PATHFINDER

PATHFINDER: Consulting for Sustainable Development

IndiaNepal
Year Founded:
2015
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We believe that in order to create lasting positive impact, we must engage a trilateral methodology that accounts for consulting with local social entrepreneurs, contributing to academia, and influencing policy. Each of these components is critical in achieving comprehensive change.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we could connect people with great ideas for change to people who want to help from around the world?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

We aim to address the International Development Industry's greatest challenges by: Enabling (not aid) promising local social entrepreneurs; Engaging sustainable & scalable operations; Documenting & sharing our results with peers & academics; Influencing policy through evidence and; Through our pilot projects we aim to: Increase the number of school children in Nepal and; Create jobs for rural women and promote sanitation in India.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We recognize solutions must counter critical global issues and connect the world’s resources to requirements. Our model aims to solve this challenge by bringing private finance and the benefits of business to enable local experts and social entrepreneurs who can subsequently help find answers to problems and stimulate local economies. We aim to ensure our experts in the field are fully enabled and subsequently successful. We believe our solutions are effective because we will employ, with each endeavor, a sustainable business model that will not only ensure the project meets its goals (whether it be the education of children, the generation of employment of women, promotion of sanitation, etc.), is also scalable and impactful.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

We provide a full service consultancy where we act as the 'middle women' between orgs and investors. This provides orgs the liberty to fully invest their time into their projects/campaigns/causes and provides investors with the confidence, industry know how and time invested into a cause/org. Regarding our projects, the impact of increasing accessible education for children in Nepal is limitless. Currently, education is only accessible to the rich. Through the education of Nepalese children we have the capacity to empower an entire generation. Regarding our project in India, the impact will be measured in the creation of jobs for rural women and promote sanitation through the use of our Eco-friendly soaps-2 of the countries top challenges.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We're working on raising seed capital (USD100,000) to deploy on our projects. As of now 50 school children have been fully sponsored in Nepal. We have detailed business plans and operational strategies for each project and are ready to get started as soon as we raise enough funds! However, the projected future impact, in tangible terms, translates to 1) the financial support of a minimum of 100 student’s education in Nepal. We are aiming to double (at a minimum) the number of students each semester to create long-term, sustainable impact. 2) The successful launch of the The Drunken Chemist (TDC) in India and the subsequent employment of at least 10 women (every 6 months) is also part of our projected future impact. Through the creation of jobs for local women in the Rajasthan region and the promotion of sanitation through eco-friendly products, we will generate immeasurable impact.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

1. Obtain seed capital $100K from competitions to deploy projects. 2. Approach investors; target Impact Investors 3. Establish lecturing engagements with academic institutes (our partners) for 2016 and programme involvement. 4. Execute projects: World Pathfinder Children’s Fund Nepal and The Drunken Chemist, India. 5. Documentation of results including photo essays, video logs, etc. 6. Develop volunteer/work-study programme and hire staff 7. R&D, documentation of industry best practices and publication, sharing with peers. 8. Agreements with new projects and continuation of operations.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

This is a for-profit social enterprise. The growth of the organization and all of its developmental activities are factored into the contracts engaged.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Pyxera Global: They're similar to us as they leverage institutions and individuals to enhance the abilities of people and communities to solve complex problems and attain mutually beneficial goals. Their team, like ours, is passionate and dedicated to finding solutions to the world’s greatest problems. However, a challenge they have is they tend to follow money ‘trends’ and establish contacts that way rather than, like us, exploring new and innovative opportunities. We believe we are quicker and more equipped to adapt and respond to the need for change in the international development sector.
Team

Founding Story

Shivani and Jess met in Mauritius in 2012, where Jess was working with the United Nations Development Programme and reporting to Shivani’s close friend, mentor, and then UN Resident Coordinator for Mauritius and Seychelles. Shivani was in town celebrating an especially significant birthday. The women quickly became friends, sharing not only chemistry but also similar passions and goals. They were both determined to fill the void in the international development sector that they had identified through their individual experiences. A few years later, Shivani left NYC, traveled, volunteered with MBAs Without Borders & the World Wildlife Fund, and then contacted Jess, ready to start PATHFINDER!

Team

Shivani and Jess co-founded this organization and manage all its aspects together. Both women work on a full-time basis (is there such a thing as more than full-time?!) Both partners have extensive experience in very different fields that they feel are necessary to run a successful social enterprise. Shivani’s experience on Wall Street, Business Management, and in the financial technology industry and Jess’ in the humanitarian, development, and policy field; together they complement each other well and create a strong and passionate team! Although both work on every aspect of the organization together, each holds specific responsibilities based on background. Shivani focuses on the business aspects, investments, funding, the business model, and Jess on the public relations and projects themselves.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Changemakers website

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Co-Founder, Managing Partner

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Gender Equality, Clean Water and Sanitation, Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

1) Straight out of college, I, Shivani, was an analyst on a trading floor. At the time the bank bought a business. Subsequently, I ended up designing the entire business, becoming the known expert and earning the respect of very senior people. Did so by learning from other experts, providing potential solutions when tensions were high and working in a team where I recognized the strength was the diversity of everyone involved.
2) As Executive Director of the OQLA, I, Jessica, led a team to the successful negotiation of English signage laws in Quebec. My leadership style is encouraging of creativity and I believe that team work is the key to a successful enterprise. I try to lead by example and encourage employees to use their strengths and allot tasks accordingly.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

While we are consulting with many experts in our own capacities, we have not officially enlisted anyone except our pilot projects:

Pilot Project 1: The World Pathfinder Children’s Fund in Nepal

Our first project is with The World Pathfinder Children’s Fund (name relation is just a coincidence!). Their mission is to give every child in Nepal access to education.
Their organization works like this: every child sponsored by the fund commits to sponsoring two more children from his or her village upon successful completion of school. Those two children then, upon completing their education, sponsor two more children of their own. And so on and so on.
We see great potential for this model and plan to scale it far beyond Nepal.

Pilot Project 2: Soap Making Sisters (The Drunken Chemists) In India

Two sisters, chemists by trade, hand-make ethically-developed, locally-sourced soaps. Our mission is to help this sustainable and socially responsible business become a thriving franchise in rural India, run entirely by women, who will also promote local sanitation.
This is another scalable model that holds promise beyond India.

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