Strengthening Social Businesses Through Venture Philanthropy

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Report Released Today with The Boston Consulting Group.

We often conduct research with our partner organisations at YSB and are happy to announce this report today in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group. The report looks into how venture philanthropists often measure generic metrics such as how many lives their investments affect. This kind of data provides little insight into a much more important question: How have people’s lives improved? By focusing on overly simplistic metrics, VPs are missing an opportunity to add enormous value for social businesses. The report was written by a panel of experts from both BCG and Yunus Social Business; Frauke Uekermann, Luca Fratesi, Karen Hitschke, Bastian Müller, and Douglas Beal.

Social Business Day 2018

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We are delighted to announce that Nobel Peace Laureate, Muhammad Yunus’ flagship event, Social Business Day is coming to India for the first time ever- on June 28 and 29 in Bengaluru! #SBD2018 brings together more than 900 social business practitioners from 30+ countries together for 2 days of dialogue and exchange on this year’s theme – creating a world of 3 zeros: Zero poverty, Zero unemployment and Zero net carbon emission.

Social Business Day has an exciting lineup of speakers including Prof. Muhammad Yunus, Founder, Grameen Bank Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog; Andrea Jung, CEO, Grameen America; Rahul Bose, Actor and Activist; Zarina Screwvala,  Managing Trustee, Swades Foundation; Devi Shetty Chairman, Narayana Health; Emmanuel Faber, CEO, Danone, TV Narendran, MD, Tata Steel and many more.

Register Here

The Social Success Note Hits New York.

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A new kind of Social Impact Bond that delivers more – we’ve taken our Social Success Note launch on tour!



Today saw the New York launch of “The Social Success Note” at the Rockefeller Foundation. 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.

Saskia Bruysten from Yunus Social Business, Adam Connaker from The Rockefeller Foundation, and Stephen Freedman from UBS Optimus Foundation all spoke on the panel this morning.

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. Find out the full info in the flyer below or read our coverage in Devex.

Read the Brochure

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

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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.

East Africa Partner Trip

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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

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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:


Dutch Postcode Lottery Commits to Social Business in Colombia

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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

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“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:

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.

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

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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

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

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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.