News & Insights

How Social Enterprises Use Different Business Models to Make an Impact

While all of our partners are classified as social enterprises – mission-driven organizations which apply market-sustained strategies to achieve a social purpose – each employ different business models that catalyze the flow of essential goods and services to people living in poverty. Here are a few examples:

  • Pro Mujer International utilizes a village bank model to integrate credit with health education and services. The village bank channel helps Pro Mujer mitigate credit risks, as a system of cross-guarantees strengthens repayment rates. This model also allows Pro Mujer to conduct its loan collection and deliver non-financial services in an efficient, cost-effective manner.
  • Our partners within our Rural Livelihoods impact area make use of a variety of business models to provide credit, technical assistance and commercialization services to smallholder farmers throughout the region. Los Andes, structured as a credit and savings cooperative, delivers credit, education and health services to its members; because members own the entity, the cost of these services is affordable and tailored to meet their needs. NORANDINO, also a credit and savings cooperative, serves smaller fair trade and organic certified cooperatives with credit and savings products, while its member-cooperatives provide certification training and access to specialty markets to NORANDINO’s member-farmers.
  • Within our Green Technology impact area, we’re exploring models that enable access to solar-powered products for last mile, non-electrified communities. While some of our cooperative and MFI partners provide financing for solar products, we are also looking at models of social enterprises that design, manufacture and/or distribute solar light and power products in the developing world.

From our observation, the best models protect against excessive credit risk, are market-sustained, scalable, and serve as efficient distribution platforms for appropriate services beyond credit. As a nonprofit impact investor, we will continue to uncover and invest in a variety of business models that advance our mission of expanding opportunity for people living in poverty.

Learn more:   

  • Read our latest Investors Report, which covers the second quarter of 2013 (April 1-June 30, 2013), and provides a sneak peak at one of our newest partners, Pro-Rural in Bolivia.
  • Discover more about all 37 of our current partners by checking out their profiles, photos, videos, and "impact in action stories" in our interactive partner grid.

Blog Tags: cooperatives   fair trade   Latin America      village bank   

A Pro-Rural member refines wood.
A member of Pro-Rural, a Bolivian non-governmental organization and a new GP partner, refines wood. Learn more about them in our second quarter Investors Report: Photo c/o Pro-Rural.

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