Social VenturesMarket-based solutions to fight global poverty
We’re believers in innovation—and that community-inspired business approaches can offer sustainable economic opportunity to the poor.
We know that enterprises offering beneficial products and services can create sustainable social impact for the poor.
Even in the poorest places around the world, hardworking people struggle to improve the conditions of their family. While they are producing a good or produce to sell, people may lack the knowledge or opportunity necessary to form a market or delivery system to benefit or grow their profit.
That’s why we work to lay the groundwork for healthy, private sector collaborations at the grassroots and global trading levels. We support the start-up of businesses that can help people out of poverty while providing a service that everyone needs—like growing food, producing power, and improving accessing to clean water.
In Cambodia, 80% of the population lives in rural areas, where the primary occupation is rice farming. Rice farming only occurs from May to November, leaving farmers without a steady source of income for the remaining five months of the year.
What we’re doing about it
Right now, our social venture work focuses on market-driven approaches to food, energy, and water security.
Developed in partnership with Pennsylvania State University’s Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship Program, GRO Greenhouses help farmers grow and sell vegetables year-round, boosting food security and helping to alleviate poverty. By developing a for-profit GRO Greenhouse business, farmers can increase the volume of produce sold.
Because the poorest farming families lack the capital to invest in the resources required for planting, WHI teaches farmers in Sierra Leone how to utilize drip irrigation and machinery, farm fruit commercially, and access viable markets to increase profits from their harvests. Farmers can eventually invest resources back into their farms and communities.
Mushroom Cultivation, Thera Metrey
Meaning “Compassionate Earth,” Thera Metrey is a local Cambodian cooperative enterprise for collective sorting, processing
FIRST STEP is an Economic Opportunity Zone that introduces opportunities for direct, foreign investment in Sierra Leone—enriching lives through economic investment and community empowerment. 50 acres of land and a processing facility helps companies to establish and maintain businesses in Sierra Leone.
Mobile Power Ltd. provides clean and affordable energy to off-grid communities in Sierra Leone to help improve livelihoods, reduce carbon emissions, and improve health. Portable battery systems powered by solar energy are available at local shops, and can charge phones and power LED lights.
TapEffect offers a market-based solution for households in rural Cambodia to have access to clean, piped water. As a result, women—upon whom the majority of the clean water burden falls—can have clean water piped into their home for drinking, washing, gardening, and more.
In 2017, we celebrated our social ventures impact.
benefitted from construction of a piped water business in Cambodia.
benefitted from 36 new GRO Greenouses in Sierra Leone and Mozambique, and 54 farmers linked to new markets.
in 5 communities in Cambodia produced 67.5 tons of mushrooms through mushroom cultivation businesses.