InVenture Fund

InVenture Fund

Mali
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

InVenture is a micro venture capital fund that empowers businesses to lift their communities out of poverty. InVenture connects developing businesses with the capital & training they to need to grow risk-free. Once these business begin turning a profit, a portion of that profit is reinvested into communities, into social initiatives aimed at solving the root causes of global poverty.

About You
Organization:
Project Muso Ladamunen
Visit website
Section 1: About You
First Name

Shivani

Last Name

Siroya

Country

, CA

Section 2: About Your Organization
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

Yes

Organization Name

Project Muso Ladamunen

Organization Phone

202.657.6876

Organization Address

Project Muso Ladamunen 1380 Monroe Street, NW Box 309 Washington DC 20010

Organization Country

, CD

How long has this organization been operating?

1‐5 years

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, CD

Innovation
What makes your idea unique?

In the InVenture model, micro venture capital and community reinvestment meet to solve the root causes of global poverty. We work across sectors and partners to ensure a holistic approach to community development. Our capital-based model frees entrepreneurs from the cycles of debt and high interest that often accompany microloans, thus enabling them to grow and uplift their own communities. Even more significant, though, is InVenture's commitment to social reinvestment; under the current model, businesses are required to reinvest a portion of profits in local social initiatives such as clean water, education, or public health. This integrated approach thus ensures ground-up community development and empowers businesses to enact their own lasting change.

Finally, InVenture is the first micro venture capital fund to work in both the U.S. and developing countries as well as the first to raise capital via online social networking. We enable a new class of investors to put their money to work to change the world.

Do you have a patent for this idea?

Impact
Tell us about the social impact of your innovation. Please include both numbers and stories as evidence of this impact

InVenture Fund is currently working to measure the impact of our first three pilot funds, with partners Green Microfinance in Chennai, India; Key Credit Microfinance in Accra, Ghana; and Project Muso Ladamunen in Bamako, Mali. InVenture's long-term, debt-free capital investments have enabled entrepreneurs in each of these communities to grow their businesses without worry of risk or cycles of high interest payments. InVenture has also freed them to choose their own impact—in other words, the social initiative in which they'll reinvest a portion of profits. In Mali, InVenture has invested in a women's business cooperative that creates textiles from Bogolan cloth. InVenture Fund invested into the women's cooperative rather than issuing a loan to the women, which allowed them to produce more products and concentrate on expansion. InVenture Fund also found a new market for these products, so the cooperative was able to generate more profits. The cooperative, in turn, now has more money to invest back into their own business and is also reinvesting 5% of profits in a community health clinic. In the two months since the pilot has launched, the 30-women-owned cooperative has funded health care services for five members of the community for an entire year—all with just 5% off profits, or approximately 45 USD. That the women now have money to put back into their business—allowing them to move towards sustainability—and have been able to make a measurable impact on their community is proof that our model works.

Problem: Describe the primary problem(s) that your innovation is addressing

InVenture Fund was founded in October 2009 with the belief that traditional microfinance models weren't doing enough to lift communities out of poverty. There are currently more than 75 million micro-borrowers worldwide, all living day to day on short-term loans with an average interest rate of 30%. Within this market, there are thousands of businesses with the potential to grow and thus help change their communities, but there are not many organizations serving this "missing middle". While numerous microfinance organizations, non-profits giving aid, and even large social venture firms are helping different and often isolated sides of the problem, there are few, if any, that address business growth and finance holistically and in collaboration with development efforts. InVenture specifically meets the needs of business owners who have surpassed microfinance and are now in need of something larger but still cannot access traditional bank loans. InVenture helps them bridge this gap and gives them the opportunity and ability to become leaders of their communities in the process.

Actions: Describe the steps that you are taking to make your innovation a success. What might prevent that success?

We have already established three pilot programs in Ghana, Mali and India. While all businesses and investments come with some risk, InVenture minimizes the risk by providing training and resources (in collaboration with our partnering NGOs) and closely tracking the businesses throughout the investment cycle. We develop Still, we work in sometimes unstable regions, and businesses can fail due to circumstances beyond their control. A second risk to consider is the longevity of our social reinvestment requirement. While we hope to create a culture of philanthropy or community citizenship among our entrepreneurs, we have know way of knowing whether they will continue to reinvest in their communities once they no longer need InVenture's investment help. We offset this risk by clustering our funds in specific regions rather than scattering them haphazardly throughout developing countries; this strategy enables us to build long-term relationships with each region and encourage the kind of grassroots philanthropy and development that is capable of building lasting change.

Results: Describe the expected results of these actions over the next three years. Please address each year separately, if possible

In the coming year we will continue to expand in our current countries (Ghana, Mali and India) and will be investing in 100 additional businesses. We will also begin new new operations in Mexico and New Orleans (in the U.S.) where we will begin investing in six businesses. By helping small to medium business owners in the United States as well as developing countries, InVenture can show that our model will work for for the developed and developing alike due to its emphasis on risk-free business growth and social reinvestment.

We also hope to continue to expand the educational and training component of our current investment program in order to ensure that our entrepreneurs are fully supported and are empowered to become the next generation of leaders for their communities. During our first year we will continue to develop our online platform to ensure complete tracking and transparency of the investor accounts so that we can show our impact and metrics on the ground. Lastly we will begin our InVenture fellows program in order to have proper data tracking and program evaluation happening on the ground.

In our second year, we will continue to focus on expansion within our five countries, and will focus more ensuring sustainability of our programs so that we can operate independent of outside funding and will look to ensure that all of our regions are self-sustaining. Again, we will focus on InVenture's operation structure and also continue to hone our online presence to bring a higher volume of investors to our platform. We will also work to create a fellowship-in-residence program where we can have visiting graduate students or professionals help us in new innovations or specialized models. Lastly, in our second year, we hope to invest in 1000 business owners in our five countries and begin operations in Pakistan and another US state.

In our third year, we will be financially sustainable and will be looking expand to large markets as well. Instead of our original investment range of only $1,000-15,000, we will look to larger investment amounts and will look to help start-up business owners as well—but only if they meet our criteria and assumptions and are willing to reinvest back into their communities. Lastly, we will continuously work on new innovations and further develop the support network for our business owners so that they can interact and support one another through our online platform.

How many people will your project serve annually?

101‐1000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

Less than $50

Does your innovation seek to have an impact on public policy?

Yes

If your innovation seeks to impact public policy, how?

Our model encourages grassroots community development, which we believe to be more sustainable in the long term, rather than top-down or external efforts. We also hope to continue to highlight the missing middle and its significance and potential for changing communities. If governments were to fund small-medium size business growth, these businesses could all be required to reinvest back into their communities, which would recycle the money back to the beginning. While microcredit continues to be an important source of coping, we hope that our model proves the viability of medium-sized business growth and encourages policymakers to address this need.

Sustainability
What stage is your project in?

Operating for less than a year

Does your organization have a board of directors or an advisory board?

Yes

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with NGOs?

Yes

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with businesses?

Yes

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with government?

No

Please tell us more about how partnerships could be critical to the success of your innovation

InVenture's model is fully dependent on partnerships and collaboration. Rather than establishing offices on the ground, we partner with local MFIs and NGOs in order to leverage the knowledge and experience that these local organizations already have of their communities. After researching and vetting the organizations, InVenture actually pays them a contract fee to work with InVenture and run our model on the ground and work with InVenture's business owners. This is helpful because most of these local MFIs and NGOs are non-profits, so our model supplies a new source of revenue for these organizations while also helping them to further their own mission. Lastly by partnering with these organizations, InVenture is also able to reduce its own administrative costs.

We would like to learn more about how your initiative is financially supported. Please explain your business plan/revenue model

InVenture is funded in three ways.

1. Grants/Individual donations/Competitions
2. Transaction fees of 3% of every investment made on our online platform
3. InVenture receives a very small percentage of profits (5-7%) from the profits of the invested businesses.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

My background ranges from public health to investment banking to consulting. My work in developing regions, particularly in India, exposed me to the limitations of current microfinance and international development efforts and led me to found InVenture—a micro venture capital fund that empowers entrepreneurs to uplift their communities. I wanted to create a more holistic model that would target the key problems that are keep developing communities from progressing.

Tell us about the person—the social innovator—behind this idea.

Shivani Siroya is the CEO and Founder of InVenture Fund. In just under one year, Shivani assembled a team, developed a working model, and cultivated partnerships with three NGOs to launch pilot funds in Ghana, India, and Mali—all of which are beginning to have a measurable impact on their communities. Shivani's drive and enthusiasm for this work makes InVenture possible, but it's her cross-sector approach to finance and development that will ultimately make InVenture successful. She has taken her experience in isolated industries and developed an organization that rebuilds—rather than reinvents—the wheel.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Through another organization or company

If through another source, please provide the information

Atlas Corps, Common Ground, Project Muso, The Hunger Project, Unitus, UNFPA

ICRW
Does your project address any of the following barriers to women’s technology access and use?

Economic or institutional constraints.

If you checked any of the boxes above, please explain how.

We give access to larger capital to women-owned businesses so that they can grow their businesses risk-free and become change leaders for their communities.

Does your project involve women in one or more of the following stages of the technology lifecycle? Identification of the problem the technology will solve:

Creation and maintenance of market linkages for women's economic outputs.

If you checked any of the boxes above, please explain how you will ensure women’s involvement in each relevant phase of the technology lifecycle.

We have connected the women-owned Bogolan cooperatives in Mali to Fair-trade online websites in the US in order to help create a new market for their products and receive higher returns.

If women are a focus of your project, how did this focus evolve?

The project focused on women from its conception..

Which type of women will your project reach directly?

Low income.

In what ways does your project team/leadership involve women?

It is led by a woman/women., It is led by a woman/women from a developing country., The core project team includes women..

Has your organization formed any new partnerships in response to this challenge? If so, with what type/s of organization/s?

Non-profit/NGO/community-based organization, For-profit, Women's organization.

Has your project leadership had prior experience with the following?

Working with women, Working with technologies, Working to increase women's economic empowerment through technology, Working on innovation.