November 2023 Social Impact News Roundup: Macro Impact of Micro-Entrepreneurship

Alexandra Nemeth

Senior Manager, Content Marketing & Storytelling at MovingWorlds

Democratizing Access to Finance for Micro-Entrepreneurs

In the Global South, micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises are some of the strongest drivers of employment and economic growth. Yet, most are unable to access the services they need to grow through mainstream financial systems. Promising innovations are being tested around the world to help close that gap — like this pilot from Mercy Corps Ventures using decentralized finance for micro-entrepreneurs in Colombia, this micro-loan and financial literacy program launched by HYCF to enable financial independence for rural women in Malawi, and this blockchain enabled payment platform backed by Village Capital that makes loans, remittances and payments accessible without the need for internet or a bank account.

Tackling Poverty Together

To solve our toughest problems of poverty, we have to work together — and that means openly sharing lessons learned. To better understand the impact and needs of startup founders building innovations for economic mobility, Village Capital interviewed over 20 founders, investors, philanthropy leaders and other ecosystem players. You can find the core insights gained here, all of which tie back to one big theme: the power of lived experience and community engagement at every stage in a founder’s journey. Equally important are the lessons learned about what doesn’t work, like those shared by Acumen in its new “Failing Forward” report. Failure allows us, and our companies, to make wiser decisions. When shared, those lessons can change sectors and systems.

Data-Driven Change

Running a company without business data is like driving a car without a dashboard. But it is not always easy for an entrepreneur to know what to track or how to evaluate it — particularly when serving low income customers. Tech-enabled innovations are making it easier for entrepreneurs across sectors to harness the power of data to drive impact at the bottom of the pyramid: like this diagnostic tool from Hystra for last mile distribution companies, this precision agriculture platform that leverages AI to provide smallholder farmers with cost-saving and yield-boosting recommendations, and this digitization tool helping MSMEs across Africa build their digital identities and reach new customers.

Purchasing with Purpose

There is power in the way we choose to spend our money, and this holiday season is the perfect opportunity to use that power for social good. Need some inspiration? Here are two great resources from our partners: this assortment of online products curated by Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship from enterprises that are improving livelihoods and breaking the cycle of poverty in communities around the world, and this 2023 Gift Guide from SAP featuring hundreds of quality offerings from global and region-specific marketplaces, social enterprises, cooperatives, nonprofits, women- and indigenous-owned businesses, and more. 

Social Impact Job Openings

Upcoming Events & New Programs

  • December 5: Deadline to apply for ChangemakerXChange’s Changemakers for Democracy Fellowship, open to Europe-based practitioners working on democratic renewal and new economic paradigms.
  • December 8: Deadline to apply for the Mexico Accelerator Program, operated by New Ventures in partnership with IKEA Social Entrepreneurship. 
  • December 31: Early-bird application deadline for Spring Impact’s scaling training course, ‘Getting Scale Ready‘ starting in early February. Note: there is a £200 – £500 fee to participate, depending on your organization’s revenue. Use code ‘MOVINGWORLDS23’ for a 30% discount. 
  • January 15: Early decision deadline to apply to the June 2024 Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator program (final application deadline is March 15.)
  • January 20: Deadline to apply for the One Million Leaders Africa (OMLA) Fellowship Program
  • February 15: Deadline to apply for Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship’s globally recognized accelerator program kicking off in June 2024. See if you qualify and apply here.
  • February 29: Deadline to apply to the Larta Institute Venture Fellows program, open to innovators with solutions that help communities become more resilient in response to the impacts of climate change.

Congratulations to….

A Final Bit of Inspiration

“Innovation — any new idea — by definition will not be accepted at first. It takes repeated attempts, endless demonstrations, monotonous rehearsals before innovation can be accepted and internalized by an organization. This requires courageous patience.”

Warren Bennis