Harvey Koh, Ashish Karamchandani, Robert Katz
There is growing interest in the role of market-based solutions in addressing the problems of poverty, through inclusive businesses that tap into the potential of the global poor as customers and suppliers—the so-called ‘fortune at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP).’ Encouraged by the growth of microfinance, many promising new models are emerging. This has elicited a rush to the new field of ‘impact investing’—producing social or environmental good as well as financial return—with hundreds of funds set up in just a few years and billions of dollars waiting to be invested.
|Photo credit: Acumen Fund
Zulfiqar Ali farms four acres in the village of Dabri, Punjab province, irrigated by MicroDrip irrigation kits.
But many investors report that they are struggling to find good opportunities in which to invest for impact. Why is that? Will impact investors really be able to take new models for inclusive business
all the way from idea to scale?
Meanwhile, philanthropic and aid funders are asking how they should engage with these market-based solutions. How should they harness the full potential of this early experimentation? If impact capital is the key to scaling these solutions, what then is the role of philanthropy?