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A GDI Case Study: Partnership for Economic Inclusion (PEI)

How does GDI design and build social impact startups?

It’s not an easy question to tackle, but we hope this new case study on the Partnership for Economic Inclusion (PEI) will help provide some insight.

PEI and its NGO partners are dedicated to driving economic inclusion for the extreme poor through developing scalable systems-change strategies that empower governments and other local stakeholders.

GDI provided strategic and project management support to PEI, such as advising NGO leaders and governments on how to adopt the graduation approach: a sequenced set of interventions to help vulnerable households move out of extreme poverty within a specified period.

PEI graduated from GDI’s incubation in 2018, and is now hosted at the World Bank’s Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice. PEI manages a global community of practice consisting of hundreds of partners including NGOs, researchers, and foundations focused on eradicating extreme poverty for over 700 million people around the world.

To learn more about how we incubated PEI and what we’ve learned from the process, read the full case study here >> 

Want to learn more about how GDI builds initiatives? Check out our case studies on Health Enabled and ISF Advisors.

Creating jobs and sustainable livelihoods in a changing world

The jobs and livelihoods sector has transformed significantly over the past decade, and is expected to see even greater shifts in the coming years. Population shifts given the youth bulge, climate, conflict and urbanization are driving challenges overall, while the changing nature of work in the form of automation and digitization is negatively impacting lower value-added manufacturing and emerging digital jobs.

These shifts are expected to exacerbate the youth employment challenges, the currently over 210M people out of work, and the more than 1.4 billion people in vulnerable and poor quality employment — with disproportionate negative effects in Africa and South Asia.

The World Bank and global governments are focusing on jobs and livelihoods as the most critical pathway to eliminating poverty (SDG 1) and driving sustainable economic growth (SDG 8). In this paper, GDI Director Alice Gugelev brings forth opportunities that have the potential to transform systems to create sustainable jobs across the value chain, despite the challenging dynamics of shifting populations and evolving nature of work.

New GDI Initiative for Sustainable Urban Development Announced at UN Habitat Assembly

The world’s urban population is increasing — most rapidly in low and middle income countries. In order to meet Sustainable Development Goal 11 — to make cities more sustainable, resilient, inclusive and safe — governments will need to develop more urban infrastructure, and they’ll need collaborative action from government leaders, urban planners, and private investors to do so.

That’s where the Capital Advisory Platform (CAP) comes in. This new GDI initiative jointly implemented with UN Habitat aims to connect investors with sustainable and bankable urban development projects. If successful, this platform will generate a pipeline of investable deals while building capacity across governments and multilaterals.

Read more about the Capital Advisory Platform here.

The Council on Smallholder Agricultural Finance (CSAF) Releases its 2019 State of the Sector Report

As one of the latest initiatives being incubated at GDI , the Council on Smallholder Agricultural Finance (CSAF) convenes 12 of the world’s leading agricultural small- to medium-sized enterprise (SME) lenders to share learning, identify best practices, and develop industry standards. CSAF members seek to create a thriving, sustainable, and transparent market to serve the financing needs of agricultural SMEs in low- and middle-income countries. To drive this market forward, each year, CSAF releases an annual report drawing upon data and insights from the portfolios of the 12 financial institutions.

In their just-released 2019 State of the Sector report, CSAF examines how lenders have responded to increased risk in their portfolios after a period of growth and diversification, and shares their outlook on what is required to expand the finance market for agricultural SMEs and align market growth with social and environmental impact. CSAF also shares the latest on a new initiative being incubated by GDI that will launch in early 2020, Aceli Africa.

Read the 2019 CSAF State of the Sector report and watch the webinar recording.

GDI is growing: See where we’ve been & where we’re headed in our 2018 Annual Report

Did you know GDI has over 25 active initiatives? And five global offices? What about the fact that our incubated initiatives have mobilized nearly $750 million for driving sector-wide change in their issue areas? Looking back on 2018, our team at GDI played a major role in building initiatives that drive systems change around the world in different ways. We’re thrilled to share GDI’s 2018 annual report, which takes a look at GDI’s milestone year in 2018 and outlines our approach to building initiatives from the ground up.

Highlights include:

Explore the 2018 annual report >>

The GDI-incubated Global Digital Health Index (GDHI) announces inaugural State of Digital Health report

The Global Digital Health Index (GDHI) released its inaugural State of Digital Health report, which provides the first-ever snapshot of digital health ecosystems throughout the world and lays the foundation for better informed and more coordinated investments in digital health. The GDHI, which officially launched in 2018, was designed by GDI, HealthEnabled, Dalberg’s Design Impact Group (DIG), ThoughtWorks, and representatives from country governments and agencies.

Key findings from the new report include:

  • Overall, most countries are at average digital health maturity
  • Countries throughout the world lack national digital health architectures, health information exchanges, and data standards, which can slow progress in the digital health field
  • Countries in Africa lag behind global averages, indicating a need for a particular focus on investment in that region

This inaugural report serves as a call to action to governments and health practitioners worldwide, urging them to commit to improving the data on existing digital health ecosystems, which will in turn provide clear paths for improving them. GDI is proud to be part of the GDHI team, committed to expanding access to digital health data and, in turn, improving health systems worldwide. Countries looking to learn more about their digital health maturity, how it compares to other countries, and how they can improve it are encouraged to reach out to info@digitalhealthindex.org to contribute data.

Read the full report >>

Read the GDHI’s press release >>

Read Dr. Patricia Mechael’s piece for Philips about investing in the health workforce >>

GDI welcomes the Council on Smallholder Agricultural Finance (CSAF) and Aceli Africa

The Council on Smallholder Agricultural Finance (CSAF) has officially transitioned to the Global Development Incubator (GDI). Founded in 2012, CSAF is an alliance of 12 leading impact lenders that promotes industry standards and best practices for lending to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the agriculture sector globally. CSAF members include AgDevCo, Alterfin, Global Partnerships, Impact Finance, Incofin Investment Management, Oikocredit, Rabo Rural Fund, responsAbility Investments AG, Root Capital, Shared Interest Society, SME Impact Fund, and Triodos Investment Management.

CSAF members collectively lend $700M annually to enterprises across Africa, Asia, and Latin America that provide market linkages and other services such as agronomic training, inputs, and credit to 2.2M smallholder farmers. In recent years, CSAF has played  a leadership role in advancing sector knowledge – publishing annual “state of the sector” reports in collaboration with MIX, convening stakeholder workshops, and analyzing the economics of agricultural SME lending globally and in East Africa in partnership with Dalberg Advisors.

Since CSAF’s founding in 2012, it has operated with a part-time secretariat housed at Root Capital, one of the alliance’s seven founding members. As CSAF has expanded its membership and engaged other stakeholders to share data and learning, members decided that CSAF needed more dedicated resources and an institutional home. CSAF selected GDI as the host given its alignment with CSAF’s mission and values, its history collaborating with CSAF, and synergies with its other agricultural finance programs.

In recent months, CSAF has partnered with GDI to develop a new initiative called Aceli Africa that seeks to increase lending by both CSAF members and local financial institutions to agricultural SMEs in East Africa. CSAF and Aceli Africa join ISF Advisors and the Rural and Agricultural Finance Learning Lab, also housed within GDI, as industry leaders generating sector learning and innovation in agricultural finance.

Brian Milder, who previously directed CSAF among his responsibilities as a senior executive at Root Capital will lead CSAF as well as the design and implementation of Aceli Africa. He is joined by Liz Muange – a development finance practitioner with experience in impact investing, entrepreneurship development, and agricultural finance based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Both CSAF and Aceli Africa are based on the premise that agricultural SMEs have the potential to make significant contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goals 1 (no poverty), 2 (zero hunger), 5 (gender equality), 8 (decent work), 13 (climate action), and 15 (life on land). However, agricultural SMEs have yet to realize this potential because they fall into the “missing middle” – i.e., they are typically too large for microfinance but unable to access loans from commercial banks. This gap is estimated at $65B across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Drawing upon the experiences of CSAF members globally, Aceli Africa aims to close this gap by catalyzing a more competitive financial market to serve high-impact agricultural enterprises and promoting a strong enabling environment for this market to flourish and for agricultural SMEs to achieve their growth and impact potential.

The transition of CSAF to GDI and the formation of Aceli Africa signals momentum and maturity in the field of agricultural SME lending. The GDI team is honored to support both initiatives and further contribute to improving livelihoods for the 450 million smallholder farm households globally.

Celebrate World Wildlife Day with underwater VR films from our friends at The Hydrous

The 2019 World Wildlife Day, celebrated last Sunday, had an ocean-focused theme: “Life below water: for people and planet.” Closely aligning with SDG 14, this theme aimed “to raise awareness about the breathtaking diversity of marine life, the crucial importance of marine species to human development, and how we can make sure it will continue to provide these services for future generations.”

GDI is no stranger to the urgency behind spreading awareness and educating the public about the importance of our oceans. The Hydrous is an international community of scientists, divers, designers, filmmakers, technologists, educators, and concerned citizens who love the ocean and want to share it to protect it. They use frontier technologies, like virtual reality (VR) to bring the ocean to you – however many miles from the ocean you may be.

Their new VR film, IMMERSE: A Journey of Science, Love and Magic in the Ocean, is set to premiere on Sunday, March 10 at the International Ocean Film Festival in San Francisco. Want to attend? It’s free! All you need to do is register here.

If you can’t make it to California for the world premiere, the Hydrous is heading to Washington, D.C. on April 23 to screen their VR exploration at the National Geographic headquarters. Tickets for that event are available here.

Learn more about The Hydrous and their work to create “open access oceans” here >>

Solving youth unemployment requires youth voice

By Tilly Josephson and Christine Dickason

This is not just a statewide issue, but a global issue. If we all come together and strategize and plan, then we can tackle this together. -Sharell, youth delegate

We often talk about youth representing our world’s future. But, too often, when discussing challenges facing young people, we exclude them from the conversations and talk about what we can do for them, not with them. One of the major challenges facing the 1.2 billion people between the ages of 15-24 is youth unemployment. It is estimated that 350 million young people are “opportunity youth,” meaning they are under or unemployed and not in school.

Many organizations are doing important work to tackle this challenge, but surprisingly few put youth at the forefront of their approach. We were pleased to be a part of a convening this month hosted by the new Global Opportunity Youth Initiative (GOYI) that bucked this trend and centered first and foremost on amplifying youth voice. Over 20 youth leaders from 12 countries—including Sharell from West Virginia, quoted above – gathered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for a week of lively discussions, problem solving, and contributing to the GOYI’s mission of working in partnership with communities around the globe to accelerate economic prospects for opportunity youth.

Youth Know the Problems They Face

Youth unemployment happens for various reasons and shows itself in different ways across different communities; thus, solutions must be specific to the contexts in which they operate. Listen to Wanner’s story, for instance. Wanner is from Cali, Colombia, and attended the Global Opportunity Youth Convening last week. Thanks to training he received through The Alvaralice Foundation Wanner now works in customer service and merchandising. But most of his peers in Cali do not share his experience of moving smoothly from training to employment . He spoke extensively about how opposing gangs in the community stir up conflict and create “invisible barriers” that prevent youth from traveling to certain parts of the city. In his environment, a training center – often a useful tool in helping young people gain important skills – may not be the best solution for tackling youth unemployment, as some people could not cross these invisible lines to get to the center.

Courtesy of Bonfire Media Collective, LLC

Or, hear the stories of three young people from Canada’s Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation who attended the convening. Their challenges to full employment stem from decades of discrimination and racism, and require solutions that address the deep-rooted trauma their communities have experienced. Helping young people in these communities gain new skills is important, but it will not address the underlying issues that prevent them from gaining employment.

While common solutions like training programs, apprenticeships, and increasing access to education can certainly help youth, these stories highlight the reality that no one cookie-cutter solution will work for all communities.Place-based solutions, on the other hand—like those that GOYI embraces can drive more effective change by considering the local context and adequately accounting for the experiences of the individuals who live there. It sounds obvious, but it’s often neglected: no one knows better about the unique challenges their communities face than the people who spend every day there.

Youth are Resilient

Youth leaders participating in the convening said they face obstacles beyond the challenge of getting a job. One young woman from Mexico talked about the organized crime that plagued her home community. Two youth leaders from the UK both had grown up in the foster care system. A woman from Haiti spoke about dropping out of secondary school, as her family was unable to afford the school fees. A man from India recounted the struggles he faced trying to provide for his entire family after his father died.

Courtesy of Bonfire Media Collective, LLC

Many of the 24 youth delegates who gathered at the convening in Philadelphia had faced immense hardships throughout their lives. But what struck everyone in the room was not these youths’ struggles, but their resilience. Unless prompted, they spoke not of their challenges, but of their dreams for the future. They focused on how what they were learning at the convening could help their communities. Even in spending time exploring Philadelphia, they set aside time to buy small gifts for their loved ones back home.

When we view youth who have experienced hardships as victims, we undermine their ability to overcome. We can learn from their challenges, but we can only do that if we give them a seat at the table as leaders.

Youth are Ready to Make Change

Too many initiatives ignore that youth can – and want to – make change. In building the Global Opportunity Youth Initiative (GOYI), we are trying to do things differently. Young people are central to our global change effort from design to execution, as we seek to transform the narrative around “opportunity youth” ‑ those young people who are out of school, unemployed, and working in informal jobs. We are emphasizing their assets and capacity to contribute positively to society and their communities – not just the daunting challenges they face.

One youth leader at our convening, Mercy from South Africa, captured this optimism best when she told her peers on the last day of the convening: “I am excited to go back and make a change in my community.” All the youth delegates shared this excitement, expressing the change they could make once they got back home. It was infectious, invigorating. And it is exactly the energy needed to take on a global crisis.

GOYI welcomes conversations with interested place-based actors and funders to explore partnering to realize our vision for bold, community-led change for youth. The initiative is being developed by the Aspen Institute’s Forum for Community Solutions, the Global Development Incubator (GDI), YouthBuild International, with funding from Prudential.

Co-Impact announces inaugural five grants including two that will support GDI’s incubated initiatives

Co-Impact, a new philanthropic collaborative for systems change, announced this week its first round of grants totaling $80 million that will support five initiatives improving education, health, and economic opportunity across Africa, South Asia, and Latin America.

We are thrilled to share that two initiatives incubated at GDI – citiesRISE and the Partnership for Economic Inclusion’s graduation approach – are part of Co-Impact’s first set of grants:

citiesRISE: Co-Impact will support citiesRISE’s effort to create a global network of “Mental Health Friendly Cities” – starting with Nairobi, Chennai, Bogota, Sacramento and Seattle and scaling systemic solutions by leveraging the energy and creativity of youth, the speed and reach of technology, and the power of cross-sectoral collective action.

Partnership for Economic Inclusion (PEI): Co-Impact will support PEI’s efforts along with program partners Jeevika, Bihar, and Fundación Capital to expand the graduation approach – one of the most effective economic inclusion interventions to help the world’s poorest people lift themselves out of poverty. PEI is now housed at the World Bank and brings together deep expertise and serves as a practical global resource for those wanting to expand social and economic inclusion programs of this type.

These two initiatives were selected along with three others as part of a rigorous assessment from an initial pool of more than 250 initiatives. PEI and the graduation approach will receive a Co-Impact systems change grant over five years, and citiesRISE will receive a two-year venture grant.

Congratulations to Co-Impact and each of these outstanding initiatives!

Read Co-Impact’s full press release here.

A GDI Case Study: HealthEnabled

How does GDI design and build social impact startups?

It’s not an easy question to tackle, but we hope this new case study on HealthEnabled will help provide some answers.

Starting with interest from the mHealth Alliance executive director, Patty Mechael, GDI assessed and validated the need for a new organization that could work with countries to develop and operationalize digital health strategies and cultivate a supportive enabling environment for the effective use of digital health solutions.

GDI co-created HealthEnabled’s initial strategy with four key pillars, including raising the bar for digital health through a global index to guide and encourage all countries to mature, which led to the creation of the Global Digital Health Index (GDHI). Additionally, GDI helped develop and refine a business plan and worked with Emergence Creative to strengthen HealthEnabled’s messaging and positioning among decision-makers.

HealthEnabled graduated from GDI’s incubation in early 2018 and now stands on its own as an Africa-based not-for profit that helps governments integrate proven life-saving digital health interventions into their health systems.

To learn more about our partners along the way and understand what we’ve learned from both successes and challenges in building HealthEnabled, read the full case study here >>

Want to learn more about how GDI builds initiatives? Check out our case studies on ISF Advisors and Convergence.

GDI team shares insights on scaling impact with 400 social sector leaders in China

What does it mean to scale impact? Why does it matter? How can we do it better?

GDI East Asia Managing Director Warren Ang shared insights from GDI’s research on these questions at the Effective Philanthropic Multiplier (EPM)’s annual convening in China earlier this month to an audience of over 400 social sector leaders and practitioners.

The Effective Philanthropy Multiplier (EPM) is a platform that facilitates the accelerated replication of effective social products and models across China. EPM was initiated by 17 leading organizations in the sector: Narada Foundation, China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, and One Foundation, China Merchants Charitable Foundation, Xinhua Philanthropy, Tencent Foundation, JD Philanthropy, Shanghai United Foundation, the Amity Foundation, NPI, SEE Foundation, Leping Social Entrepreneur Foundation, ThoughtWorks, Sina Weibo Philanthropy, TJA Foundation, China Foundation Center, and Anna Chennault Foundation.

In its first two years, EPM has selected and supported 53 “effective products,” and facilitated 11,928 replications (including 2,857 nonprofits and volunteer associations, and 9,071 schools). EPM held its annual meeting to share their experience and achievements in the past two years and discuss scaling up impact with social sector leaders and practitioners.

GDI, together with China Donor Roundtable (CDR), led a seminar on scaling up impact for over 40 international and local foundations including Oxfam HK, Ford Foundation, and One Foundation. The discussion aimed to use the concepts of end-games and pathways to scale to help participants better understand their portfolios, drawing on GDI’s “What’s Your Endgame?” Stanford Social Innovation Review article and additional strategic research that EPM and GDI conducted on how EPM could better select and support products to scale up their impact (supported by Narada Foundation, Sanyi Foundation, and Zhaoshang Foundation).

GDI took foundation leaders through the research and focused on two case studies (Huiling and Shifangyuan) to show how these ideas about scaling impact operate in practice. The team also facilitated small group discussions for foundations to share their own experiences and insights on how to better scale-up the impact of their portfolio.

“We’re excited about building real initiatives that have impact at scale,” said GDI East Asia Managing Director Warren Ang. “For our research and strategy work to have any meaning, it needs to be grounded in practice and needs to deliver real results and value that we can measure. That’s why we build off this foundational research and next year will continue to work with the fantastic EPM team to build a ‘scale-up academy.’ The academy will put our findings into practice to significantly improve the social sector’s ability to select and support organizations aiming to scale their impact.”

Interested in learning more? You can watch the full video of GDI’s presentation, download the English slides, or read the first of a four-part Chinese article series on the topic where we explore the concept of scaling up, why it matters, and introduce the endgame framework as a starting point for organizations wishing to start their scale-up journey.

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Sound fun? Want to get involved in GDI’s East Asia scaling impact efforts? GDI is currently looking for top talent to join our fast-growing Greater China team that is at the forefront of the Chinese social sector. We work hand-in-hand with partners, bringing our core competencies in strategy consulting, capacity building, design thinking, and implementation, to design and build initiatives that achieve impact at scale. Check out our Job Posts here (Chinese) or here (English).

Global Opportunity Youth Initiative Hosts Inaugural Youth Convening

PHILADELPHIA, PA, December 20, 2018 — As part of the Global Opportunity Youth Initiative (GOYI), the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions—and partners Prudential Financial, YouthBuild International, and the Global Development Incubator(GDI)—hosted the inaugural Global Opportunity Youth convening. The meeting was held December 3 – 7, 2018 at The Hive at Spring Point in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

This week-long event brought together 24 young leaders between the ages of 18 and 30 from 12 countries around the world, including El Salvador, Haiti, Colombia,Mexico, Brazil, Canada, United States, Kenya, South Africa, United Kingdom, Jordan, and India. The youth delegates, who are either disconnected from or recently connected to work and education, represented six different languages and came from a mixture of rural, urban, and First Nations low-income backgrounds. These youth delegates had the opportunity to share their experiences of work and leadership in their home countries and inform the design of a new global effort – the Global Opportunity Youth Initiative – that will support pathways for youth into decent work.

“There are over 350 million young people in the world today who are not connected to opportunities for training, school, or formal work. This challenge calls for urgent, organized action that must be informed by the lived experience of this global youth constituency,” said Tim Cross, president of YouthBuild International. “It was insightful hearing the analysis and ideas for action from the youth delegates, and we are excited to have launched a permanent network of global opportunity youth who will guide the work as we carry it forward in 2019.”

“We will go back with a lot of information and bring solutions to whatever problems we are facing in our countries and be the first ones to make a change,” said Mercy Ncumisa Matubatuba, youth delegate from South Africa. “I am excited to go back and make a change in my community.”

The Global Opportunity Youth Initiative will partner with communities around the world committed to advancing systemic efforts to support access to productive employment for opportunity youth. Through this initiative, communities will bring together government, business, education, nonprofit, and youth leaders in a local collaborative and create a shared blueprint for increasing jobs and livelihoods for opportunity youth.

“It was remarkable bringing these young people from across cultures and countries together for the first time,” said Jamie McAuliffe, senior fellow, Aspen Institute. “Their aspirations and ideas will not only inform the design of the Global Opportunity Youth Initiative but will influence the creation of a longer-term global opportunity leadership pillar as a central component to initiative’s work.”

“It’s critical that youth are engaged in shaping the Global Opportunity Youth Initiative because pathways to economic security look different in every country,” said Sarah Keh, vice president, corporate giving at PrudentialFinancial. “This inaugural Global Youth Convening brought together individuals from 12 countries who shared their personal experiences and insights to help create and scale solutions for youth today. Prudential looks forward to continuing to engage youth in this initiative to have a meaningful impact for future generations.”

“This youth convening presented an important opportunity for us to understand the aspirations of young people when it comes to economic opportunities, and gave us a chance to enlist their energy and talents as we generate new commitments to address the global youth unemployment crisis in a more strategic, coordinated manner,” said Alice Gugelev, director at GDI. “Far too often youth employment initiatives are designed without genuine youth input and ownership –we want this initiative to be different, and we feel this input is critical to creating sustainable change for and with youth.”

Learn more about the Global Opportunity Youth Initiative here.

ABOUT THE ASPEN INSTITUTE FORUM FOR COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS

The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions’ mission is to support community collaboration—including collective impact—that enables communities to effectively address their most pressing challenges. TheForum for Community Solutions works to accomplish this mission by pursuing four complementary strategies including: 1) building awareness by documenting and lifting up impactful strategies and stories of success; 2) mobilizing stakeholders through knowledge and network development; 3) removing barriers by advocating for effective policy; and 4) catalyzing investment by encouraging funder partnerships. For more information, please visit www.aspencommunitysolutions.org

ABOUT PRUDENTIAL FINANCIAL, INC.

Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial services leader with more than $1.4 trillion of assets under management as of September 30, 2018, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.Prudential’s diverse and talented employees are committed to helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth through a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and investment management. In the U.S., Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit news.prudential.com.

ABOUT YOUTHBUILD INTERNATIONAL

The mission of YouthBuild International (YBI) is to unleash the intelligence and positive energy of young people to transform their lives and rebuild their communities.YouthBuild International is building a global network of programs dedicated to reaching, inspiring, preparing and connecting unemployed young people to viable livelihood and leadership opportunities. In YouthBuild programs, young people acquire basic education, job readiness, technical training and leadership skills while building permanent community assets such as housing, community centers, schools, playgrounds and green infrastructure. YouthBuild was established in the United States 40 years ago and has expanded to 360 program sites in 44 states in the U.S. and in 22 other countries. For more information, visit www.youthbuild.org.

ABOUT THE GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT INCUBATOR

The Global Development Incubator (GDI) is a non-profit that builds startups and partnerships to address some of the world’s toughest global development challenges. Visit www.globaldevincubator.orgto learn more.

Photo courtesy of Bonfire Media Collective, LLC

GDI-incubated Refugee Investment Network takes center stage at #SOCAP18

This year’s SOCAP was especially exciting for GDI, as we announced the Refugee Investment Network (RIN), the first impact investing and blended finance collaborative dedicated to creating long-term solutions to global forced migration. John Kluge, founder and managing director of the RIN, told Bloomberg this month, “[We’re] setting out to prove to the broader investment community that refugees and displaced communities are in fact highly investable and that there’s really a business and investment case here beyond just the humanitarian appeal. They’re incredible entrepreneurs.

Along with the announcement, the RIN released its first report, “Paradigm Shift: How Investment Can Unlock the Potential of Refugees,” offering impact investors, grant-makers, and development finance professionals the first landscape of the what, why, who, where, and most importantly, how, of investing in and with displaced people.

At SOCAP, the RIN also announced that it had secured over $200 million in commitments from organizations across the capital and enterprise continuum including Amplio Ventures, Kiva, TerraBlanca Impact Capital, SEAF, Ascend Venture Fund, 17 Asset Management, Post Road Foundation, and 51 Labs.

As the RIN’s incubation partner, GDI will continue to provide strategic, operational, and strategic communications support for the RIN as the initiative moves towards an official launch in 2019.

Investors or partners interested in joining the effort can learn more at RefugeeInvestments.org.

GDI and partners launch the Collaborative for Frontier Finance at #SOCAP18

At SOCAP 2018 last month, GDI and a team of partners launched the Collaborative for Frontier Finance (CFF), a multi-stakeholder initiative comprised of investors, funders, and field builders that aim to increase the amount of appropriate capital available for small and growing businesses (SGBs) in frontier and emerging markets.

Alice Gugelev, the lead GDI director behind this initiative, noted on a panel at SOCAP that while SGBs seem to be the solution for so many global development challenges, they lack the finance and infrastructure to fulfill that potential. Through “clusters” – or communities of stakeholders focused on specific themes related to SGB finance – CFF is seeking to overcome those problems by co-designing initiatives that can catalyze new capital for SGBs. So far, clusters focus on areas including mezzanine finance, pre-investment advisory, and very early stage funds.

Alongside the launch, CFF, Omidyar Network, the Dutch Good Growth Fund, and Dalberg Advisors released “Missing Middles: Segmenting Enterprises to Better Understand Their Financial Needs,” a report which offers an innovative segmentation framework with the aim of helping investors, intermediaries, and entrepreneurs better navigate the complex landscape of SGB investment in frontier and emerging markets.

Interested in getting involved? Find out more information about specific initiatives or modes of engagement by signing up to receive periodic updates on the sector including resources and opportunities to participate in events and initiatives. CFF will also be connecting with interested partners through hosting a series of panels and workshops at ANDE’s Annual Conference, GSG Impact Summit, SOCAP, and the GIIN Investor Forum. To learn more about the Collaborative, check out CFF’s website here.