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.
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
- Argidius is hiring for a Programme Manager (based in Nairobi, Kenya)
- Blossom Academy is hiring for multiple positions, including:
- Figma is hiring for a Belonging, Equity, and Impact Partner (remote within U.S.)
- Kontakt Kollektiv is hiring for a Web Developer – WordPress (based in Hamburg, Germany or remote)
- Mercy Corps Ventures is hiring for two positions:
- Pyxera Global is hiring for multiple positions, including:
- Private Sector Partnerships Specialist (based in Washington, D.C.)
- Research Consultant – Circular Economy Ecosystem Mapping and Assessment (based in India)
- Local Project Coordinator (based in Lucknow, India)
- Recity is hiring for a Cash Flow and Treasury Officer (based in Mumbai, India)
- Stay In The Game is hiring for multiple positions, including:
- Placement Advisor – Higher Education Student Services (remote)
- Financial Operations Specialist (remote)
- B2B Appointment Setter (remote)
- Social Media Specialist (remote)
- Swiss Capacity Building Facility is hiring for a Fundraising Specialist (based in Zürich, Switzerland or remote)
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.
- Biosorra on launching the biggest biochar-producing plant in East Africa!
- Blossom Academy on its recent grant from the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation!
- Formr for receiving a high score on the Wood Furniture Scorecard 2023, overseen by the Sustainable Furnishings Council!
- Good to be Good on sharings its findings related to gender diversity in social entrepreneurship in two great reports: one about the 4th cohort of its Change Make-Her Program, and one about its Empowering Care Program!
- Kontakt Kollektiv for conducting its second Human Connector Academy in partnership with the IFB!
- Kuueza founder, Maxwell Adew, on the publication of his new book “Transformational Entrepreneurship: Rising Above Inspiration to Find Value in Success”!
- Nivi on its partnership with Ninety Innovation, ARK Venture Studio, and APA Insurance to launch “APA Femina Plus,” a groundbreaking insurance product tailored to women’s health needs in Kenya!
- Phoenix Space on creating and implementing “The AI Prompt Engineering Capstone Project” in partnership with Altruistic and supported by the UNHCR and Blumont!
- Piipee’s co-founder, Ariane Pelicioli, for being named ‘Visionary of the Year’ by MIT Technology Review!
- Recity for being listed on Plastiks, a plastic recovery platform that enables brands to support transparent and verifiable recovery interventions!
- Recity on its groundbreaking partnership with the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) Office to bring the expertise and resources of both public and private sectors together to drive awareness about upcycling multi-layer plastic!
- Second Life Plastics on being featured in the latest Yunus Social Business Industry Report, ‘Social Procurement Sector Spotlight on Plastic Waste’!
- Socialbnb for partnering with Green Tiger Travel to launch a new impact trip offering in Bali!
- Stay In The Game founder, Mona Andrews, for being honored as a Silver Stevie Award Winner in two remarkable categories: Female Thought Leader of the Year – Business Services and Social Change Maker of the Year – Gender!
- SuperBetter’s collaboration with Tusekwile Imiti Ikula Foundation in Zambia for being recognized as a creative grassroots solution to improve youth mental health by the CEO of Global Fund for Children!
- Uthabiti Africa for participating in this year’s Opportunity Collaboration (OC2023), a global convening of change-makers from across sectors!
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