"I present a model of financing social enterprises to delineate the role of impact investors relative to "pure" philanthropists. I characterize the optimal scale and structure of a social enterprise when financed by grants and when financed by investments. The analysis yields two heuristics to guide impact investors. First, investments allow a financier to discipline inefficient spending. Second, investments may enable a social enterprise to exploit new opportunities for profit and may increase the enterprise's scale relative to when grant financed. I quantify these heuristics for the case of Husk Power, a social enterprise that has received impact investment."
"Firm productivity is low in African countries, prompting governments to try a number of active policies to improve it. Yet despite the millions of dollars spent on these policies, we are far from a situation where we know whether many of them are yielding the desired payoffs. This paper establishes some basic facts about the number and heterogeneity of firms in different sub-Saharan African countries and discusses their implications for experimental and structural approaches towards trying to estimate firm policy impacts. It shows that the typical firm program such as a matching grant scheme or business training program involves only 100 to 300 firms, which are often very heterogeneous in terms of employment and sales levels. As a result, standard experimental designs will lack any power to detect reasonable sized treatment impacts, while structural models which assume common production technologies and few missing markets will be ill-suited to capture the key constraints firms face. Nevertheless, the author suggests a way forward which involves focusing on a more homogeneous sub-sample of firms and collecting a lot more data on them than is typically collected."
"Although early-stage finance is critical to the growth of most ventures, it is even more important for social ventures as they face the challenges of balancing their social and commercial objectives. Drawing on institutional logics and signaling theory, this study uses a panel data set of 3,401 nascent social ventures to investigate the important role philanthropic grant funding plays in the organizational and financial development of social ventures. We find mixed results, with positive effects on employment and subsequent access to debt finance, but no effects on revenues and access to equity. Our findings connect these theories by suggesting philanthropic grants provide social ventures with flexibility to invest in human capital without pushing them to pursue short-term financial objectives, and that receiving a philanthropic grant provides a signal that is interpreted differently by debt and equity financiers. These findings are especially relevant as funders increasingly use grants to support social entrepreneurship."
"This report is aimed specifically at helping social sector funders use their resources in the best possible way. It helps them understand if, when and how to use the different financial instruments available to support social entrepreneurs in the most efficient and effective way. It also helps clarify what hybrid finance is, and how it can be used to channel more resources towards social entrepreneurship, in a more effective manner, while highlighting some of the challenges this practice brings about."
"This report analyzes how twenty different donors and development finance institutions (DFIs) engage with the entrepreneurship and small & growing business (SGB) sector in emerging markets. The goal of this study is to provide an overview of the main channels through which these institutions provide funding to entrepreneurs and small and growing businesses in emerging markets, reveal key statistics around this funding (such as investment size and horizon), highlight trends to look out for over the course of the next few years, and discuss implications for how ANDE should engage with each institution moving forward."
"The purpose of the information presented in this report is to inventory different organizations in Nicaragua that could help build local capacity and catalyze and accelerate SME development and growth.
The report includes a contextual overview of Nicaragua, which helps to shed light on some of the challenges and opportunities for SME development and poverty alleviation. This information also puts into perspective some of the key sectors that have been the focus of capacity development organizations. The report also includes an overview of key donor activities, as they can often stimulate SME-related activities and also provide a sense of where large interventions in the SME landscape are occurring."
"In this report we share our views on the best way SF can help to achieve the SDGs by accelerating the growth of such markets. Where can we best deploy capital to maximise long-term value for the people we serve? What is the most cost-efficient way to achieve these charitable goals? How can we partner with like-minded organisations to unlock private capital to fund greater impact?"
"This primer is for philanthropists and social investors who want to learn more about the role of philanthropic capital in strengthening and growing enterprises. It serves as a "how-to" guide to social enterprise philanthropy by providing an overview of this sector and information about how philanthropists can most effectively work within it to achieve high social impact."
"While private sector engagement has long been a part of the global development lexicon, it is taking on new meaning today. Multinational and large national corporations actively shaped the SDGs and are contributing to global development in new and exciting ways. Meanwhile, social enterprises are becoming a critical part of the development ecosystem with their innovative approaches to global development challenges and new market-based solutions.
This special Devex report sheds a light on the relationship between social entrepreneurs and donors, and offers recommendations on what can be done to further strengthen those relationships."
"This report depicts the landscape of development organizations that fund and support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries: 1) multilateral development banks, 2) bilateral government donor agencies, and 3) development finance institutions (DFIs). The report is a new contribution to both the development community, as well as the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE). Advocacy and policy work is a strategic priority for ANDE, and the report's findings will enable the Network to understand the international development community and to be more strategic in its approach as it seeks to influence and shape the international development SME agenda."