More of our fellow impact investors are proudly pronouncing that they are deploying their capital to have impact and that their financial goals are more modest. These “impact first” investors are moving out of the defensive crouch that seemed to characterize this approach in the early years of the industry.
Many people who hear about Upaya try to compare our work to that of microfinance. And while the idea for Upaya’s model took shape while I was working in a microfinance institution, our model and our target demographic are quite different.
I’ve often heard mission-driven organizations talk about the importance of scale. While reporting large and wide outreach is a commendable goal, it should not preclude measuring the depth of impact.
In our collective quest to grow the impact economy, we should not lose sight of the full set of actors, tools, and methods that are needed in concert to effect disruptive change. Namely, we must not overlook the earliest stages of social enterprise innovation, the so-called “Pioneer Gap” that still remains stubbornly under-funded.
What can the applications for Upaya’s accelerator program tell us about the early-stage companies that are creating jobs for people in extreme poverty? Upaya’s India Country Director, Amit Alex, takes a closer look at the pool of applicants to answer a pressing question in India today: Where are the jobs?
A report commissioned by the Collaborative for Frontier Finance dissects the “missing middle” of the impact investing space with much greater granularity than ever before. This report gives us at Upaya renewed energy and underscores that what we do really matters.
Farmers around the world face intense pressure. Steadily rising cost of inputs, combined with downward pressure on prices, and price volatility in general, make it difficult to predict how much income one can earn in any given season. Despite the grim trends, I am optimistic that dedicated entrepreneurs and creative business models can usher in the operational and technological innovations that are needed.
While accelerator programs are sprouting up like mushrooms all over the world, we think that Upaya’s objectives give us a unique approach to selection. The first part of any application that we review is their articulation of how their business will build livelihoods for the extreme poor.
Earlier this year, we at Upaya wrote about the tenacious female founders in our portfolio and how their companies were outperforming the others. We asked them what piece of advice they would give to other aspiring women entrepreneurs. From their insights, several themes emerged. . .
Looking back on 2017, we are optimistic that the Women’s March, the #MeToo movement, and the surging wave of women running for office are all feeding a trend that will soon assure women equal access to opportunities in all industries, and seats at the head of the table.