Clinton Global Initiative

Bulbul Gupta Joins Upaya's Board of Directors

Upaya is proud to announce that Bulbul Gupta has joined the organization’s Board of Directors.  As the Head of Market-Based Approaches at the Clinton Global Initiative, Bulbul works with corporations, non-profits, government, private citizens, and family foundations that rely on the power of markets and market mechanisms to address social and environmental challenges.

“I'm excited to join the Board of Upaya Social Ventures and support the work of this organization in creating jobs at the base of the pyramid in India, something I'm personally and professionally passionate about," said Bulbul. "I look forward to seeing Upaya further prove out its business model and scale with great impact.” 

Bulbul is based in New York City. For more on Bulbul, please visit

Celebrating Women Leaders

Representing Upaya at the Clinton Global Initiative for a second year in a row, I was honored to meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and share with her Upaya’s successful completion of its Commitment to Action — to double the number of jobs in our portfolio over the past year! The timing could not have been better, either, as Secretary Clinton told the assembled members earlier that day that “We need to provide the support systems that enable … the array of opportunities that women at all ages should have.” I was heartened by this statement, and could not agree more when she followed it up by asserting “work is an essential part of one’s purpose in life.”

A common theme during the meeting was the empowerment of women and girls all over the world, and the discussions made me reflect on our own experience as an organization that has now promoted entrepreneurship for over three years in India’s poorest districts.

We’ve seen with our own eyes the power of women in the workforce. A woman who earns is far more likely to provide nutritious food for her family, send her children to school and save for the future.

We have seen the effect that a woman’s job has on her daughters — they start to believe that they too can be productive and more independent when they are older. They aspire to stay in school, reject the notion of early-teen marriage, and collectively perpetuate a virtuous cycle that will lift their communities out of poverty.

Women entrepreneurs are an especially powerful breed — they are fearless, have overcome seemingly insurmountable societal obstacles to pursue their dreams, and run their companies with a devotion and purpose that is infectious. These entrepreneurs are committed to hiring other women, counseling them through their own challenges at home, and providing a safe haven for them in the workplace. Women helping women, women helping girls … it’s a natural rhythm we kick off when we equip just one in a community with the funds and the right tools to start a business. 

Upaya is more determined than ever to identify the women leaders of tomorrow in India and nurture their incredible potential. And after my recent experience, I know we’re not in this alone.

Upaya at Clinton Global Initiative 2013 in New York City


The Upaya Social Ventures team attended the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative in New York City on September 23rd - 26th, joining an esteemed group of organizations who have made far-reaching Commitments to Action in order to resolve the world's most pressing problems. The Annual Meeting's theme was "Mobilizing for Impact," and strongly encouraged the forming of partnerships and action plans in order to meet members' ambitious goals.

Executive Director Sachi Shenoy, represented Upaya at the meeting and had the opportunity to make a public Commitment to Action: to create dignified jobs for the ultra poor, primarily women, in India by October 2014 by doubling the number of enterprise partners in Upaya's LiftUP Project network. 


"The meeting was a fantastic opportunity to meet and collaborate with hundreds of other organizations -- both large and small -- who are all passionate about global social impact," said Shenoy. "Over the course of four days, we met influential thought leaders and other social entrepreneurs, and forged connections over a variety of working sessions and social events. The meeting left us energized, validated, and excited by all the potential partnerships that lie ahead!"

A particular highlight was the "Impact Investing: The Second Act" session. The room was filled with many prominent impact investors and entrepreneurs who engaged in an extremely frank discussion about both the opportunities and very real challenges that still face social start-ups in the so-called Pioneer Gap. "With so many leaders on both sides in the same room, it was a good reminder for me that Upaya is not alone in seeing the growth of Small and Growing Businesses (SGBs) as a transformative force in the fight against extreme poverty," said Shenoy, "but it also reinforced that we have a long way to go in realizing our goal."

Sachi at CGI.jpg

July Newsletter: More Than a Job

The past few months have marked an exciting period in Upaya's evolution - our team has had the opportunity to share our story with some incredible groups, we have forged new partnerships to expand the breadth and depth of our work, and our partners have been acknowledged broadly for their successes. 

Click to read the full newsletter.

Upaya at Clinton Global Initiative Mid-Year Meeting


Upaya’s Executive Director Sachi Shenoy joined impact investing thought leaders from around the world at the Clinton Global Initiative’s May Mid-Year Meeting in New York City. Over the course of two days, the group discussed the ongoing maturation of the sector and explored the mechanisms needed to ensure that early-stage social businesses are given the support they need to launch, grow, and prepare for follow-on investment.

“I heard so often over the two day meeting that there are simply too few scale-ready, socially transformative businesses reaching the desks of impact investors, and that organizations like Upaya are exactly what is needed to solve this problem,” said Shenoy. “The conversation reaffirmed for me the power of Upaya’s model to empower small and growing businesses, build a pipeline of sound investment opportunities, and bring significant change to the people living below the extreme poverty line,” she said.

For more information on the Clinton Global Initiative, click



Upaya Selected for 2013 Clinton Global Initiative Membership


Upaya is proud to announce that the organization has been selected as a complimentary member of theClinton Global Initiative (CGI) for 2013.As part of CGI’s Market-Based Approachestrack, Upaya will share broadly its perspective on job creation as a solution for ultra poverty.

“We are honored that Upaya has been selected for complimentary membership and are excited about the opportunity to share our experience with other CGI members,” said Upaya’s Executive Director Sachi Shenoy.

CGImembership includes access totrack convenings, as well as admission to the CGI Annual Meeting to be held September 23 – 26 in New York City. The Upaya team will also work with CGI staff to develop a new partnercommitmentthat will extend the benefits of Upaya’s work to thousands of Indian families in need.

“For many years the ultra poor were either overlooked or deemed ‘too hard to reach’ by conventional development programs,” Shenoy said. “This is a great chance to show that not only is it possible to meaningfully help the poorest make progress out of poverty, but that it can be done in a financially self-sustaining way,” she said. 

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton as an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, CGI convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date CGI members have made more than 2,300 commitments, which have improved the lives of over 400 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at more than $73.1 billion. 

For more information on CGI, please click here.