Clear all

10 results found

reorder grid_view

Seizing Opportunity: A Practitioner’s Guide to Supporting Market Systems Change toward Inclusion and Equity

January 11, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated and highlighted the inequities that perpetuate harmful outcomes for billions of people around the globe. A growing number of voices call for global leaders to seize this crisis as an opportunity to "rebuild better." However, this is easier said than done.How can leaders help markets achieve systemic transformations toward inclusion and equity?In this report, we provide guidance for philanthropic actors seeking to be more effective in supporting such changes in market systems, based on the Market System Innovation (MSI) approach first developed by FSG and the Rockefeller Foundation in 2017. Here, we share lessons from our work supporting partners across the globe in applying MSI in a range of real-world scenarios and offer practical suggestions for others involved in similar work.

Bending The Arc: How The Full Spectrum of Capital Can Enable Inclusive Growth in Agriculture

January 30, 2020

While the world has made huge economic gains over the past 50 years, this progress has been highly uneven. This is particularly acute in the agriculture sector, with many of the 500 million smallholder farmers around the world living on meager incomes and facing high levels of economic insecurity.Despite some recent innovations and advances in including smallholders as market players, there have been few cases where truly widespread, market-level, transformative change towards inclusion has been achieved.In this report, we explore the role of different kinds of capital in bending the arc of agricultural market development towards inclusive growth. We pay particular attention to how impact-focused players deploying capital that is flexible in terms of risk-return expectations can best deploy it in order to catalyze large-scale transformations towards inclusion.

Financing the Future of Asia: Innovations in Sustainable Finance

April 1, 2019

Around the globe, a wave of financial innovation that seeks to create social and environmental benefits while producing attractive returns is shaping the field of sustainable finance.From investments in publicly listed corporations based on environmental, social, and governance factors, to bonds issued to fund climate and environmental improvements; from micro-credit to small retailers through innovative credit assessments, to parametric insurance products improving the disaster resilience of countries, the world of sustainable finance is growing and becoming increasingly diverse.In this report, we take a closer look at these innovations and more, highlighting how they are working to mobilize private-sector capital at scale to address social and environmental challenges. We also explore recent developments and potential opportunities in Asia's four largest economies: China, India, Japan, and Indonesia.

Energy Portfolios of the Rural Poor: Findings from a Pilot Study in India

January 1, 2018

Limited access to clean and safe energy sources such as solar or grid electricity remains a critical problem for millions of rural Indian households. More than 240 million people depend on traditional, inefficient biomass fuels for lighting, running appliances, cooking, and economic uses.In recent years, the advent of cleaner and safer energy solutions, coupled with appropriate financing supports in certain areas, has increased access for many. Even so, our research suggests that many households have not transitioned entirely to these cleaner and safer options, but rather continue to use a diverse range of sources.There is currently limited understanding of this complex reality for rural energy customers. As a starting point to build a consumer-centric view of the gap that exists between energy needs and the use of modern sources, we synthesized data from 500 energy-poor households and interviewed more than 120 families to understand how they service their multiple energy needs.

Shaping Inclusive Markets: How Funders and Intermediaries can Help Markets Move toward Greater Economic Inclusion

July 26, 2017

Positive progress toward worldwide economic inclusion is not only possible, but can also be made more possible. In Shaping Inclusive Markets, we draw lessons from history on how more inclusive markets have been achieved and highlight ways in which funders and intermediaries can strengthen the conditions for change.

Reducing Youth Unemployment in South Africa

September 29, 2016

South Africa is faced with a crisis of high and rising youth unemployment. Throughout the country, only 1 in 3 young people of working age is employed. This distressing statistic not only plays out through the limited earnings potential and future prospects of these youth, but also emerges within stymied business growth and unsustainable pressure on governmental social programs. The solution will take action from a variety of sectors and actors in order to turn the tide.This report, funded by The Rockefeller Foundation, highlights two cross-sectoral partnerships—the EOH Youth Job Creation Initiative and the Mentec Foundation—that have seen success in placing these disadvantaged youth in jobs throughout South Africa. The report concludes with a table of recommendations for employers, training providers, philanthropic funders, and government officials to begin growing and replicating these efforts.Top TakeawaysThroughout their lives, youth within South Africa are put at an employment disadvantage due to inadequate education and recruiting systems. Despite an estimated 500,000 entry-level vacancies throughout the country, young people often lack the necessary problem-solving skills, business acumen, technological savvy, and communication skills needed for the workplace, and structures that would enable this on-the-job learning (training, mentoring, and coaching) are not standard practice for most workplaces.In order to place more youth in jobs, sectors can bring their unique skills to bear while complementing one another's efforts: government incentives can encourage employers to take calculated risks and reform HR practices; training providers can focus more on skills, including job-readiness skills, that are directly demanded by employers and work with these employers for placement; and funders can strategically deploy grants to such programs and collaboratives.Youth who participate in demand-driven training programs and are then hired into jobs become valuable staff in short order: the youth were more motivated to perform well and assimilated quickly to the work environment.

Catalysing Impact Deal Flow in East Africa: Recommendations for Development of the Services Market

June 20, 2016

East Africa has become a focal point for impact investors across the globe, with investments steadily increasing since 2010. Yet despite this growth in recent years, the number of investment opportunities available remains limited. Catalysing Impact Deal Flow in East Africa explores the causes of this constraint and provides recommendations for donors seeking to increase impact investing volumes (deal flow).Top TakeawaysTwo key challenges are constraining the growth of impact investing in East Africa: 1) The pairing of investors and enterprises ("matching challenge"); and 2) enterprises' lack of readiness to take on investment ("preparation challenge").Local service providers (consulting and advisory firms) that help enterprises raise capital and build capacity are already addressing both the matching and the preparation challenges. However, these service providers themselves face constraints in scaling their services due to delayed and conditional payment of fees from enterprises resulting from a deferred success fee model.An appropriate market-shaping intervention could help service providers to scale up sustainably, and help to develop a more vibrant impact investing market overall.

Hardware Pioneers: Harnessing the Impact Potential of Technology Entrepreneurs

April 8, 2016

Billions of households across the world live without conveniences such as electric lighting, flush toilets, and sanitary sewerage systems. Products such as milk chilling machines and solar home systems can have a significant impact on lives and livelihoods of people living in poverty in developing countries. Hardware pioneers—inventors and entrepreneurs creating breakthrough products tailored to the needs of these populations—are pushing the frontiers of technology and business to create and scale innovative hardware technologies.Numerous case studies within the report illustrate how these pioneers face many of the same challenges of any entrepreneur but with the added complexity of developing hardware and scaling in remote areas with scarce resources. There is a significant opportunity for actors across sectors to strategically leverage their resources in order to support the journeys of these hardware pioneers, from initial inspiration to ultimate impact at scale.Top TakeawaysHardware pioneers lack the right supports in the critical Pioneer Gap stages when they are blueprinting, validating, and preparing their models. In the early stages, these needs range from patient capital to prototyping facilities. Later on, issues such as distribution, financing, servicing, and quality standards become more important.Critically, because the success of hardware pioneers depends on the successful blending of both business and technology skills, those working closely with pioneer teams also need to bring the right combination of these skills, and this unfortunately is rare in the impact enterprise ecosystem.There is need to not just support hardware pioneers directly but also to assemble the other needed parts of the ecosystem, from last-mile specialist companies that help pioneers reach and serve their target markets to the programs and institutions that are helping to spark the initial impulse that gets pioneers started on their journey in the right way.New ideas can have an ultimate impact that is much greater than that of the original pioneer alone through a transfer of the idea to a more scale-ready partner or just through adoption and adaptation of the idea by follower entrepreneurs. We believe that there is great impact potential in supporting these more networked pathways for scaling.

Hardware Pioneers: Harnessing the Impact Potential of Technology Entrepreneurs, Executive Summary

April 7, 2016

Technology has been a powerful driver of humanity's development over the past few centuries. It continues to hold great potential to help us live longer and in better health, as well as raising our productivity and standards of living.Yet many of these benefits remain out of the reach of the global poor.While people living in the developed world have enjoyed the benefits of electric lighting since the late 1800s, nearly 1.3 billion poor households in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia still live in the dark today. Without electricity, many poor households are not able to make use of household appliances common in the richer world, like refrigerators, televisions,or computers.Modern sanitation technologies -- flush toilets and sewerage systems -- are another example. These technologies have existed for hundreds of years but are still not available to 2.4 billion people around the world. This lack of sanitation infrastructure leads to contamination of water sources across large stretches of South Asia and Africa. Water-borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and dysentery claim 3.4 million lives every year.Modern machinery and information technology have also changed the way we work. In advanced economies, large commercial farms enjoy the benefit of improved seed varieties, farm machinery, modern irrigation systems, and post-harvest storage systems. In stark contrast, many smallholder farmers in developing countries lack similar solutions and struggle to improve their crop yields and livelihoods.Against this challenging backdrop, inventors and entrepreneurs are developing new breakthrough products tailored to the needs of the global poor. These hardware pioneers are helping to improve lives and livelihoods by pushing the frontiers of technology and business. They are bringing reliable electricity to remote villages, safe drinking water to neglected slums, productivity gains to struggling smallholder farmers, and life-saving health services to sick children.

From Blueprint to Scale: The Case for Philanthropy In Impact Investing

April 1, 2012

This report springs from a point of view shared by Monitor and Acumen Fund -- that philanthropy is the essential but often overlooked catalyst that unlocks the impact potential of inclusive business and impact investing. The report has been created with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.