We have launched an innovative new financing solution: The Social Success Note!

By | News | No Comments

Could The Launch of the World’s First Social Success Note Be The Answer to The SDGs Funding Gap.

Today, the world’s first Social Success Note or “SSN” is launched at the Skoll World Forum by Yunus Social Business, The Rockefeller Foundation, UBS Optimus Foundation and Impact Water. Similar to Social Impact Bonds, the SSN is a new financial innovation that harnesses the power of private return-seeking capital to support businesses that achieve social outcomes.

It’s estimated that an extra $2.5 trillion of funding will be needed each year in order to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. In order to bridge such a gap it is vital that the development community looks to the financial industries for innovative solutions.
The Social Success Note blends funds from donor organizations, governments and private debt and equity. It is intended to be sector agnostic, ultimately seeking to build a larger pool of both investment and outcome funding in order to successfully scale up solutions to the funding gap.
The intervention of the Social Success Note is driven by Impact Water, a social business that sells, installs and maintains water filtration systems in
Uganda. Impact Water will use investment capital from UBS Optimus Foundation and Outcome Payments from the Rockefeller Foundation to increase the scale of its impact to provide 1.4 million children with clean water over the next 5 years.

What Do Milk Farming and Ambulances Have in Common? Meet the Start-ups

By | Corporate | No Comments

We live in a world where giants like Uber and Amazon are disrupting logistics and pushing the boundaries between reality and science fiction. With the MAN Impact Accelerator, we want to support social start-ups that add an element of purpose to all the technical disruption we are seeing in the world. We want to support entrepreneurs who think about the trans-generational impact of technology.

The sector of mobility is moving forward at an unprecedented rate and our start-ups are rising to these challenges. They are integrating new technology with rapidly changing customer expectations (such as instant gratification and immediate access to information), addressing the costs and physical constraints of mobility, all whilst balancing social factors with a viable economic model.

Our successful start-ups cover a variety of sectors, from commuting to work, changing the rules of trade, or even renting agri-equipment. Let us introduce you to them in more detail:

The Future of Freight: GetTruck

GetTruck (https://gettruck.co.za/) is a South African online networking platform, connecting transporter’s unused capacities to customers’ requests. Their sustainable business model enhances work opportunities for truck drivers, optimises partial loads, maps the most efficient route – to lower costs to the customer, overall fuel consumption, carbon footprint and reduce road congestion.

David Naidoo, CEO of GetTruck shares with us his experience with the MAN Impact Accelerator Program:

“Besides the phenomenal exposure to see world economies, meetings with prestigious mentors and witnessing diverse cultures, the MAN Impact Accelerator gave us insights and tools to measure the health of our business which helped us restructure staff potential with purpose and improve sales conversion rates.”

The Uber for Medical Transport: StanPlus

Take away food can be delivered to your doorstep with the click of a button, based on a resilient supply chain and accountability. But this is not always the case when calling an ambulance for serious health concerns: In India, 75% of the patients needing an ambulance use their own personal vehicle to reach the hospital. The problem isn’t that there aren’t enough ambulances, it is that they take on average 45 minutes to reach a patient.

For this reason, the new start-up StanPlus (https://www.stanplus.co.in/) aims to revolutionise India’s inefficient medical transport system, by creating an Uber for Medical Transport. StanPlus operates its own ambulances but also pools together with the hospital’s ambulances. Using technology — a reliable call centre and efficient routing decisions made using geospatial data, they aim to reach their patients within 12 minutes.

Prabhdeep Singh, Co-Founder of StanPlus shares with us his experience with the MAN Impact Accelerator Program:

“When we joined the accelerator, we had an immense desire to, but no toolkit available on how to make and measure Impact. The teams at YSB and MAN have brought us specialist mentors from around the world. These experts have allowed us to question the core value-set of the founders and the company. We are more self-aware. At the same time, we have indulged in topical conversations around growth, product, market-fit, and customer experience.”

Saving the World, One Commute at a Time: Commut

With increased urbanisation, travelling for city dwellers is continuously stressful, hours are wasted in traffic without beginning to mention the carbon emissions impact. This is exactly how one of the founders of Commut felt (https://www.commut.co/), travelling daily 25km to his office in the sweltering weather of Hyderabad in India.

The start-up offers regular minibuses amongst the popular routes at very affordable prices, within the comfort of air conditioning, reserved seating and an ‘app based’ booking system. In this way, they create an efficient transport system – shuttling 2.5k people per day and providing incremental income and job security to 150 drivers.

Charan Thota, Co-Founder of Commut shares with us his experience with the MAN Impact Accelerator Program:

“The international exposure that we have received with MAN Accelerator and the interactive sessions with our fellow cohort members has helped us understand the holistic view of the logistics industry across the world. We have gained immense knowledge and new perspectives from the discussions at the sessions. Above all, the mentorship received from various distinguished market leaders has been very comprehensive and visionary. It has been immensely helpful in sculpting our business procedures and short-term goals in a better way to attain our vision of changing the way India travels to work.”

Three Wheeler in the Lane: MellowCab

Have you ever jumped in a taxi and sat in traffic for hours whilst pedestrians and cyclists whizz past your window? South African start-up MellowCab (http://www.mellowcabs.com/) is running the show by introducing an electrical three wheeler vehicle designed for light, safe, eco-friendly transportation in urban areas. The shells are made from recycled PET, the vehicle converts kinetic electricity into electricity through breaking, and the roof includes a solar panel which generates 35% of the cab’s power. 80% of all urban trips made are shorter than four miles – so they provide first and last mile transport within a 3km radius (covering the route from home-to-train station), thus fighting congestion, cutting carbon emissions and providing job opportunities.

Neil Du Preez, Founder of Mellowcabs shares with us his experience with the MAN Impact Accelerator Program:

“Being part of the MAN Impact Accelerator has been a tremendous help to Mellowcabs. We’ve been mentored by experts with exceptional knowledge and experience in very relevant fields. We’ve had sessions with quality control, sales, logistics and manufacturing experts from the MAN group, which would have been impossible to have access to if we were not part of the Accelerator. Also, the network reach of the Yunus Social Business group has also proven to be invaluable, with introductions to sector-specific partners, which we were are very excited to work with.”

For thousands of years, we were directly involved in making sure that food was on the table for our families. Our cultures evolved around celebrating harvests and breaking bread. It is only in the past century that industrialisation of agriculture has detached us from the source of our food. The following start-ups we support are trying to revive our sense for food, our sense for nurturing whole generations and our sense for what it means to take care of our world.

Eliminating the Middleman and Empowering Farmers for a Better Tomorrow: Crowd Container

Imagine if your food came directly from the farmer’s field to your plate? If you could order produce directly from a small regenerative farm using sustainable agricultural practices? The food was delivered directly, farm-to-fork, with no storage, re-packaging or shipping detours, guaranteeing farm freshness and quality? What’s more, you know directly your farm producer, eliminate the middleman, and guarantee a fair price for your farmer.

That’s the concept driving Crowd Container (www.crowdcontainer.ch): a Zurich-based platform who are changing the rules of trade by connecting small farmers in developing countries directly to end consumers in Europe via a crowd-ordering platform. The start-up generates incremental income to the smallholder farmers through bottom-up pricing, guaranteeing that 60% of the added value will remain in the region and not get lost in the middlemen trade. The Crowd Container is a young start-up but has already gained a lot of traction. Even Hans Rudolf Herren, the Swiss entomologist and winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize 2013, is a proud user.

Tobias Joos, Founder of Crowd Container shares with us his experience with the MAN Impact Accelerator Program:

We have been inspired by the other start-ups and founders in the cohort, and we are very thankful to MAN and YSB who have made all this possible. Their help has been instrumental in the following areas: evolution of the business model in the longer time, scaling in other european markets, team collaboration, adjusting online marketplace designs, insights into the drivers of food ecommerce, customer focus and structured customer interviews, marketing strategy,  understanding the big shipment lines to improve reliability, communication for our customers.”

The Return of the Milkman: Country Delight

A survey by Food Standards of Safety Authoritation of India (FSSAI) showed that as much as 68% of milk in India was adulterated, and 70% of the Capital’s milk samples were contaminated.

The Delhi-based start-up Country Delight (https://countrydelight.in/) is reinventing the milkman business model, delivering fresh milk directly from the farmer to the doorstep of the consumer within 36 hours of milking. It’s so simple: consumers subscribe through a free app on their smartphone, whilst the small farmers receive a better price for their milk. Country Delight is already supplying 10k litres of milk on a daily basis, creating a new ecosystem: market access for small farmers, better price for farmers, the emergence microentrepreneurs (Riksha drivers) who deliver the milk and fresh quality controlled milk on the table of customers.

Chakradhar Gade, Co-founder of Country Delight shares with us his experience with the MAN Impact Accelerator Program:

“The key learning of the MAN Impact Accelerator have been to: have a very clear definition of our core values and ingrain them in each role in the organization from the lowest level to highest level. From this learning, we are now working on inculcating our core values of Consumer Obsessed, Technology Oriented and Ownership Driven into the key performance indicators at each role in Country Delight.  To have a very strong and frequent feedback mechanism to understand need gaps you have not filled with the key stakeholders be it the Consumers CD serves or the farmers and entrepreneurs CD works with.”

From the Farmers For Farmers: Farmart AgriTech

In India, the vast majority of farmers work on small farms – in fact, 75% of Indian farmers work on less than a hectare. How can these small farmers possibly access agri-machinery and implements like tractors and tillers in the same way as the big players?

Farmart AgriTech (https://farmartweb.000webhostapp.com/)  helps match farmers to underutilised machinery, offering a low-cost solution to the farmers that need it the most, whilst providing additional income to the lender. The Indian-based start-up has a business model similar to that of the cab aggregator Uber.

Alekh Sanghera, Co-founder and CEO of Farmart AgriTech shares with us his experience with the MAN Impact Accelerator Program:

“FarMarts journey with the MAN impact accelerator has been one of self reflection. It has helped us understand more about our business and the potential impact it can have on farmers “.

Efficient Supply Chains: Krishi Trade

Agri-tech start-up Krishi Trade (www.krishitrade.com) offer small-holder farmers direct access to global agricultural markets, through aggregated online bidding processes, to ensure they gain good value for their produce. Indian farmer’s face fundamental structural issues during post-harvest, according to the start-up: ‘almost 66% to 95% of post-harvest value of produce is lost because of inefficiencies in the entire value chain, resulting into hoardings and increased farmer suicides’. Krishi Trade currently has access to 27,000 farmers in India.

Sachin Nikumbh, CEO of Krishi Trade shares with us his experience with the MAN Impact Accelerator Program:

“Krishi Trade helps farmers connect to buyers directly and improvement in their income is a global grand challenge.  MAN Impact Accelerator has offered access to this fantastic global ecosystem of start-ups, mentors in same space. Motivated individuals and companies who really have genuine desire for social impact have extended all possible support in terms of network and connects which is helping Krishi Trade to accelerate impact. For example, we had assumed $10 annual improvement in farmers income whereas after discussions with talented mentors we commissioned survey and found out we actually improved their income by average $1500. Multiplying by 27000 farmers, the impact is $40.5 Mn. Just with proper refinement of impact model, impact measurement without any equity investment,  MAN impact Accelerator achieved its’ objectives: helping companies like us model a scalable impact and trying to equip us to actually scale such phenomenal impact.”

8 Start-ups to Watch in 2018

These young start-ups are disrupting the logistics sector, redefining mobility and creating sustainable transport. Through this journey, they have received support from MAN Truck & Bus, Yunus Social Business and mentors from major companies such as Uber, Amazon and John Deere.

We’re going to be in Cape Town next week and really looking forward to an exciting time with over 35 mentors. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn to stay in the loop!

What Do Milk Farming and Ambulances Have in Common? Meet the Start-ups

| Corporate | No Comments
We live in a world where giants like Uber and Amazon are disrupting logistics and pushing the boundaries between reality and science fiction. With the MAN Impact Accelerator, we want...

Delivering the Future: Our Impact Accelerator in partnership with MAN

| Corporate | No Comments
8 social start-ups, across 4 continents, with 300+ mentors and a global network!   Today, 54% of the world’s population live in urban areas, and this is expected to rise to...

East Africa Partner Trip

By | News | No Comments

At the start of March we took a group of our international partners to Uganda and Kenya to visit some of our social businesses alongside Professor Yunus. It was fantastic for our donors and supporters to see for themselves how their support to YSB is transformed into action. We got to witness first hand the passion and commitment of the entrepreneurs we support and the customers who they impact everyday.

Day 1: “Water Day” Kampala

We kicked off the trip with a visit to Motherland Academy to hear from the headteacher, Mr Kaddu and his students how access to clean water has transformed the health of their school. Impact Water showed us the change that they can create for schools, simply by installing a water filtration system, in Uganda alone they are providing more than 825,000 students with clean drinking water. It was so inspiring to hear the students speak confidently about how Impact Water has changed their experience at school: “I used to suffer from typhoid every time, but since I started using this water I’ve been able to concentrate at school”. Another young man told us that, “The water is always available at any moment, you don’t need to boil it”.


Then we hit the road to see the new Spouts of Water factory, which was constructed using the loan YSB provided, making it possible to produce more and better filters! Spouts are focussed on smaller ceramic technology filters for households, their smaller filters have a capacity of around 20 litres and are sold for $25, since their inception they have saved households $6.5million dollars of firewood, which means around 45,000 tonnes less CO2 in the atmosphere. We also spoke to the COO Dan about their plans to reach more consumers through their Direct to Consumer Programme.


In the evening, we were then joined by members of the YPO Great Lakes Chapter to hear Professor Yunus speak.

Day 2: Kampala

Accompanied by Professor Yunus, our next visit was Tugende, one of our most recent investments. The founder Michael presented his inspirational model, financing the micro-entrepreneur bodaboda (mototaxi) drivers on their path to ownership and increasing their incomes twofold.The access to finance offers a wide range of opportunities, as we were able to hear from their boda drivers they were able to pay for school fees for their children and buy pieces of land to start growing their own businesses.


We then visited Godfrey’s Chia Processing factory, Godson Commodities. Godfrey is a dedicated and capable entrepreneur supporting smallholder farmer across Uganda to create higher, more sustainable incomes. We saw the production of the Chia seeds in action and spoke to his employees in the factory.

The schedule was a packed one as we joined the Ugandan Launch of “A World of Three Zeros”, the new book by Professor Yunus.


Day 3: Kampala/ Nairobi

On our last morning in Uganda, we spoke to Brian from his beekeeping business Golden Bees. He shared his story from his very first check of $50,  right up until his current expansion that his loan from YSB has allowed. We saw how he developed hives that are sustainable and effective using local materials and saw his team processing of the honey on site. We even got to try his own creation, lemongrass honey, which is sweetening our tea in the Berlin office as we speak!

Jumping on a plane to Nairobi, we were welcomed graciously for dinner by our Kenyan partners; Mr. Bharat Doshi, Mr. Vinay Sanghrajka and Mr. Nilesh Doshi.


Day 3: Nairobi

In Nairobi, we visited two businesses that had potential to be future investments – as the Kenya fund was due to be launched that evening! In the morning we visited Burton & Bamber, an agro-processing company that specializes in the preservation of fruit and other farm produce.The company aims to break the cycle of poverty in rural farming communities by reducing post-harvest loss and providing access to ready markets – both domestic and international.

Then came the official launch of YSB Kenya, around 300 people came to the cocktail reception, launching social business into the forefront of the Kenya business community. Prof. Yunus delivered a magnificent speech and the room was buzzing with excitement to kick off the movement in Kenya.


Day 3: Nairobi

After the launch, our final visit was to Plexus Energy who provide clean energy solutions, having already served over 900 customers.

The energy on the trip was absolutely fantastic and this was down to the passion from our international partners. Thanks to everyone! If you are interested in joining us on our next partner trip, make sure to reach out! It’s a truly life-altering experience.

Yunus Social Business Launches YSB Kenya

By | News | No Comments

Professor Yunus visited Kenya to officially launch Yunus Social Business Kenya, a new fund dedicated to harnessing the power of social business to end poverty.

Professor Yunus launched the new chapter along with three partners, who together are bringing the concept of social business to Kenya. Bharat Doshi, Nilesh Doshi and Vinay Sanghrajka have all been deeply invested in philanthropy in Kenya for many years, but inspired by the work of Professor Muhammad Yunus they are bringing the business community of Kenya together to tackle social problems with a business approach. The launch was marked with an event with an attendance of over 320 members of the business community of Nairobi, over $800,000 committed for the fund so far. Among the attendees were renowned businessmen Dr Manu Chandaria and Dr C.S Sheth. As part of his visit, Professor Yunus launched his book in Kenya,  ‘A World of Three Zeros: The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment, and Zero Net Carbon Emissions’.

The goal of the fund in Kenya will be to support and invest in social businesses and social entrepreneurs. By 2020 Yunus Social Business Kenya aims to be funding 30 social businesses, creating over 30,000 jobs and impacting over 2 million people in Kenya. By turning donations into investments in sustainable social businesses, Yunus Social Business Kenya will aim to tackle the kind of challenges traditionally addressed by aid agencies and charity.

Alongside the launch, Professor Yunus addressed the Nairobi chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organisation (YPO), a network that brings together CEOs from around the world. The event was one of the highest turnouts for any YPO event. His address highlighted to the YPO members on the need to mobilise social business within their own industries, touching on the key themes of his book ‘A World of Three Zeros’.

Look out for more news from Kenya, we are incredibly excited to be expanding across East Africa. We are currently hiring for an invesment manager in Nairobi: 

Yunus Social Business Kenya is now hiring for an Investments Manager: http://www.yunussb.com/job/investment-manager-kenya/


Delivering the Future: Our Impact Accelerator in partnership with MAN

By | Corporate | No Comments

8 social start-ups, across 4 continents, with 300+ mentors and a global network!


Today, 54% of the world’s population live in urban areas, and this is expected to rise to 70% by 2030. Transport services and infrastructure, by comparison, have not kept up with this pace of urbanisation.

It is easy to hold an idealistic view of the future of mobility; an automated, green, smart, fast and connected mode of transport. But the reality today falls dismally short of expectations: traffic jams are increasingly part of our daily burden, our urban areas generate 75% of our global greenhouse gas emissions, whilst rural areas are increasingly being cut off from the rest of the world.

As a result, there are too many people that don’t have access to safe, efficient and sustainable transport, further fuelling the poverty gap. Evidently, innovative solutions in the transport and logistics space are sorely needed in order to provide equal access to opportunities.

The 'MAN Impact Accelerator'

YSB has joined forces with MAN Truck & Bus, a Munich-based manufacturer, to launch the ‘MAN Impact Accelerator’ and provide support to where it is needed the most. This programme supports start-ups that seek to harness the power of digital technology in innovative ways to tackle logistic, transport and mobility issues.

Eight start-ups stood out from the rest of the 80 applications, not only for their contribution to improve mobility issues, but for the ways their solutions have a wider social impact, for example in their strong entrepreneurial ethos, and initial success.

The start-ups have embarked on a six-month long journey through five mobility ecosystems; Paris, Munich, Mumbai, Capetown and San Francisco.  Each program week is dedicated to specific themes and supported by a team of mentors that bring their industry expertise to the table. This encourages our start-ups to think beyond their local markets and apply their ideas to different context-specific issues across the world whilst connecting with other social entrepreneurs in the same field.

The diversity in resources, knowledge, and skills that each mentor has accumulated through years of experience has helped our start-ups reach new levels. Already, they are receiving some pivotal input from a diversity of companies such as AirBnB, Amazon, John Deere, Maersk Line and others.

We asked some of the leading mentors for their impressions about the first Program Week in Munich, and here’s what Eduardo Ruiz from Uber had to say: “It was a week of excitement and passion from everyone there. The family spirit created by the organisation humanized mentors to get rid of their ego and entrepreneurs to take feedback and act upon it. It is very fulfilling to help start-ups. It is an experience I highly recommend.


Developing our corporate arm at YSB

At YSB, we believe in the power of entrepreneurial spirit to tackle some of the most pressing social and environmental issues we are facing today. We believe that change can happen by bringing the right minds and hearts together in one room to not only write science but also social fiction. The accelerator helps us connect the social businesses to mentors and partners while exciting our corporate partners about the potential of social business – both for their own strategy as well as their purpose.

The Chairman of the General Works Council at MAN emphasises the significance of the programme from the point of view of employees: “Those of us who work at MAN support the company’s social commitment wholeheartedly – be it local, national or international. We are confident that many exciting ideas will come to fruition along the way.”

Stay tuned for our next blog post where we’ll introduce you to our start-ups and demonstrate their cutting-edge talent in the mobility, transport and logistics space.

Dutch Postcode Lottery Commits to Social Business in Colombia

By | News | No Comments

On February 15th the annual Dutch National Postcode Lottery #GoedGeldGala was held in Amsterdam.

The lottery proudly announced that the beneficiary partner Yunus+You – The YY Foundation of Wiesbaden, Germany, will receive an extra contribution for a large-scale development project over a period of two years for its implementing partners. The aim of the project is to build peace through social business in Colombia. Yunus Social Business is one of these partners, so we are very happy to be furthering our work in Colombia.

Other beneficiaries among 800 invited guests were the foundations of Keynote speaker Leonardo Di Caprio and Tennis No.1 Champion Rafael Nadal. The Dutch Post Code Lottery has been supporting non-governmental organisations since 1989 and Prof. Yunus is a Goodwill Ambassador for the Postcode Lotteries since 2012.

Our Week In Davos

By | News | No Comments

“The most interesting people in Davos aren’t the presidents or celebrities, but the social entrepreneurs — those using business tools to address social problems — and their work offers an inspiring window into what can be accomplished.”


This quote is from Nicholas Kristof’s New York Times piece and of course, we would have to agree! We were proud to be among the world leaders and business heads at the World Economic Forum last week and we had an incredibly eventful and productive time. Our main goal was to spread the movement of social business but of course also to play a little game of ‘Spot the Trump’.

Here are our highlights:

Our Social Success Note Partnership with UBS & Rockefeller 

The first exciting announcement for us this year at Davos was the release of UBS’s World Economic Forum white paper “5 ways wealth managers can support the UN Sustainable Development Goals: our lessons from 2017” documenting innovative solutions to solving inequality. The paper promotes our alliance along with the Rockefeller Foundation and Impact Water to develop the first social success note supporting clean water and sanitation in East Africa. Read more about our commitments here: https://goo.gl/Ck7a7S

We met with Managing Director Saadia Madsbjerg and the newly appointed President of the Rockefeller foundation Raj Shah, as well as Phyllis Costanza who heads the UBS Optimus Foundation to celebrate the social success note focussed on clean water in East Africa. As the world’s largest wealth manager, UBS are in a position to enact real change in closing the inequality gap and we are really happy that they have partnered with us to deliver philanthropic capital spending in a more sustainable way.

YSB Taking The Stage

Our CEO and Co-founder Saskia spoke on the Credit Suisse panel “How to create impact that affects a billion people”. She was joined onstage by Sung-Joo Kim, the CEO of the luxury German brand MCM, the CEO of International Wealth Management for Credit Suisse, Iqbal Khan and venture capitalist Chemi Peres. The aim of the event was to connect today’s and tomorrow’s investors to explore new impact investing concepts.

The panel was co-initiated by the YIO (Young Investors Organization), a network for the next generation of the investors around the world, aiming to accelerate the growth and development of young individuals so that they can leave their own footprint. It’s great to see a focus on the younger generation and we were particularly inspired by the co-founder of Ruang Guru, Iman Usman, who is bringing digital education to 6 million people in Indonesia. It’s fantastic that impact investing and philanthropic capital given as impact investments are represented on the stage at Davos, and we are grateful to Credit Suisse and especially Viola Werner for organising this event and sharing our vision.


Global Goals Cast

We met with the founders of the Global Goals Cast, a podcast that inspires and empowers listeners to make the world a better place by sharing the stories of individuals, companies, and organisations who are advancing and achieving a more sustainable world. Each episode offers inspirational stories, high-quality data, and numerous ways to take action and personally contribute to the global efforts of making the goals’ achievement possible. As we are an organisation driven by and committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, initiatives like Global Goals Cast are incredibly important to make these goals easier to understand, more relatable and feel more attainable for everyone. We really look forward to hearing more from them.

Standing Up For Social Progress with the B Team

As long-term partners of the B team, one of our favourite sessions “Standing Up for Social Progress”, discussed the role and responsibilities of business leaders to take a stand on social issues of moral and political controversy, and what it takes to truly drive social change within large global organisations. We are always impressed by the amount of stats that Unilever CEO Paul Polman has on the tip of his tongue. That; “12-14% of global GDP is spent on war prevention when only 4-5% is used to implement the Sustainable Development Goals. How can we think we are the world’s smartest species?”. Agreed Paul.

Oxfam’s Poignant Message On Inequality

We were happy that Oxfam’s “Reward Work Not Wealth” report on inequality made such a splash. The report made clear that to end the inequality crisis, we must build an economy for ordinary working people, not just the rich and powerful. A message very close to our hearts as supporters of social entrepreneurs. It was incredibly important for us to be present on the global stage at Davos to speak with global corporates and heads of state, to convince them that we should be investing and prioritizing entrepreneurs and small-scale food producers.



A Mention In Le Monde…

To round off the week, we were featured in Le Monde alongside the French Minister for the Economy, Bruno Le Maire and, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, James Dimon. After Macron reiterated his committed to the Paris agreement and the UN Global Sustainable Development Goals. Saskia was quoted as a “big fan” of Macron, as he “brings a breath of fresh air into Europe“.

What an inspiring week – thanks for having us WEF 2018.

Social Business Spotlight: Impact Water

By | Case Studies | No Comments

Over 9 million Ugandans lack access to safe drinking water, that equates to the entire population of London. Without access to clean water, it is estimated that 440 children still die every week due to waterborne diseases. Impact Water are trying to change that…

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012 recognised, “that water is at the core of sustainable development as it is closely linked to a number of key global challenges”, and reiterated “the importance of integrating water in sustainable development”. We know that health has a knock on impact on education, and every year children lose 272 million school days due to diarrhea, a leading cause of mortality that is commonly water-related. It is estimated that 40% of these diarrhea cases are attributable to transmission in schools rather than homes.

“Every year children lose 272 million school days due to diarrhea”

In Uganda, most schools rely on piped or borehole water which is not safe, threatening student health and education. The many schools that do treat their water use firewood stoves to bring water to the boil. The time and fuel cost of boiling water for the entire school population is significant, inevitably leading schools to not treat sufficient amounts of water. Boiling water has an additional negative effect on the environment. Ugandan schools can consume as much as 38 tonnes of firewood per year just to boil water for their students. With over 20,000 schools in the country and one of the world’s fastest growing populations, alternative water treatment solutions are urgently needed, not only to address demand but to help protect Uganda’s already threatened forests.

Ugandan schools can consume as much as 38 tonnes of firewood per year.

Enter Impact Water. Their mission is to increase access to safe water, focusing on school and health facilities.They sell, install and maintain environmentally-friendly water purification systems to schools on low cost, multi-year credit terms. This helps schools to avoid burning firewood for boiling water, offsetting CO2 emissions while reducing medical costs for the families by avoiding waterborne diseases. Improved student health enables students, and their teachers, to better focus on their education and their futures. One of the recipients of Impact Water’s tanks, Haji Kyabangi Yahaya, the Director of the Gangu Muslim Primary, noticed that before the installation of the tank they had around 6 cases per week of waterborne diseases. After installation, they did not have a single case.

“They sell, install and maintain environmentally-friendly water purification systems to schools on low cost, multi-year credit terms.”

Haji Kyabangi Yahaya, the Director of the Gangu Muslim Primary

Impact Water

The purification systems are huge pieces of equipment which aren’t cheap, typically costing around $1,200 – $2,000. As an upfront cost, this is considered by schools as simply too high. To counter this large expense, Impact Water offers credit services to allow customers to pay for their systems over time, typically between one and two years. Installment payments are timed to work with the needs of the institution. For instance, a school will pay three times per year when they receive school fees at the beginning of each school term. This is game-changing for schools, not only because their credit services do not require collateral but also because the payment cycle is so much more manageable. Most schools have extremely limited financial resources so the unique service that Impact Water offer is the difference between access to clean water or not. To Impact Water’s knowledge, the business is the first of its kind to customize payment terms for institutional safe water to the unique cash flow environments of developing country schools.

Since Impact Water’s launch in Uganda in October 2014, they have successfully sold and installed over 1600 school water purification systems. They control the quality of their service by procuring all system components themselves, sourcing from top global suppliers at volume discounts, and delivering all services via their own employees.

“They have successfully sold and installed over 1600 school water purification systems”

However, their success has not come without challenges, which they are quick to recognize. Safe water initiatives are notorious for failing after one to two years. This is often due to technology failure; lack of maintenance, repair services and capacity; community buy-in and challenges with behavioral change. The socio-economic, environmental and health benefits associated with safe water depend solely on its ongoing provision, and therefore sustained social impact is only achieved when systems remain operational. Impact Water’s ability to keep systems functional beyond this two-year period and combined with its scale of operations, is the factor they have recognized will significantly distinguish them from other safe water initiatives. Therefore, they have built-in preventive maintenance to each sale and deliver every four to six months (depending on water quality) for the first two years of operations. Consequently, greater system lifetime and utility equates to greater value for customers and increased demand.

“Safe water initiatives are notorious for failing after one to two years”


Results to Date

  • The 1600 water purification systems sold to developing country schools since the business launched in Uganda October 2014, has benefited over 600,000 students.
  • Inception to date payback rates have been strong, with 92% payback rate overall and less than one third paying late by greater than one school term. Systems are inspected by Impact Water staff twice a year, and component parts replaced when needed.

By the end of 2018, the business expects to have sold to over 10,000 developing country schools, benefiting 5 million students. By 2020, Impact Water expects to be in 12 countries with a projected 15-20,000 annual system sales and to create over 7.5 million new beneficiaries per annum.  It’s an ambitious plan but one Impact Water believes is achievable given its unique value proposition and the size of the developing country school market alone (not to mention other viable segments including health facilities, religious and community institutions, workplaces, government buildings, restaurants and hotels). In looking at the size of the school market in Africa alone, there are over 600,000 public schools and about 150,000 private schools.

The social impact potential of the business is far-reaching. Some examples include:

  • Improved dignity and health for millions of school children and health facility patients;
  • Socio-economic advancements which result from reduced absenteeism at school;
  • Improved gender ratios when safe water is combined with improved sanitation services as menstruation management becomes easier for girls;
  • Financial savings (as boiling and buying bottled water is expensive);
  • Reduced biomass consumption and a corresponding decrease in indoor air pollution as these safe water systems will replace the need to boil water resulting in large carbon dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter emission reductions; and
  • Job creation, particularly for the youth, as they become employed in selling and installing systems.

YSB contributes to EVPA Report on Financing for Social Impact – The Key Role of Tailored Financing and Hybrid Finance

By | News | No Comments

Financing for Social Impact – The Key Role of Tailored Financing and Hybrid Finance

How can venture philanthropy organisations, social investors and impact investors, improve the way they allocate resources to their investees?

To answer this question the EVPA Knowledge Centre embarked on a nine-month journey with a group of over 30 experts, in which we took part as well. The result is the new EVPA report “Financing for Social Impact – The Key Role of Tailored Financing and Hybrid Finance”, launched at the EVPA Annual Conference in Oslo on 9 November 2017. This new piece of research looks at how funding can be shaped in a way that meets the financial needs of the social purpose organisation (SPO) and at how different actors can collaborate in the VP/SI space to bring more resources to SPOs.

EVPA has developed a three-step process to help VP/SI organisations find the most suitable financial instrument to support a SPO. The process is known as tailored financing and it is addressed in the first part of the report.

The report also focuses on hybrid finance, which is defined as the allocation of financial resources to impact-oriented investments, combining different types of financial instruments and different types of risk/return/impact profiles of capital providers.

One of the main conclusions of the report is that tailored financing and hybrid finance promote a more efficient and effective deployment of resources in the VP/SI space. They can represent a way to solve the existing funding gap that prevents SPOs from gaining access to the capital needed for achieving self-sustainability and for scaling.

You can download the report here

If you have questions about the report, you can contact the EVPA Knowledge Centre at knowledge.centre@evpa.eu.com

Prof. Muhammad Yunus Releases New Book “A World Of Three Zeros”

By | News | No Comments

A World Of Three ZerosOur Chairman and Co-Founder, Prof. Muhammad Yunus offers his vision of an emerging new economic system in his new book ‘A World of Three Zeros: The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment, and Zero Net Carbon Emissions’.

Yunus created microcredit, invented social business, and earned a Nobel Peace Prize for his work in alleviating poverty. Now he declares it’s time to admit that the capitalist engine is broken – that in its current form it inevitably leads to rampant inequality, massive unemployment, and environmental destruction. We need a new economic system that unleashes altruism as a creative force just as powerful as self-interest.

bee farmer

At YSB, we are really excited to have some of our businesses such as Golden Bees feature in the new book, showing how the concept of social business can be realised in our shared vision for A World of Three Zeros.

In his book, Yunus explains how thousands of people and organisations have already embraced this vision of a new form of capitalism, launching innovative social businesses designed to serve human needs rather than accumulate wealth. They are bringing solar energy to millions of homes in Bangladesh; turning thousands of unemployed young people into entrepreneurs through equity investments; financing female-owned businesses in cities across the United States; bringing mobility, shelter, and other services to the rural poor in France; and creating a global support network to help young entrepreneurs launch their start-ups.

In A World of Three Zeros, Yunus describes the new civilization emerging from the economic experiments his work has helped to inspire. He explains how global companies like McCain, Renault, Essilor, and Danone got involved with this new economic model through their own social action groups, describes the ingenious new financial tools now funding social businesses, and sketches the legal and regulatory changes needed to jump start the next wave of socially driven innovations. And he invites young people, business and political leaders, and ordinary citizens to join the movement and help create the better world we all dream of. 

‘A World of Three Zeros’ is available now from all good bookshops.