Photo Courtesy of Cyril Drouot
The Life-changing Interventions for the Ultra Poor (LiftUP) Project is a 24-36 month accelerator program that provides early-stage entrepreneurs with business development support and financial resources to launch and scale their businesses.
Potential participants for the LiftUP Project are screened using a rigorous set of criteria that evaluates the projected financial potential of a company alongside its potential to create jobs for the ultra poor.
Functional Expertise and Domain Knowledge
Business Can Meet a Critical Need
Potential of the Model to Serve Ultra Poor Clients
Company or Project in Early Stage
Willingness to Optimize Both Social and Financial Returns
Business Model Scalability and Exit Potential
Comfort with Core Management & Advisors
Investment Terms and Funding Requirements
Pioneering CapitalIn the "Scrutinize" stage, Upaya staff works with high-potential LiftUP Project Candidates to more fully develop their business concept. This also involves a small financial commitment by Upaya ($10,000 or less) to help candidates put more structure around their ideas.
Once a LiftUP Project candidate is selected for full partnership, Upaya will make an equity investment between $10,000 to $75,000, comprising a minority stake in the new business. Given the early stage and vulnerable populations targeted, investments are constructed to cover a 3-8 year timeline. This period will also coincide with an intensive technical advisory engagement with Upaya, positioning the business for further scale and follow-on investment.
Participants in the LiftUP Project regularly share aggregated social performance data with both supporters and industry peers through a variety of media. In addition, individual entrepreneurs and Upaya staff will offer analysis of overall trends observed through the LiftUP Project's efforts.
Within the LiftUP Project, all participants are firmly committed to the rigorous and transparent reporting of social returns. All analysis will be supported by a combination of industry-endorsed statistical tools and tailored indicators that allow for a data-driven assessment of social outcomes.
Upaya draws on its full portfolio of technical expertise to provide early stage entrepreneurs with the guidance and network connections necessary for their launch and growth. Within that services portfolio, the Upaya team has identified those activities that are most critical for start-up ventures, and structures LiftUP Project engagements accordingly.
Develop targeting and selection process for identifying, enrolling ultra poor households
Facilitate product and service design to address the needs of the ultra poor
Co-create a business prototype and plan for pilot testing
Design appropriate social indicators for the business model and environmental context
Pilot process for integrating indicators into core business operations and staff training
Establish system for ongoing data monitoring and analysis of outcomes
Create short, medium, and long term strategy for scale aligned with enterprise goals
Provide guidance on project budget, identification of revenue and cost drivers, and financial projections
Optimize financial & social returns for sustained market leadership
Growth & Financing
Drive execution plan for refinement and replication of business model
Establish brand position commensurate with leadership in product and service delivery
Secure strategic partnerships to enhance momentum of early expansion