lives touched by impact investing partners
Where traditional philanthropic and market solutions have fallen short, social-first impact investors step in. Unlike investors that focus first on financial returns, this group has a high tolerance for risk and a long time horizon. They support innovative enterprises that serve the world’s poor with business models that can ultimately become commercially viable and self-sustaining. Bain helps them set a bold ambition for growth and systemic impact, and develop a clear roadmap for getting there. (Read about our approach in this Forbes interview with Willy Foote, CEO of Root Capital, an enduring client.)
Acumen pioneered the use of “patient capital” to invest in innovative companies whose products and services enable the poor to transform their lives. Founded in 2001, Acumen has invested in more than 115 companies across Africa, Latin America, South Asia and the United States. These investments have touched the lives of more than 260 million of the world’s poor—providing clean drinking water and sanitation solutions to more than 6 million people, supplying affordable clean energy to more than 115 million people, and much more. Since 2012, Bain has donated more than 52,000 hours of consulting time to Acumen globally, working on nearly a dozen distinct projects, helping focus the organization’s investing strategy and align its operating model to deliver greater impact as well as collaborating on research papers. In turn, Bain consultants who’ve done externships at Acumen and its investees return as “better leaders,” says CEO Jacqueline Novogratz.
Partner since 2012
Over 52,000 hours on projects globally
Accion is a global nonprofit committed to creating a financially inclusive world, with a pioneering legacy in microfinance and fintech impact investing. Bain collaborated with Accion to develop a five-year strategy to dramatically lower the cost and improve the quality of financial services for the world’s three billion financially underserved people by building innovative and scalable demonstration models and catalyzing the financial inclusion industry. Bain also worked with Accion Venture Lab to develop its portfolio engagement strategy to help inclusive fintech start-ups overcome core entrepreneurial challenges such as customer acquisition and segmentation and expansion planning. In the US, which has a $130 billion financing gap, Bain recently helped Accion develop a plan to scale its lending portfolio to meet widespread demand for inclusive financing over the next five years.
Small businesses need a support system to become big businesses. A strong entrepreneurial ecosystem fosters innovation and growth, and businesses that are part of one have a much higher chance of success. There is groundbreaking evidence that the most vibrant entrepreneurship develops when high-impact entrepreneurs operate in tight-knit networks, nurturing fellow risk-takers and trading know-how, capital and tough love. This is as true in some of the harshest global terrain for innovation as it is in Silicon Valley.
Endeavor is a leader in the global high-impact entrepreneurship movement. Over the last two decades, it has helped promising entrepreneurs scale by facilitating access to mentorship, networks, talent and capital. Once successful, those companies then “pay it forward,” inspiring, mentoring and investing in the next generation of entrepreneurs, the multiplier effect at the heart of building entrepreneurial ecosystems. Now operating in 34 markets around the world, Endeavor has supported more than 1,800 entrepreneurs leading 1,100 companies that have collectively created 3 million jobs. Since 2011, Bain has donated 75,000 hours of consulting time on 30 distinct cases in 13 countries, helping Endeavor define its growth strategy and develop a repeatable model covering all aspects of operations from entrepreneur selection to post-selection services. In addition, dozens of externs have supported local affiliates and entrepreneurs, and senior partners serve as mentors and panelists at the International Selection Panels of entrepreneurs.
Partner since 2011
30 projects in 13 countries
Around the world, 2.5 billion people living on less than $4 a day depend on agriculture for their livelihood. In sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, agriculture is dominated by smallholder farmers who own 0.5 to 2 hectares of land. More often than not, these farmers lack affordable access to yield-enhancing inputs such as seed and fertilizer, technical assistance, financing and markets. Bain strengthens organizations that help improve smallholder farmer productivity and livelihoods.
Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency
In Ethiopia, agriculture accounts for 34% of GDP and 71% of employment, including 12 million smallholder farmers, and the sector’s strong performance has been key to the country’s economic growth over the past decade. Ethiopia’s Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), an innovative government organization dedicated to accelerating the transformation of Ethiopia’s agriculture sector, recently partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to launch an agribusiness accelerator; Bain was brought in to help with the design of the strategy and operating model. Together we developed an ambitious vision for the Ethiopia Agribusiness Accelerator Platform (EAAP), a demand-driven platform catalyzing the growth of specific value chains in which Ethiopia can become globally or regionally competitive, while improving smallholder farmer incomes. Early results of its pilot program with honey are promising—the platform currently supports seven companies, including the country’s largest honey exporter.
Partners in Food Solutions
In Africa, agriculture accounts for 60% of jobs and 25% of GDP; yet the continent imports $35 billion a year in food and, unlike developed markets, adds relatively little value in local processing. Partners in Food Solutions (PFS) is helping to build Africa’s local food processing sector by transferring technical and business expertise from employee volunteers of six leading global companies—General Mills, Cargill, Bühler, DSM, Ardent Mills and Hershey—to promising local entrepreneurs. Bain helped PFS develop a three-year roadmap and operating plan that will quadruple the number of high-potential food companies it supports, so that they can integrate more smallholder farmers into supply chains and provide greater access to safe and nutritious food. For more, please watch this PBS interview with Jeff Dykstra, cofounder and CEO of PFS.
Founded 50 years ago and now operating in 29 countries, TechnoServe harnesses the power of private enterprise to help people lift themselves out of poverty. From strengthening coffee cooperatives of East Africa to revitalizing Mozambique’s cashew processing sector, TechnoServe links people to information, capital and markets, helping millions create lasting prosperity for their families and communities. Bain has collaborated with TechnoServe to strengthen the focus and impact of its project portfolio, and make its operating model more effective and sustainable.
Amigos do Bem
When Bain began working with Amigos do Bem (AdB), the NGO was searching for a way to grow revenue, improve its margins and create jobs in the drought-plagued and impoverished northeast of Brazil. After a portfolio review, Bain recommended expanding its investment in the cashew, which is native to the area and is processed in part using semi-manual methods. Following Bain’s five-year strategic plan including new approaches to marketing, retail and operations, the project will significantly increase employment and improve the quality of life for thousands more.
Today 68.5 million people have been forcibly displaced, nearly four times the number 10 years ago and the highest on record. Resettling and integrating them requires mobilizing unprecedented levels of human and financial resources, and the demands on organizations that support refugees and families in crisis have never been higher. We partner with groups rising to this monumental challenge with initiatives that help people recover and rebuild their lives.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) leads the world’s response to the rising refugee crisis. Serving tens of millions of people, it is by far the largest organization in the world dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. Faced with unprecedented need for its work at a time when local governments are cutting funding, UNHCR, with Bain’s help, will better engage with the private sector, both as a source of funding and for other kinds of support that facilitate refugee resettlement and integration.
Made51 is a UNHCR platform that helps refugee artisans sell their creations online. Bain helped define their three-year strategy, including priority growth opportunities, intended impact and plan of action. They are now working on full-scale implementation aiming to provide 300,000 refugees worldwide with the opportunity to earn a fair wage from their heritage and skills.
Medair is a Christian faith-based NGO working with refugees and families in severe crisis because of conflict, drought or natural disaster. In 2017, Medair secured access to clean drinking water for more than half a million people, provided shelter for more than 200,000, and treated approximately 75,000 patients suffering from malnutrition. Bain worked with their staff in Switzerland to better focus their fund-raising activities, including reducing churn and growing donations from existing donors, adopting a more structured approach to working with foundations, and building a network of supporters.