factsheet (attached): feel free to share widely

I look forward to connecting further with your organizations in these efforts. Please feel free to reach out to me in the ANDE portal anytime.

Warm regards,

Kristen and the DIV team


About DIV

Development Innovation Ventures is an open competition supporting breakthrough solutions to development challenges around the world. DIV is looking for applicants in any sector, from any organization, company, or individual in almost any country in the world whose innovative ideas match our principles of cost-effectiveness, evidence of impact, and potential to scale. DIV invests grant financing in winners ranging from under $150,000 to $15 million.

Social Media Tools


  • Looking for seed financing or scaling support? @DIVatUSAID winners receive up to $15M. Apply today
  • Help spread the word about @DIVatUSAID to innovators in #GlobalDev around the world! Apply now!
  • #Innovation competition @USAID looks for bold #globaldev ideas from anyone, anywhere. Apply to @DIVatUSAID now.


  • Do you have the next big idea to change the world? Apply to USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures. You could receive up to $15M for your innovative solution.
  • Need seed funding to test and scale your development solution? USAID’s DIV accepts proposals year-round for innovations that will solve the world’s biggest development challenges. Apply now!
  • USAID’s DIV is an open competition supporting breakthrough solutions to development challenges around the world. Ideas can come from anyone, any sector, anywhere. Submit your application today 

Fact Sheet

Attached to give innovators an overview of DIV. This also on the DIV website.


*PS  - If you missed the ANDE - DIV 101 session yesterday and would like to watch, please connect with your membership manager Susannah Eastham.

 Attached Files:

Tags:  Acceleration  Access to Finance  early stage ecosystem  finance  Global. Development  Grants  Grants Rockefeller  High-Growth Entrepreneurship  impact evaluation  impact investment  innovation  Investors  missing middle  Philanthropy; impact investing  Private sector development  Public sector  social ent  social enterprise  social impact  social metrics 

PermalinkComments (0)

USAID competition now rolling to support innovations any day of the year, any sector, any country.

Posted By Kristen Gendron, U.S. Agency for International Development, Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Development Innovation Ventures (DIV), USAID’s open innovation fund, now accepts applications for innovative development solutions on a rolling basis, any day of the year. We are currently entering our fall application cycle, and looking for your help directing the best innovators to our competition.

Help us spread the word and apply today! Winners receive $150,000 to $15M depending on stage, plus nonfinancial assistance through a swat team of DIV portfolio advisers to support their organization’s growth. Proposals can be in any sector and any country in which USAID can operate.

To learn more, share with your networks, or to apply, see fast facts and tweets below, and visit DIV's website for more information.

About DIV

Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) is an innovation fund within USAID that sources, tests, and supports the growth of proven, cost-effective interventions.  Using a venture-capital approach, DIV directly invests USAID dollars through its global platform in solutions that demonstrate impact and have the potential to achieve sustainable scale.  


Applying to DIV: 5 things you need to know

  1. DIV invests across 3 stages of growth with grant funding ranging from under 150K to 15 million. Applicants select a stage based on how much evidence, if any, they have previously gathered of their solution’s success.

  2. DIV looks for solutions based on three pillars: 1) cost-effectiveness relative to alternative solutions; 2) evidence or plans to gather evidence of the solution’s impacts; and 3) the applicant’s plans to sustainably scale the solution beyond DIV if it is proven successful.

  3. DIV is about open innovation. That means the competition accepts applications every day of the year. Solutions can be in any sector and any country in which USAID operates. And proposals can come from any type of organization anywhere in the world.

  4. DIV uses a two-step application process. The first step is a 5 page business plan, or letter of interest, that is intended to be a light lift for both the applicants and the reviewers to assess whether the organizations are a potential fit. If you are invited to the next stage, DIV asks applicants to submit a more in-depth proposal that is evaluated by a panel of experts for final selection.

  5. DIV’s guiding document provides more thorough information on how to apply, what we look for, and what applicants can expect in our process. Use the APS in assessing your fit with DIV and in filling out your application!

Spreading the word on social media:

  • Looking for seed financing or scaling support? @DIVatUSAID winners receive up to $15M. Apply today
  • Help spread the word about @DIVatUSAID to innovators in #GlobalDev around the world! Apply now!
  • #Innovation competition @USAID looks for bold #globaldev ideas from anyone, anywhere. Apply to @DIVatUSAID now.
  • Awesome competition to apply to: @DIVatUSAIDlooking for innovative development solutions. Apply today #SocEnt
  • .@DIVatUSAID is looking to fund the next big idea in #GlobalDev. Apply now!

Learn more:

Visit us online here.

Tags:  Access to Finance  Asia  Business  Business Models  early stage ecosystem  emerging markets  Entrepreneurship  finance  Grants  impact investing  impact investment  Latin America  Philanthropy; impact investing  Scale  social enterprise  Social Entrepreneurship 

PermalinkComments (0)

Accelerate an Entrepreneur - Agora Crowdfunding is LIVE!

Posted By Dana Warren, Agora Partnerships, Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Dear Agora Community,

We selected our class of 2014. They are amazing. And they need your help!


We are very excited to announce a partnership with Indiegogo to enable the Agora community to invest directly - via the Agora crowdfunding page - in the development of entrepreneurs across Latin America with big dreams of building businesses that can address our most pressing social and environmental problems.



The 30+ entrepreneurs selected to the Agora Class of 2014 (official announcement to come early 2014) are all committed to using business to create change. They have passion, vision, skills, and dedication, but many need support to participate in the Agora Accelerator so they can gain the knowledge, networks and capital they need to succeed.


A small donation to help an entrepreneur participate in the program will result in exponential impact. Entrepreneurs who have participated in the Accelerator have experienced an average annual revenue growth of 80% post-accelerator and an increase in net income by a factor of 5. These companies have also substantially increased their impact, creating more than 1000 new jobs and increasing full-time employee wages by 36%.


We are asking our community to help level the playing field for these amazing entrepreneurs.


All contributions are 100% tax deductible and no support is too small. Check out their campaign pages, and if you believe the world will be better if these businesses succeed, please make a contribution.




Campaigns will go live on a rolling basis so check back often. Help us spread the word by sharing this message with your own networks!

Thanks for supporting the Agora Class of 2014!


Tags:  Entrepreneurship  impact investing  Philanthropy; impact investing  social business  Social entrepreneurship 

PermalinkComments (0)

Agora Partnerships' Accelerate Women Now!

Posted By Dana Warren, Agora Partnerships, Monday, November 18, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Help us build a 50/50 global economy by supporting Agora Partnerships' inspiring women entrepreneurs of the 2014 accelerator class! 

Accelerate Women Now (AWN) is a movement fueled by those who believe in the power and potential of women business leaders to be change-makers in their communities and across the globe. AWN aims to raise money for the Agora Women's Scholarship fund to ensure that no woman with real potential to improve her community through entrepreneurship is deterred from participating in the Agora Accelerator due to cost. 


It's time to Accelerate Women Now! Donate to the Agora Women's Scholarship Fund!





Learn More:

Take Action:

We appreciate the support of the ANDE Community! For any questions, please contact Jesse Grainger at 

Tags:  Entrepreneurship  Philanthropy; impact investing  Social entrepreneurship  women 

PermalinkComments (0)

Agora event in Antigua, Guatemala

Posted By Dana Warren, Agora Partnerships, Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, July 16, 2013

We are excited to share that Living on One and Agora Partnerships are teaming up on July 27th at 6pm at El Sitio Cultural in Antigua Guatemala to share the award-winning film, Living on One Dollar, as well as a sneak-peak at Agora’s new documentary, Accelerating Impact. Living on One Dollar follows four young friends as they set out to live on just $1 a day for two months in rural Guatemala and battle with hunger, parasites and the realization that there are no easy answers. Accelerating Impact shows the journey of 35 entrepreneurs as they begin the 2013 Agora Accelerator. Following the short films, Agora's Guatemalan entrepreneurs will share their experiences and discuss how they have used the power of business to create social, environmental, and economic change in their own country. End your evening with Agora and Living on One with an after-party in Antigua to celebrate entrepreneurship. 

You can find all the details about the event on the event facebook page

Help us spread the word! You can find sample twitter posts, facebook posts, and newsletter paragraph in the attached social media guides (english and spanish).

Please contact Dana Warren ( with any questions!

 Attached Files:

Tags:  antigua  documentary  early stage ecosystem  Entrepreneurship  guatemala  innovation  Latin America  Philanthropy; impact investing  social business  social entrepreneurship  Women 

PermalinkComments (1)

Guardian Newspaper Interview with Peter Damian Mbama

Posted By Oluwatosin Kukoyi, RegCharles Finance and Capital Ltd, Friday, April 19, 2013
Hello all, 
Please find below the link to an interview conducted by Guardian Newspaper with Peter Damian Mbama (MD/CEO, RegCharles Finance and Capital Ltd) on the Control of Inflation and Determination of MPR.
Happy Reading!

Tags:  accelerators  Access to Finance  Africa  Agriculture  ANDE Members  early stage ecosystem  East Africa  Entrepreneurship  Environment  Financial Times  Grants Rockefeller  impact investing  inclusive business  Incubation  Philanthropy  Philanthropy; impact investing  SGBs; Environment; accelerators; energy  Social entrepreneurship  supply chain  sustainability  Women  Youth 

PermalinkComments (0)
Page 1 of 2
1  |  2