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Spread the Word: Stanford Seed is Seeking Applicants in Africa & India

Posted By Kendra Gladych, Stanford University, Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Stanford Seed is looking for high-potential CEOs or founders of companies and market-driven social enterprises based in Africa, India and Sri Lanka who are motivated for growth.

The Seed Transformation Program is an unconventional, high-touch learning experience that partners with entrepreneurs in emerging markets to build thriving enterprises that transform lives.

The application deadline is 15 June 2019.

Learn more about the program and access the application here.

Know someone who might be interested? Help us spread the word! Visit this online toolkit for easy ways to share the program with your network.

Tags:  Africa  Agribusiness  Agriculture  ANDE Africa  Business  digital economy  east africa  education  emerging market  emerging markets  energy  entrepreneurship  Fintech  High-Growth Entrepreneurship  India  India; ANDE members  Kenya  leadership  Liberia  professional development  Rwanda  Scale  scaling  smes  social enterprise  Social entrepreneurship  social impact  South Africa  Tanzania  Training  Uganda  West Africa  Women 

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Beyond Traditional Gender Lens Investing: An Intersectional Approach

Posted By Melissa Benn, The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, Thursday, April 4, 2019
Updated: Thursday, April 4, 2019

By Melissa Benn, Senior Program Analyst, and Alexandra Solomon, Senior Research Analyst for Ethics and Human Rights 

Gender Lens Investing: “The deliberate integration of gender analysis into investment analysis and decision-making

Gender lens investing (GLI) is “an investing approach that deliberately incorporates a desire to make a difference in the lives of women and girls, while meeting the risk/return objectives appropriate for an institutional portfolio.” The Criterion Institute and Jackie VanderBrug, Managing Director of Global Wealth Management at Bank of America, developed a comprehensive gender lens investing framework, defining, disaggregating, and evaluating the ways in which various investments can benefit and empower women.

Overall, GLI can include, but is not limited to, investments along the following three pillars: (i) Increasing access to capital for women, (ii) workplace equity for women, (iii) products and services for women.

Source: Investor toolkit with a focus on girls and young women. SPRING Accelerator, October 2018. Page 14.

Intersectionality: The interconnected nature of social categorizations, such as race, class, gender, and sexuality, and how they overlap to create interdependent systems of disadvantage and discrimination

In development contexts, women are often considered to be a singular unified cohort that can be grouped together and served based solely on their gender. However, women are not a monolith. This overly simplistic classification interferes with the development community’s ability to serve the most vulnerable populations of women. Intersectionality broadens the concept of “women” and brings visibility to women with differential identities.

Because different groups have different needs, one must pay explicit attention to, and create, programs and solutions focused on different categorizations of women. Such solutions and programs may include, but are not limited to: race, ethnicity, income level, food security, income security, education level, location, financial literacy, access to information, land ownership and access, number of children and/or dependents in the household, disease burden, and marital status. Accounting for these factors would create a truly intersectional and impactful venture fund that does not overlook or exclude women with varying degrees of vulnerability.

How do we best address intersectionality to ensure the three above-mentioned pillars of GLI are inclusive?


Increasing access to capital for women

At the US Chamber of Commerce’s International Women’s Day Forum, Jamie Sears, Executive Director of Americas UBS Community Affairs & Corporate Responsibility, spoke about the “myth of meritocracy in the entrepreneur space” and how “discrimination is structural and persistent.” According to the World Bank, 70% of formal women-owned small- and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries are either excluded by financial institutions or are unable to access financial services that meet their needs, resulting in a $287 billion gender funding gap annually. As investors rethink their impact and more purposefully direct capital flows, they have the opportunity to work with development actors to promote not only economic change and empowerment, but also the ability to address the accompanying shifts in attitudes, policies, and practices required to result in sustainable system change.


Workplace equity for women: Promoting gender equity throughout the value chain

Understanding how value chains are embedded in the social context that defines differential roles, opportunities, and barriers to success is essential to maximize efficiency, productivity, and profitability. Gender-blind and need-blind investments risk exacerbating gender inequities, failing to identify opportunities for economic growth, and widening the looming gender funding gap and gender agricultural productivity gap, which stands at an estimated 30% in Malawi. A purposeful focus on gender and other intersectional dynamics sheds light on the otherwise invisible relative disadvantages that all kinds of women face and can inform investment strategies in new or improved value chains.

Similarly, many development actors focus on microfinance as the silver bullet to women’s economic empowerment. However, by focusing on microfinance within spheres already in women’s limited areas of control (ie, market vending, textiles, etc), it is easy to overlook the root causes of inequities and not address larger systems built on patriarchal norms – such as politics, health care, and education – that exploit women and perpetuate their lack of adequate representation.

Further up the value chain, we see a growing body of evidence has linked gender diversity to measures of better performance, including return on invested capital (ROIC), return on equity (ROE), and ROE volatility. While this evidence highlights ROI for women’s representation and the damaging nature of gender-blind investments, more research is needed to parse out the different identities of women, such as women of color, women of varying income levels, LGBT people, and women living in the Global South.


Products and services for women

Very few companies directly address the needs of women, let alone the needs of women in the Global South. Jackie VanderBrug draws attention to the need for products that address the challenges that women face and how innovation has been gender-blind in many ways to date. In agriculture, for example, technology is “necessarily filtered through the gendered patterns of agricultural labour, household enterprises, family food consumption decisions and social structures.”

According to the SPRING Accelerator Investor Toolkit, “girls and young women do not need to be the direct end users to be impacted by a business’s products and services.” Investors can focus on ecosystems and specific industries, such as EdTech, that benefit and accelerate the success of women.


Foundation for a Smoke-Free World’s Agricultural Transformation Initiative in Malawi

If the work of the Foundation and the work of the development community is to address the needs of the most marginalized peoples, we must strive to define inclusion beyond gender. While women continue to be underserved and underutilized along the value chain, we have the ability to think deeper and to address the many layered issues that the most marginalized women in the world face.

The Agricultural Transformation Initiative’s (ATI) Investment Support Facility (ISF) in Malawi is focused on integrating smallholders into investor-grade transactions. All transactions in the pipeline must include women in a substantial way, integrate significant numbers of smallholder farmers into their business models, and demonstrate meaningful income and productivity increases for smallholders. We seek to answer the question: What does it mean to truly and materially integrate and include all women?

If you have ideas for helping to ensure the ISF is an intersectional investment fund, please comment below! We are always looking for new ideas to ensure we support the most vulnerable communities in Malawi and are eager to have you be part of the conversation.

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Tags:  Africa  capacity development  entrepreneurship  impact investing  Malawi  Women  women's economic empowerment 

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Impact Investing: Where are the Women?

Posted By Reuben Coulter, Transformational Business Network, Thursday, June 21, 2018

Only 7% of applicants were female - that's crazy!!

Over the past month I've been advertising for an Investment Director to lead our impact investing portfolio. To date, we've received 52 applications and only 4 of those were women - that's 7%. Where are all the female investors?

The opportunity

This is a major problem for impact investing which seeks to create economic and social transformation. Investors who are predominantly male will have an inherent bias and so may fail to engage with this enormous opportunity. Research in the US showed that male venture capitalists were much more likely to invest in male founders and it's unlikely to be any different in the impact space.

The opportunity is enormous. Consider the following:

  • Credit gap: Women SME’s worldwide face a $320 billion shortfall in access to credit despite women anecdotally having lower non-performing loan rates than men.
  • A multi-trillion dollar opportunity: According to a McKinsey study, closing the gender labor gap could add $28 trillion, or 26 percent, to annual global GDP in 2025.
  • The world’s largest emerging market: The female economy represents a market more than ­twice the size of India and China combined. By 2028, female consumers will control around $15 trillion of global consumer spending.
  • Our portfolio of purpose-driven entrepreneurs in Africa is currently 54% womenand we have found them more willing to work collaboratively to tackle social issues.

One piece of good news to emerge from the G7 (which you may have missed with all the Trump furore), is that their Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) have proposed a bold commitment to the 2X Challenge: Financing for Women to mobilise investment in the world’s women.

How can we address this issue?

For this commitment and impact investment in general to succeed we must nurture more female investors. I'd love your suggestions on how we can do this and who is already pioneering. Please include in the comments section below.

NB: We're Hiring!

If you know a fantastic female Investment Director then please let her know about our vacancy at TBN. Closing date 27th June.


Tags:  impact investing  Women 

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BCtA Webinar Series: Women’s Economic Empowerment and Inclusive Business

Posted By Nazila Vali, Business Call to Action at UNDP, Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Updated: Thursday, January 18, 2018


A Perspective from and for the Base of the Pyramid to Enhance Economic Opportunities for Women and Accelerate the Realization of the SDGs.

1st Webinar: Tuesday 30th Jan 2018, 4:00-5:00 pm (GMT+3)
2nd Webinar: Tuesday 6th Feb 2018, 4:00-5:00 pm (GMT+3)
3rd Webinar: Tuesday 13th Feb 2018, 4:00-5:00 pm (GMT+3)

We are excited to announce BCtA’s new webinar series featuring presentations and discussions with key experts who have helped to empower women at the Base of the Pyramid (BOP) market through their research, products or services development, policy or advocacy work. This is a unique chance to engage on both conceptual and practical issues around women’s economic empowerment for the BOP market.

The initiative is built on the recognition that there is a documented business case for the private sector to actively engage women as consumers, producers, suppliers, distributors of goods and services or employees. Women’s empowerment is a prerequisite, as much as it is an outcome, for achieving all the SDGs. Our webinars will demonstrate that businesses can be profitable and contribute to a company’s overall objectives while also helping to serve the interests of women at the BOP. 

Webinar discussions will feed into an insight report that will provide a comprehensive knowledge base to better understand the needs of BOP women at the BOP, thus informing and improving future programme and product design.

1ST WEBINAR | Women’s Economic Empowerment: the (Inclusive) Business Case
  • Aditi Mohapatra, Director, Women’s Empowerment at BSR
  • Anna Falth, Global Programme Manager, Empower Women at UN Women
  • Katy Lindquist, Communications Executive at AFRIpads
Moderated by Paula Pelaez, Programme Manager, Business Call to Action
To register and read more click here

2ND WEBINAR | Women's Economic Empowerment: Navigating Enablers and Constraints
  • Georgia Taylor, Technical Director at WISE Development     
  • Mashook Mujib Chowdhury, Deputy Manager, Sustainability, at DBL Group  
  • Nicole Voillat, Group Sustainability Director at Bata Brands
Moderated by Carmen Lopez-Clavero, Programme Manager Specialist, Private Sector and Economic Development at Sida
To register and read more click here

3RD WEBINAR | Women’s Economic Empowerment: Measuring Inclusive Businesses Impact   
  • Dr Catherine Dolan, Reader in Anthropology at SOAS, University of London, Visiting Scholar at Saïd Business School
  • Diana Gutierrez, Global Programme Manager, Gender Equality Seal for Private Sector Global at UNDP     
  • Anuj Mehra, Managing Director at Mahindra Rural Housing Finance Limited, India
  • Vava Angwenyi, Founder, Vava Coffee LTD, Kenya
Moderated by Nazila Vali, Knowledge and Partnerships Lead, Business Call to Action at UNDP
To register and read more click here

You will have the opportunity to share questions and comments when registering, during the webinar itself, and immediately following via a post-event feedback form.

We hope you can join us! Space is limited, so please register via the link below:


Tags:  business  inclusive business  sustainability  wee  women  women's economic empowerment 

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​Agora Partnerships Launches Application for 2017 Accelerator Cycle 2 Class

Posted By Elysa Neumann, Agora Partnerships, Thursday, March 9, 2017

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.
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:

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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Hurricane Matthew: Fonkoze's update and response

Posted By Natalie Parke, Fonkoze, Friday, October 14, 2016
Updated: Friday, October 14, 2016

As Fonkoze launches its response to Hurricane Matthew, we are mindful of the critical importance we can play as a local institution with an unprecedented network of infrastructure and clients. The 2010 earthquake in Haiti proved that effective recovery and relief comes from local, on-the-ground organizations that can respond with contextual experience and knowledge. Fonkoze is a 22-year-old Haitian organization with 45 branches, 950 employees, and more than 200,000 clients and members in every corner of the country. Fonkoze is committed to providing support to clients that will help them to rebuild their homes and livelihoods in a sustainable manner. Fonkoze’s assessment of Hurricane Matthew’s impact is ongoing, but it is already clear that the need is overwhelming, and we gratefully welcome contributions from partners.

Hurricane Matthew Overview

Hurricane Matthew, a Category 4 hurricane, hit Haiti on October 4, 2016. It was one of the most powerful storms to hit Haiti in several decades. According to the latest United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Situation Report, at least 473 people were killed; over 1.4 million Haitians (nearly 13% of the population) are in need of humanitarian assistance; and 2.1 million have been affected by Hurricane Matthew. In coastal areas of the South department, the World Food Program reported a 95% loss of housing and harvest. There are reports of 60 cases of cholera per day, up from 20 cases per week before the hurricane. Media and telecommunications channels in the south were severely damaged, which meant information about devastation was initially slow to emerge.

Fonkoze Action Plan

Sèvis Finansye Fonkoze (Fonkoze Financial Services or SFF) is eager to get operations running smoothly in all of its branches but particularly in the most hard hit areas; this is vital to enable clients and communities to access funds through their accounts and remittances transferred from other parts of Haiti and abroad. We are already seeing a spike in the number of transfers being sent to individual accounts as well as NGOs and churches from partner organizations overseas.

The eight most affected branches (Okoto, Okay, Aken, Ti Rivye d’Nip, Bomon, Lavale, Fondeblan, and Jeremi) serve 17,359 borrowers; we expect it to take some time to reach all of our clients, though Loan Officers have already begun contacting Center Chiefs. The outstanding loan portfolio for these branch regions was $2,472,445 as of September 30. SFF has established the following action plan estimated to take approximately two months:



PHASE I: Ensure all staff members are alive and well.

Complete. All of Fonkoze’s staff are accounted for, though many lost their homes and all their property. For one staff member, all he has left of his home and possessions are the clothes he was wearing when the hurricane hit. Assessment teams report that some areas are “completely unrecognizable.”

PHASE II: Ensure all affected branches are fully operational.

Partially complete. All Fonkoze branch offices have been open since Monday, October 10, in spite of a very challenging situation. Fonkoze is working with Digicel to repair communications networks in three of the branch offices which are, nonetheless, able to process transactions through remote support from other branches.

PHASE III: Assess and address damage to clients

Establish assessment tool

Complete. Operations has created a post-hurricane client assessment form for field staff to use. A similar form has been created for affected staff, themselves.

Analyze loan portfolio

Near completion. The loan portfolio is being sorted into categories: clients finished loan repayment; clients nearly finished; and those who have just begun.

Conduct client assessment

Ongoing. Field staff will visit and interview all affected clients in their Credit Centers and assess damage to business/livelihoods using assessment tools.

Distribute/adjust loans accordingly

Not started. Upon completion of client assessments, SFF will disburse new loans to clients who can support them and write off loans for those unable to repay them. CARE and Catholic Relief Services have service contracts with SFF to facilitate unconditional cash transfers to hundreds of the most vulnerable families. CRS has already disbursed $160 to each of 154 families through SFF’s Okay branch.


Fondasyon Kole Zepòl (the Fonkoze Foundation) has been working through its four departments to assess the impact of Hurricane Matthew on the lives and livelihoods of clients. Here are the latest updates from the Fonkoze Foundation’s teams:

·         Preventing cholera and waterborne disease: Nurses in Fonkoze’s Boutik Sante (Community Health Store) Program have been contacting the community health entrepreneurs. The health team will launch an intensive campaign on October 17 to train Community Health Entrepreneurs in its Boutik Sante Program and other Center Chiefs on hygiene and cholera prevention—a training to be replicated in their credit centers. Participants will also receive a 30-day supply of water purification tablets to distribute to each client in their centers, reaching nearly 25,000 households. They will also learn to train community members how to prepare oral rehydration solution (ORS) and to practice good hygiene, such as handwashing and safe food preparation.

·         Reaching the ultrapoor: Fonkoze’s Chemen Lavi Miyò (CLM) Program for the ultrapoor its assessment of CLM households. Thus far, it is clear that those located at high elevations suffered the most damage. The CLM Program has an emergency fund built into its budget to support its members in crises. In the event that the existing funds are insufficient, the team will welcome support from existing and prospective donors.

·         Supporting recovery of small businesses and associations: Fonkoze Foundation’s Zafèn Program works with five clients in the South and with 36 Village Savings and Lending Associations (VSLAs) in Grandans. At least two associations and one individual have lost their business due to the hurricane. We are working to reach out to the VSLAs; unfortunately, the staff member responsible for working with them lost her home. The Zafèn team will finalize the detailed analysis of their clients over the coming week. Kiva Microfunds, a longstanding partner, has offered to collaborate on a post-hurricane recovery loan product which could include a new loan to the clients to restart their businesses with a prolonged repayment period. 

·         Disaster mitigation and preparedness training: As part of Fonkoze’s long-term response, we will continue to provide community-based education like that offered by our Ti Koze course; one of the key sessions of the course is disaster preparedness.

Fonkoze’s Experience: Disaster Mitigation and Response

As a Haitian institution, Fonkoze is adept at navigating the complexities of working in a failed state with limited infrastructure, insecurity, economic instability, and climactic crisis. Our meticulous stewardship of donor funds meant that in 2010, we reported on every penny received in response to the Haitian Earthquake; 95% of the funds went directly into the hands of those in need and the rest supported Fonkoze’s unfaltering operations.

Fonkoze is committed to mitigating the impact of shocks by bolstering the economic resiliency of clients as well as their skills to protect themselves and their families. For over 20 years, Fonkoze has overcome one challenge after another to enable our clients to respond and recover when confronted with shocks—political crisis, economic instability, and natural disaster. Fonkoze’s response to some of the most devastating natural disasters included:

·         2004 – Hurricane Jeanne destroyed one of Fonkoze’s largest branches in Gonayiv and the homes and assets of 1,500 clients. Fonkoze offered to cancel the interest on the outstanding balance of these clients’loans and to fold those balances into new interest-free loans with extended repayment periods. Every dollar of those loans was repaid. The program’s success was reported at the World Microfinance Summit in Halifax in the fall of 2006, and has been widely praised.

·         2008 – Hurricanes Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike destroyed the homes and/or businesses of approximately 18,000 clients. Fonkoze again forgave interest on outstanding loan balances and also provided loans specific to recovery: Kredi Siklòn (Hurricane Loans). Fonkoze’s money transfer services also provided a valuable lifeline for clients; more remittances were handled in 2008 than in the six previous years, combined.

·         2010 – Haiti’s 2010 Earthquake killed over 200,000 people. Fonkoze’s head office and three branches were destroyed; five employees were killed; 470 staff were left homeless or in compromised living conditions; and over 19,000 clients’ homes and/or businesses were destroyed by the earthquake. Yet Fonkoze remained open even when commercial banks were not functioning. Fonkoze worked quickly to distribute remittances—some of the very first “aid” to reach the poor and vulnerable—totaling $95,816,784 in 2010. Fonkoze cancelled the pre-earthquake loan balance for 10,445 qualifying earthquake victims and distributed one-time cash grants to 19,811 clients and their families, benefiting 85,150 earthquake victims. And Fonkoze built a new earthquake-resistant headquarters in Potoprens.

Tags:  Haiti  Hurricane Matthew  Microfinance  Women 

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GE and Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship Partner to Accelerate Mother and Child Health Innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa

Posted By Patricia Haines, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University, Tuesday, March 29, 2016

 GE and Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship Partner to Accelerate 

Mother and Child Health Innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa 

GE’s healthymagination commitment and Miller Center’s GSBI® will provide expertise, resources and growth opportunities for social entrepreneurs working on maternal and child health 


SANTA CLARA, Calif., March 29, 2016 - GE and Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship today announced a partnership that blends Silicon Valley entrepreneurial acumen with venture impact investing to tackle one of the world’s most pressing problems: maternal and child health. 

The partnership will focus on a training and mentoring program for social entrepreneurs working on maternal and child health innovations in sub-Saharan Africa. The program enables more women to experience better health by improving the quality, access and affordability of care. 


The partnership objectives support key elements of ‘Good Health and Well-being’, which is #3 of the 17 “Sustainable Development Goals” set by the United Nations, and focuses on the reduction of the global maternal mortality ratio and ending preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age. 

The healthymagination Mother & Child program will help social enterprises operating in sub-Saharan Africa addressing maternal and/or child health strengthen their business models, refine business plans, reinforce organizational development, manage talent and learn how to scale sustainably. The program is being offered to 15-to-20 selected participants. 


“This program supports GE’s long track record in developing innovations for emerging markets while increasing positive health outcomes,” said Sue Siegel, CEO, GE Ventures and healthymagination. “We are excited to join Miller Center to accelerate the growth of social enterprises and commercialize innovative ideas while serving as a resource for entrepreneurs working to improve access, affordability and quality of maternal and child health in sub-Saharan Africa.” 


The healthymagination Mother & Child program utilizes Miller Center’s Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) methodology, which has been proven and refined over 12 years of helping accelerate more than 560 social enterprises worldwide. The program will begin with a three-day, in-person workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, followed by a six-month online program accompanied by weekly, in-depth mentoring from Silicon Valley-based executives. Additionally, by introducing participants to GE’s portfolio of products, organizations will gain specialized support and training on technologies and resources for the maternal and child health sector. 


“We share GE’s healthymagination vision for innovating new ways to address global health challenges,” said Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., executive director, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship. “The partnership between GE and Miller Center highlights the potential for social entrepreneurship to improve maternal and child health in a region of the world that has limited access to skilled health care providers.” 


“This unique collaboration is an opportunity to increase the access and familiarity of GE solutions in Africa,” said Jay Ireland, President and CEO of GE Africa. "The healthymagination Mother & Child program will empower sub-Saharan African social enterprises with skills training and economic development needed to improve maternal and child health across communities." 


Social Enterprises Invited to Apply to the Program 

The healthymagination Mother & Child program is aimed at social enterprises focused in the following areas: 

  • Delivery of health services to mothers and children 
  • Medical equipment distribution, training, use or maintenance 
  • Development of products or technologies that improve knowledge and/or access to care, such as telemedicine, mobile technologies, data analysis or image interpretation or 
  • Infrastructure services or facilities associated with needs from pregnancy to pediatric care 

To be considered for the program, qualified leaders of for-profit, non-profit or hybrid enterprises need to apply online by May 18, 2016. The selected finalists will be announced after a formal review and interview process by a panel of judges from GE and Miller Center. 


The panel will evaluate applicant social enterprises based on whether they: 

  • Have operating ventures beyond the ideation stage 
  • Have a validated business model with a product or service in the marketplace 
  • Have a sustainable financial model that can be scaled over time 

Six-Month Accelerator Program Capped by Investor Showcase 

The healthymagination Mother & Child program will end where it launched, in Nairobi, with an Investor Showcase event in February 2017. The 15-to-20 program finalists will have the opportunity to pitch their enterprises and health care innovations to a large and wide-ranging group of active investors in early-stage social enterprises. 


For more information on the program and application, visit 


About GE 

GE (NYSE: GE) is the world’s Digital Industrial Company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive. GE is organized around a global exchange of knowledge, the "GE Store," through which each business shares and accesses the same technology, markets, structure and intellect. Each invention further fuels innovation and application across our industrial sectors. With people, services, technology and scale, GE delivers better outcomes for customers by speaking the language of industry. 


About GE’s healthymagination commitment 

GE’s healthymagination commitment is about better health for more people. We continuously develop and invest in innovations that deliver high-quality, more affordable healthcare to more people around the world. For more information about our healthymagination commitment, visit


About Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship 

Founded in 1997, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship is one of three Centers of Distinction at Santa Clara University. Miller Center accelerates global, innovation-based entrepreneurship in service to humanity. Its strategic focus is on poverty eradication through its three areas of work: The Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI), Impact Capital and Education and Action Research. To learn more about Miller Center or any of its social entrepreneurship programs, visit 


About Santa Clara University 

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 9,000 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business and engineering; master’s degrees in business, education, counseling psychology, pastoral ministry and theology; and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.’s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see 


© 2016 GSBI is a registered trademark of Santa Clara University. All rights reserved.


Tags:  Africa  ANDE Africa  social entrepreneurship  Women 

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Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship Outlines Initiatives to Reach "1 Billion by 2020"

Posted By Patricia Haines, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University, Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Miller Center is homing in on Women Rising, Climate Resilience, and measuring the impact of social entrepreneurs and their ventures.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Feb. 11, 2016—To accelerate its aim of positively impacting the lives of 1 billion people by 2020, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University is focusing on two initiatives—Women Rising and Climate Resilience—which will direct its efforts to help social entrepreneurs.

The Center also has hired a new associate director of social impact assessment to help in finding the best ways to evaluate and prove the success of social enterprises -- metrics that are vital to attracting investors to the field of “impact investing.” In addition, understanding what is driving improvements helps social entrepreneurs plan better, apply enhancements more effectively, and ultimately significantly scale their impact. Joe Schuchter, DrPH, a former operational researcher and monitor for NGOs in Cambodia and elsewhere, will continue and expand the Center’s work developing evidence-based methods for understanding and measuring the individual and collective impact of social enterprises.

“Miller Center empowers social entrepreneurs who in turn work to empower the world’s poor,” said Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., executive director of Miller Center. “Through our work with more than 560 social enterprises over a dozen years, we have developed proven methodologies and programs for helping social entrepreneurs build viable, sustainable enterprises. We have also identified where our approach has the potential for the greatest positive impact, and we’re focusing our energies on those areas.”

New Initiatives -- Women Rising and Climate Resilience

Beginning this year, Miller Center will select social enterprises for its Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) programs that are:
•    Led by women or addressing issues that affect women, or
•    Engaged in promoting resilience to the effects of climate change, particularly those addressing energy poverty, water poverty, sustainable rural development or health.

Women and girls represent the majority of the world’s poor and have fewer paths out of poverty, and investing in women and girls is widely considered the best way to end poverty for everyone. Women also are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change, meaning that Miller Center’s Women Rising and Climate Resilience initiatives are tightly interwoven.

In addition, of the social enterprises that Miller Center has already trained and mentored, more than half provide solutions aimed at helping poor communities adapt to climate change. Social enterprises that have participated in GSBI programs have built businesses around solutions for clean energy (e.g., solar and other clean cookstoves, renewable energy generation, solar lighting, sustainable biofuels), clean water (e.g., community-scale water treatment, household water filters, hand pump maintenance, other water treatment approaches), sustainable agriculture (biodigesters, innovative forestry for dryland farmers, production of green charcoal and biochar) and health (e.g., tech-enabled clinics, maternal and pediatric health services, hygiene and nutrition services, curable blindness).

New Emphasis on Metrics

To further support its Women Rising and Climate Resilience initiatives, Miller Center plans to design ways to better assess the impact of social enterprises.

That will include evaluating existing platforms for social impact data collection; capturing and analyzing data at the social enterprise customer level; facilitating research to understand why social enterprises fail; applying business analytics and big data methods to the work of GSBI alumni; and developing entrepreneur and academic curricula on the topic of impact assessment.

“The social enterprise space overall needs much stronger impact-focused measurement,” said Schuchter.  “Our impact assessment commitment is guided by four core principles: a social enterprise’s impact on its customers and the community it serves; our focus on the advancement of women and comprehensive climate resilience solutions; our objectivity and rigor advances only the most impact-focused and impact-capable social enterprises; and the fact that how we assess is as important as what we assess.”

About Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship
Founded in 1997, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship is one of three Centers of Distinction at Santa Clara University. Miller Center accelerates global, innovation-based entrepreneurship in service to humanity. Its strategic focus is on poverty eradication through its three areas of work: The Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI), Impact Capital, and Education and Action Research. To learn more about the Center or any of its social entrepreneurship programs, visit

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 9,000 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business and engineering; master’s degrees in business, education, counseling psychology, pastoral ministry and theology; and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.’s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see

Media Contacts
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | | 408-554-5121
Colleen Martell | Martell Communications for Miller Center | | 408- 832-0147

GSBI is a registered trademark of Santa Clara University. All rights reserved.


Tags:  climate  impact measurement  social entrepreneurship  Women 

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Have got an innovative solution to make SME finance work for the missing middle? DGGF/SCBDFacility may help you kick start!

Posted By Julia Brethenoux, Triple Jump, Monday, December 7, 2015

The Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF)/Financing Local SME is a “fund of fund” investment initiative from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs that aims to improve financing for the “missing middle” i.e. entrepreneurs that have outgrown micro financing but do not yet have access to regular financial services.

To this aim, DGGF has a Seed Capital and Business Development (SCBD) facility that can support innovative early-stage finance actions reaching underserved SME markets with up to 1 million Euros. The SCBD facility is especially interested in innovative, sustainable and scalable proposals that address one or more of the interrelated fundamental challenges of SME finance, namely high information asymmetry; lack of collateral; high transaction costs; and limited deal flow/growth potential. Of particular interest to SCBD are nascent finance vehicles that make SME finance work for female entrepreneurs, young entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs in fragile states.

Curious about the first SCBD transaction making debt financing available to African health SMEs? More details are available here 

You have an innovative SME finance solution just starting? DGGF/SCBD Facility might be able to support your efforts! More details about the opportunity, including application and selection process are available in the enclosed one pager.

Twitter: Professionals eager to close the financing gap for the missing middle, follow @SCBDFacility

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  Access to Finance  DGGF  early stage ecosystem  Entrepreneurship  impact investing  impact investment  inclusive innovation  innovation  Private sector development  Women 

PermalinkComments (0)'s Urban Resilience Challenge: Add Your Ideas

Posted By, Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Almost 4 billion people live in the world’s cities. By 2045, that number is expected to reach 6 billion. As the earth gets warmer, sea levels rise and weather patterns become more erratic, the fates of billions will rest on the ability of cities to transform in response to these pressures. People living in urban slums already struggle to access safe housing, water and other basic resources, and will be disproportionately impacted by these changes.

We believe this presents a tremendous opportunity for design. How might urban slum communities become more resilient to the effects of climate change? Our fourth Amplify challenge focuses on the opportunity to design solutions that enable communities in urban slums to adapt, transform, and thrive as they meet the challenges presented by climate change. We're looking for solutions related to sanitation, water management, energy, communications technology, community development and more!

For the Urban Resilience Challenge, we're partnering with OpenIDEO, the UK Department for International Development and the Global Resilience Partnership. Winners of this challenge are eligible for a share of up to $800,000 in funding and technical design assistance to bring some the best ideas to life.

There's only ONE WEEK LEFT to add your idea (a few short paragraphs will do!) to be eligible to win the challenge, so check out the challenge and add your voice today:

Tags:  communities  conflict affected states  East Africa  Entrepreneurship  Environment  inclusive innovation  innovation  Kenya  Poverty  Prize  social enterprise  Social Entrepreneurship  sustainability  West Africa  Women 

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