Fairstreet

Social entrepreneurship & finance

Tag ‘ microfinance ’

Ciudad Saludable: The video report!

July 25, 2009 | Comments Off | Enterprises, Videos

Ciudad Saludable (healty City) is a NGO that develops micro-enterprises focusing on waste management in Lima. Founded by Albina Ruiz, Ciudad Saludable encourages and helps “recicladores” to organize themselves and create their micro-organisation. It has created 150 new jobs and Albina Ruiz pays a special attention to the self-estime and the dignity of the workers. Beside the trainings they give to the micro-entrepreneurs, Ciudad Saludable offers a technical and legal support and they developed an innovative microfinance system to finance the creation of micro-enterprises. After a successful experience in Peru, Albina is currently thinking how she could replicate her model in other countries such as India.

For more info, read Ciudad Saludable’s profile


Fair Street - Ciudad Saludable from Angalio Productions on Vimeo.

Our Peruvian report takes place in Lima where we met Albina Ruiz, founder and manager of Ciudad Saludable. Throughout our interview with Albina, we were really impressed by her enthusiasm and by her optimistic vision of the future. After this meeting, we have headed towards “El Pino”, one of Lima’s poorest neighbourhoods. There, we observed the work of the microentrepreneurs who drive all over the area with their tricycles to collect waste. The impact of Ciudad Saludable’s work is striking: despite the obvious poverty and the improvised buildings, we visited a clean neighbourhood dotted with green areas where it feels nice to move around.

Problematic and context:

Waste management is a major issue in Peru. The funding that the different governments allocate to this matter are insufficient and are mostly concentrated on the richest neighbourhoods. The demographic explosion in the main cities has also worsened the situation. The Peruvian households alone produce 20.000 tons waste daily. Among this waste, only 60% are collected and 35% treated appropriately. In the poorest areas where private associations do not intervene, some streets look like open sky dumps, the air is unbreathable, and the waste negatively impacts the hygiene and the health of the communities.

The inefficiency of the public services in the destitute areas is mainly caused by the lack of integration of the poorest populations within the legal system and the lack of political will to tackle the problem head on. Often without declared address and valid ID documents, the state does not have the opportunity to control the destitute citizens. Also, many politicians believe that the poor are not able to pay for a collection service. Once in a situation of free rider, the municipalities do not have enough means to cover all the areas and the waste excess start accumulating quickly in different places of the area.

The materials accumulated in these dumps represent a source of revenue for the poorest people. Improvising themselves “recicladores” go around these open sky dumps looking for plastic or paper that they can resell for a small amount of money (+/- $2 per day) to an intermediary who sells these materials to a recycling centre. These “recicladores” work in really bad conditions, without gloves, protection masks and working pants. Moreover, the “recicladores” are regularly persecuted by the local police who do not accept their activity. Finally, as they work alone during the night, the “recicladores” are often victim of the violence of the local gangs.

The initiative:

Ciudad Saludable (Healthy City) is an NGO which favours the development of microenteprises that collect and recycle waste in Peru. Ciudad Saludable regroups “recicladores” formally by organising them within microenterprises. Practically, Ciudad Saludable helps them in the legal work needed in the creation of a company, provides them a logistic support and enables them to finance the tools needed for their activity by giving them access to microcredit at very attractive conditions. This relatively simple model has revolutionised waste management in Peru and has improved the living conditions of millions of destitute people.

The organisation of the “recicladores” has several advantages: firstly, by regrouping the output of their daily labour, the “recicladores” together a larger amount of waste that they can directly sell to a recycling centre at a much better price, not using any intermediary. This quantity effect is enhanced by the Ciudad Saludable’s financial support that enables them to acquire tools increasing their productivity such as trucks, motorised tricycles.

Secondly, by providing appropriate equipment (helmet, gloves, working pants…) to its “recicladores”, Ciudad Saludable allows them to collect waste in better hygiene and safety conditions and in greater dignity. Ciudad Saludable gives a great importance to the self-esteem and the dignity of its workers. Therefore, they have to buy their own equipment through a system of microcredit developed in collaboration with Scotia Bank. In this context, they are not assisted but buy themselves the tools that will improve their condition.

On the field, the microenterprises collect the waste of the households that have accepted to subscribe to the services of Ciudad Saludable. The cost of the subscription is $1 per month. To encourage the people of the neighbourhood to contribute, Ciudad Saludale does a lot of sensibilisation stressing the interest of waste collection and the positive impact of a clean neighbourhood on children’s health. Ciudad Saludable also rewards the “good contributors” by creating green areas close to their houses. Today, the payment rate in the areas where Ciudad Saludable is working is over 60% and that rate is constantly increasing.

The creation and the assistance of micro-entreprises is Ciudad Saludable’s main program. However, Ciudad Saludable has other fields of activity: they offer consultancy services to different cities in Peru to help them improving their waste management. They have also created an innovative program enabling the production of gas using the excrements of pigs that feed themselves of organic waste.

Finally, Ciudad Saludable has developed a master in environmental management in collaboration with “l’Universidad Católica del Peru” in Lima. The goal of this master where Albina Ruiz and some of her collaborators teach different classes, is to generalise waste management solutions in Peru.

In the mid-term, Albina Ruiz’s objective is to replicate her model of micro-entreprises to all cities of Peru and to other countries in South-America. Deeply affected by a recent trip in India, Albina Ruiz also made a priority of adapting her model to that country.

The entrepreneur:

Albina Ruiz, the founder of Ciudad Saludable, grew in the Peruvian Jungle. Aged 18, she leaves to Lima where she is shocked by the amount of waste in the streets and by the air contamination. She quickly decides to fight this plague and launches several cleaning campaigns within her university.

Then, she will do her thesis on the management of micro-enterprises and the environmental management in the poor areas of Lima. This thesis will trigger a lot of interest among her teachers. This enthusiasm will encourage her to put her theories into practice and she decides shortly after to create Ciudad Saludable. Her model and her innovations have been awarded numerous times ; among others, Albina has been elected “Schwab Social Entrepreneur of the World Economic Forum”, she has received the “Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship” and she is an Ashoka fellow.

Social Impact:

The 13 micro-enterprises launched by Ciudad Saludable employ 150 people. Ciudad Saludable operates in 60 Peruvian municipalities, enabling the collection of 100% of the waste in the areas where it is active. By collecting waste and favouring the adoption of respectful behaviours, Ciudad Saludable’s different micro-enterprises have improved the living conditions of 4 million people.

Ciudad Saludable’s work has also had a huge influence on the Peruvian government. Recently, the company has been an important actor in the creation of the first General Law on solid waste in Peru.

Finally, through its master in environmental management, Ciudad Saludable has enabled more than 5,000 students to master in the field. Today, all these students have the skills to be the actors of the environmental change initiated by Albina Ruiz.

Financial impact:

The micro-enterprises are managed by destitute people living in the neighbourhoods where they operate. These people generally do not have access to the loans of “classic” banks and find it therefore very difficult to finance the purchase of additional material. To tackle this problem, Ciudad Saludable has developed a microcredit program with the Canadian Bank Scotia Bank. As Albina found the normal interest rates proposed by the microcredit institutions way to high, (between 30 and 40% annually) Albina created a special fund that Ciudad Saludable guarantees with a deposit of $30,000 at the Scotia Bank. With the guarantee to be reimbursed and not having to deal with the follow up of the loans, Scotia Bank offers credit at a much lower annual interest rate (12%).

In 2006, Ciudad Saludable has obtained a $615,000 grant from the Skoll Foundation after having received the “Skoll Award For Social Entrepreneurship” awarding the quality of the innovations. This grant enabled Ciudad Saludable to gain scale, to improve the quality of its support to the micro-enterprises and to accelerate the expansion process to other countries of South America.

Ciudad Saludable, by developing innovative solutions, has met the challenge to create “healthy cities”. Now surrounded by a skilled and optimist management team, Albina Ruiz wishes to extend her model to all the Peruvian cities and to export it abroad.

Fair Street and microfinance

July 14, 2009 | Comments Off | FairExchange

Fair Street’s objective being to put forward an ethical and responsible finance, our interest in microfinance is obvious as it is one of the financial activities that has contributed the most to reduce poverty during the last three decades. Reduced to its simplest, microfinance is “the access to capital for the most vulnerable communities”. Today, close to 10,000 microcredit institutions serve 130m people with liabilities of €30 billions. With a potential market constituted by the 4 billions individuals that live with less than €3 per day, the growth potential is important.

By attributing microloans to entrepreneurs who cannot have access to the classic financial institutions, microfinance enables the realisation of microprojects which favours the economic activity and wealth creation in the developing countries. Based on simple, efficient and responsible principles, the microcredit activity is considered as one of the main driver of these countries’ economy.

Depending on the structure, the working method and the geographical area the size of the microcredits fluctuate between €100 and €2,000. Today, the MFIs activity does not only consists in providing credit but includes different financial services such as savings, micro-insurance and even credit cards; this is why the term microcredit has evolved towards to microfinance.

As financial actors contributing to the economic and social development of the most destitute populations, microfinance institutions are good examples of the message Fair Street wants to promote. In the frame of Fair Street, the case of microfinance will be studied under two perspectives:

- Firstly as a field of social entrepreneurship. The most famous social entrepreneur is without a doubt the Nobel Price winner Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank, who by creating the first microcredit institution has been able to balance economic and social interests. The success of his model has encouraged other people to replicate it throughout the world. Fair Street has visited a Bolivian microfinance institution that will be the subject of the next video report.

- Secondly, microfinance and social entrepreneurship are two activities that are increasingly converging. Several social entrepreneurs collaborate with MFIs to extend the social impact of their innovations. This collaboration can take different forms. Some social entrepreneurs work with microfinance institutions to take advantage of their distribution network. It is for example the case of Sobre La Roca which sells a part of his solar cookers through a microfinance institution. This institution provides loans to the rural populations in Bolivia to help them financing the purchase of the solar cooker. Microfinance can also be at the origin of a micro-franchise system by financing several micro enterprises (franchisees) whose activities are centralised by a “mother” organisation. Other forms of collaboration exist and this is why many actors see a strong potential in this association.

With the apparition of new approaches and the diversification of activities, microfinance, as any activity growing sharply, is facing different challenges. The most important one being to avoid excessive debt within the populations it addresses. If in the case of Sobre La Roca the grant of consumption credits has a positive effect, an excessive debt erases all the advantages of the social and economic progress initiated by microfinance. It is therefore essential that microfinance institutions stick to their main mission that is providing loans to income generating activities.

In this framework, MFIs in collaboration with governments and regulatory bodies work towards the elaboration of good and bad governance practices. For example, several countries have already put in place national credit offices with mission to monitor the debt level of the MFIs clients.

These different questions and the initiatives they trigger go hand in hand with the evolution of microfinance and are part of a healthy process of maturation. Microfinance is an extraordinary financial tool that supports the economic development of many people in developing countries. By offering millions of entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop a professional activity, it constitutes a strong lever for their empowerment and their integration in the economic life. Consequently, the reflexions aimed to determine better practices are vital.

Sources:

www.lamicrofinance.org

www.blueorchard.com

Blue Orchard is the main commercial investor in the microfinance sector. Created in 2001 and headquartered in Geneva, Blue Orchard supported in the year 2008 more than 140 institutions in 40 countries .

Blue Orchard’s mission is to empower the poor world-wide and improve their quality of life by promoting income-generating activities through private investments in microfinance.

Practically, Blue Orchard creates a bridge between the international financial markets and the microfinance institutions (MFI) by investing in them through debt or capital.

Using innovative placement solutions and innovative financial tools, Blue Orchard favours the flow between the private capital markets and microfinance institutions. This enables Blue Orchard to generate an attractive return on investment while supporting the growth of millions of microenterprises. 53% of Blue Orchard’s clients are women and receive microloans oscillating between $50 and $8000.

Blue Orchard considers its investments in the MFIs as long-term partnerships and wants to be present at all their development stages. During our visit at CRECER, we observed that microfinance institutions strongly appreciate this approach as their capital needs vary along their evolution.

In order to be able to inject more capital within the microfinance sector, Blue Orchard launched its own private equity fund in 2007. On December 31st 2008, this fund managed $130m originating at 80% from institutional investors and at 20% from private investors. The fund’s results have been excellent up to now. This trend should maintain and enable Blue Orchard to remaining the reference institution supporting MFIs financially.

For more info, visit www.blueorchard.com

blueorchard

Alterfin: Invest in a better world

July 11, 2009 | Comments Off | Financial Agents

One of the main challenges of the microfinance institution CRECER is to have enough capital to answer the growing demand for micro-loans while preserving its solidity. To face this challenge, CRECER needs the support of external investors such as Alterfin that provides it with financial backup. The impact of such external investors is huge as each capital contribution of $500,000 allows CRECER to provide credit to 1,200 additional people.

Alterfin is a Belgian Social Investment Fund based in Brussels. Its aim is to reinforce the North-South cooperation by investing in microfinance institutions and fair trade producers in the developing countries. With its investments, Alterfin wants to contribute to the construction of a financial network that is accessible for the most destitute.

Alterfin does not provide grants but invests. Through this market based financing strategy, Alterfin is able to raise more capital while reducing the dependency that charity involves.

Alterfin raises funds in the Western countries by emitting stocks for private investors. The stock capital constitutes the financial base that Alterfin uses for its investments. At the end of 2008, Altefin’s stock capital was worth €8.8m and had been brought by more than 1,200 shareholders.

In addition to its own capital, Alterfin manages a portfolio of €18m that belongs to the Swiss investment fund responsAbility. Alterfin also collaborates with the sustainable Bank Triodos which makes credit lines available for Alterfin thanks to the savings generated by its accounts.

Altefin mostly invests through credit (94%) with the rest of the capital being invested in participations or warranties. The size of the credits varies between $30.000 and $600.000 for a maximum period of 5 years and at an annual interest rate that fluctuates between 6 and 10%. The projects that Alterfin finances must have a positive social and economical impact on the local communities while being financially sustainable.

After more than 15 years of experience, Alterfin manages today a total portfolio of more than €25m supporting more than 60 initiatives that have an impact on more than 50.000 families. In 2008, Alterfin has met a 17% growth in capital.

For further information, visit www.alterfin.be

alterfin

CRECER: The video report!

July 11, 2009 | Comments Off | Enterprises, Videos

CRECER (Credito Con Educacion Rural) is a microfinance institution based in La Paz, Bolivia that focuses its activities on the development of rural communities in Bolivia. Using the “Village Banking” model, CRECER offers financial services combined with education programs to the most destitute Bolivian women. Changing the lives of more than 97,000 families, CRECER aims to build a financial network that the people at the base of the pyramid can access.

For more info, read the CRECER profile

Fair Street - Crecer from Angalio Productions on Vimeo.

Our sixth company visit takes place in La Paz, Bolivia where we have been warmly welcomed by the staff of CRECER, a microfinance institution. After a very interesting interview with CRECER’s management team, we went to “El Alto”, the poorest neighbourhood of La Paz, to meet microentrepreneurs and observe CRECER’s work on the field.

Problematic and context:

Providing access to capital to the people at the base of the pyramid is a key element to help them in getting out of poverty. Whereas the majority of the most destitute depends on loan-sharks that charge interest rates close to 10% per month, an access to credit at decent interest rates is a first step in their economic development.

Before the invention of microcredit at the end of the 70’s, the poorest populations in the developing countries could not have access to traditional credit as they could not comply with the lending conditions of the traditional financial institutions (proper ID, warranty, minimal deposit…). In addition, their financial needs were too limited to cover the cost of a classic financial operation and therefore did not appear as an attractive segment. Nevertheless, in most cases, these people owned small income generating activities but could not expand them as they lacked access to capital. In Bolivia, where 60% of the population lives under the poverty line, it meant that more than half the country could not develop an economic activity.

The apparition of microcredit allowed poor families to obtain small credits. Whereas traditional banks had always considered the poorest as insolvent, the reimbursement rate went over 95%. As a profitable industry generating a positive social impact, microcredit has met a skyrocketing growth in the last decades. From microcredit, it has enlarged to microfinance and now offers the marginalised populations a range of diversified financial services (credit, savings, insurance…)

Microfinance mainly targets women for two main reasons. Firstly, it has been proved that the impact of microfinance on the whole family is stronger when the loan is given to the woman. Secondly, as we already mentioned it in our reporting on Coronilla, women discrimination is a widespread phenomenon in Bolivia. They are still the target of domestic violence and do not enjoy the same level of recognition than the men. If it is encouraging to see that this situation has significantly improved in the last years, a lot still needs to be done.

The company:

CRECER (Credito Con Education Rural) is a microfinance institution that focuses its activities on the development of rural communities of Bolivia. Today, the company has more than 90.000 clients in the different Bolivian departments.

CRECER uses the “Village Banking” model. Concretely, CRECER works with “bancos communales” (village banks) constituted of groups of 8 to 30 women. CRECER’s credits to these “banco communales” can reach $800 but generally are around $300-$400. The members of the group self-manage the credits they receive and split the credit among themselves in function of their needs. However, whereas the women split the loan among themselves, the group shares the responsibility as a whole.

In addition to its banking operations, the innovation that makes CRECER special (even if it is not the only MFI to function this way) is that its financial services go hand in hand with an education program. All the women that receive CRECER’s loans have to attend training sessions that are aimed to enable them to better manage their microenteprise but also to deal better with other aspects of their daily lives such as health, children education, women rights…

This combination of financial and educational services is at the heart of CRECER’s model. People at CRECER are convinced that the association of these two activities is the best way to reach a sustainable rural development. In addition, with regards to their pure financial performance, they are convinced that the education program has a positive influence on the reimbursement rate.

Within its financial services, CRECER has recently started to offer individual credits and micro insurances. Up to now, these products have met great success. CRECER also gives a strong importance to the savings services; the members of the “bancos communales” must indeed save a part of the revenues they generate so as to have saved 20 to 50% of their initial credit at the end of the credit cycle. This obligation has two objectives: on the one hand, it constitutes an additional insurance for CRECER to be reimbursed and on the other hand, it teaches women how to better manage their patrimony.

Social Impact:

CRECER, by providing capital to more than 97.000 families has a positive impact in different ways.

Firstly, by offering credit and insurance services, CRECER enables the most destitute to be less vulnerable to external shocks. These populations are indeed particularly sensitive to events such as an illness, robbery, earthquake… as they have huge consequences on the families and their limited financial resources. Without efficient financial services, these families are brought down to a level of poverty from which they can take years to recover. In this case, CRECER’ services represent a safety net for these families that helps them in facing bad times with more serenity.

Secondly, by allowing thousands of women to become economic actors, Crecer enables them to empower, to affirm themselves and to increase their influence within society.

By providing credit, CRECER helps the poorest in developing their activity and therefore increasing the revenues they get out of it. This has a positive effect on food security, education, health and increases the probability that they can get out of poverty.

Through its association of financial and education services, CRECER increases the knowledge of many women in Bolivia which has a positive effect on the way they manage their household and educate their children. The trainings on savings combined with the obligation to save at least 20% of the amount they borrowed makes women aware of this matter and forces them to manage their budget on a conservative way.

Finally, at the macro level, CRECER’s actions also stimulate job creation and the integration of new actors into the economic system.

Financial impact:

As the majority of the MFIs, CRECER benefits from the support of several financial actors. Generally, these financial institutions are actors from the “North” that want to finance MFIs from the “South”. The close to perfect reimbursement rate and the professional management of MFIs are attractive arguments for investors. In addition, the reduced amount of intermediaries enables to generate a direct impact on the living conditions of the people at the BoP.

CRECER is supported by different Investment Funds (Oikocredit, Incofin, Alterfin, Blue Orchard,). In this case, Fair Street focused on the financial support it received from Alterfin a Belgian organisation and Blue Orchard, a Swiss organisation. As the demand for microloans is huge and the need for development urging in Bolivia, the support of such institutions enables CRECER to grow rapidly and serve a higher amount of clients while not endangering its solidity. Within CRECER, the impact is of such external investors is considerable as each $500,000 loan enables them to reach 1.200 additional families.

Alterfin is a Belgian Social Investment Fund that mainly invests in MFIs and cooperatives. Alterfin has provided two credits to CRECER at the LIBOR rate +3%: one of $600.000 and another of $700.000. Alterfin was one of the first organisations to support CRECER.

Blue Orchard is the largest financing institution for MFIs worldwide. It is based in Geneva, Switzerland and has recently invested in CRECER through a $2m loan (biggest loan CRECER has ever received). This loan has a 3 years period. Given the size of Blue Orchard and the size of its loans, CRECER hopes this collaboration will last long in the future.

Throughout the years, CRECER achieved to position itself as a solid and professional institution. As it received an A- rating and different awards for its strong social impact, it represents a very attractive target for the funds mentioned here above. CRECER will soon expand its offer to credit cards and savings management to build a financial network that is even more accessible for the socially and economically destitute people.

ETV: The video report!

May 21, 2009 | Comments Off | Enterprises, Videos

ETV: Water at the source of social change; the video of our second report…

Fair Street - ETV from Angalio Productions on Vimeo.

The second report takes place at Bariloche, in Northern Patagonia. After a meeting in Buenos Aires with the manager of Ashoka, a network that supports social entrepreneurs, we decide to change our itinerary and make a “small” 2000 km detour to Bariloche.

Problems:

Water: Water is a crucial concern, at the very heart of the environmental challenge confronting humanity. Management, supply and diminishing resources are all issues on which much progress still needs to be made. Water quality has a huge impact on the living conditions of the poorest populations. Better water quality improves both the food supply and the hygiene of those “at the Base of the Pyramid”. With improved hygiene they are better prepared to confront the challenges of their everyday life and they can shift their efforts from fighting for survival to their personal development.

Education : In developing countries, there are currently 75 million children who do not attend school, and 861 million illiterate adults. Access to education is universally recognized as a key factor for economic and social development. Education develops knowledge, and gives access to employment: by learning concepts and techniques, marginalized communities can benefit from growth and improve their situation. They are then able to take personal responsibility for themselves and for their families. In developing each individual’s potential,  Education makes a real difference to the dignity of the human condition. “To ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling” is one of the objectives of the United Nations’ program to eliminate poverty by 2015.

Context

Despite its status as an emerging country, Argentina is a country where poverty is still prevalent, be it in big cities like Buenos Aires or in far-off regions such as Bariloche. The economic crisis that hit the country at the start of the decade had a profoundly detrimental effect on the country’s economic and social situation (between 1998 and 2001, the GDP fell from 300 to 220 billion pesos!), and its consequences remain highly tangible today. In Argentina, over half the population lives below the poverty line, and one in five is in a state of complete destitution, with revenues insufficient to provide even the necessary minimum to maintain physical capacity. This situation is mainly the consequence of a high unemployment rate: in the region of Bariloche, a quarter of the active population is unemployed, and this figure reaches 75% in the most remote areas.

The direct consequence of this poverty is the marginalization and social exclusion of a substantial proportion of the population. People live in precarious conditions which are often difficult to escape.

The company:

ETV (Emprendimientos de Tecnologias para la Vida) was founded in 2006 and aims at developing, building and distributing technological solutions to improve the living conditions of the people at the base of the social pyramid. Currently, the main product developed by ETV is the Bomba de Soga, which pumps water. ETV’s objectives are threefold: to harness the potential of technological innovations for the poorest communities; to provide work to young people from the Fondation Gente Nueva; and finally, to use some of the revenues generated by the sales of their products to fund the foundation. However, at this stage, the profits generated do not yet allow significant progress towards the achievement this third objective.

Created 25 years ago, the Fondation Gente Nueva aims to promote education and access to employment to those excluded from the traditional educational system. Helped by a network of primary and secondary schools, and the development of workshops and regional education programs, Gente Nueva wants to give each individual a chance to realize his or her potential. The schools of the Gente Nueva network are free, and the salaries of teachers, who are selected by members of the foundation, are paid by the State.

ETV products are made in the workshops of Gente Nueva, which employs a workforce of young apprentices.

The entrepreneur:

Gustavo Gennuso is originally from Buenos Aires, but he has been living in Barichole for the last 30 years. He moved there when he started studying nuclear energy at the Balseiro Institute. He continued to work in this field until 2000, whilst developing his social innovations. After creating the Fondation Gente Nueva, Gustavo now wants to prove with ETV that a viable and lasting social impact is possible. Gustavo Gennuso’s ambition is to achieve profound social change. He wants to give the poorest members of society every opportunity to develop. By accomplishing social change, he wishes to transform not only the lives of the poor, but also society as a whole.

Social impact:

ETV aims at making significant improvements to the living conditions of the poorest people. Technology development is but a means to this end. The company’s social impact is threefold: first, it improves the living conditions of those at the Base of the Pyramid; second, it creates opportunities for those suffering from exclusion; and thirdly, it finances the Fondation Gente Nueva. In three years of existence, ETV has already succeeded in reaching out to 300 families. The long-term objective is to have a direct impact on the lives of 150 000 people.

Since its creation, the Fondation Gente Nueva has welcomed over 5000 young people into its classes. It has also trained  another 3000 young people through its regional education programs. Gustavo Gennuso’s initiatives have also had an influence on political decisions relating to education in the regions where he is active.

Financial impact:

In this case, the financial impact lies more in the role played by microfinance in extending the company’s social impact than in direct financing.

Microfinance : Micro-credit is an innovation that has allowed millions of people to extract themselves from poverty. If access to capital can allow poor people to create a micro-enterprise, why should it not also allow them to buy products that will significantly improve their living conditions? Such is ETV’s strategy. It is true that the targets of Gustavo’s social business can often not afford to buy his products. The “Bomba de Soga” costs 700 pesos (+/- €140). People who earn an average of €2 per day can hardly hope to find such an amount. So, in order to extend its social impact, ETV uses the micro-credit formula to make its products more accessible. Thus, ETV’s clients fund the purchase of a water pump with a micro-credit. This support from microfinance has a twofold impact: it extends ETV’s social impact, but it also increases the future benefits of the company — and, therefore, the financial resources available to Gente Nueva, who can in turn accelerate social change through increased access to education. As micro-credit is not one of ETV’s activities, they collaborate with different MFIs (Microfinance institutions) and NGOs from the regions where they are active (mainly Northern Patagonia and the Jujuy province). This collaboration with the microfinance sector is the only way to reach the targeted 150 000 people.

Financing: In parallel with its social vocation, ETV also aims to provide financial resources for the Fondation Gente Nueva. This type of model is fairly widespread among social enterprise initiatives: in order to avoid being dependent on donations, “business” solutions are preferred and “social businesses” are created with the aim of financing the non-profit side of their activity. The remainder of the profits are reinvested in the company in order to finance research for other new technologies.

ETV and Gente Nueva have received a financial contribution from the organization Ashoka — which we will present later — of which Gustavo is a member. The company also benefited from various funds, essentially from philanthropic investors, in particular a Swiss “business angel” who has provided a credit on very favorable terms (but about which we have not received any other details). Today, ETV is seeking financial backing amounting to $74 000 (€54 833) in order to finance investments necessary for them to achieve the objectives of their business plan — specifically, for the launch of new technologies.

The strength of Gustavo’s model resides in its capacity to tackle different problems simultaneously. The all-embracing nature of his organization is striking! His model features three essential elements in the fight against poverty: education, access to capital, and healthcare. By creating synergies between different organizations, he can considerably extend his social impact, and this allows him to implement lasting change.

Sources : Interview with Gustavo Gennuso, founder of ETV and of Fondation Gente Nueva

www.unesco.org

www.oms.org

www.schwabfound.org

www.changemakers.net