Early this Summer, FINCA International hosted a reception and panel discussion on social enterprise and impact investing programs. The event included several longtime FINCA supporters and featured a conversation on how a new generation of social entrepreneurs is developing innovative solutions to basic service challenges, like access to energy. Attendees were joined by all four founding members of FINCA—Robert Hatch, John Hatch, Rupert Scofield, and Richard Williamson. Together, the group explored the critical role of strategic philanthropic capital—or impact investing—in pioneering and scaling market-based innovations supporting the world’s poor.
Among the highlights of the event was a panel discussion involving Whitney Goodwin, Director of Manufacturing for Amped Innovation, and Ami Dalal, Vice President and Managing Director of FINCA Ventures. Amped Innovation is an early-stage social enterprise in the solar energy sector and one of several companies benefiting from FINCA Ventures investment. Moderated by FINCA International President and CEO, Rupert Scofield, the conversation underscored the link between access to energy and access to finance. The panelists noted the damaging impact of energy poverty on productivity and economic growth, and the vicious cycle it perpetuates.
The discussion highlighted creative solutions to improving energy access for people at the base of the economic pyramid. In particular, the panelists pointed to the pay-as-you-go (PAYGo) financing model, which FINCA utilizes to give customers the flexibility of paying over time using their mobile phones. PAYGo allows customers to acquire life-enhancing products that would otherwise be out of their financial reach. Participants at the event even got a chance to see a live demonstration of some of Amped Innovation’s solar energy products.
This event was the first under the FINCA Advisory Council, a new global network of individuals and institutions working together to advance the mission and work of FINCA International. Council members apply their perspectives, experience, expertise and finances in support of market-based solutions for people to lift themselves out of poverty in a sustainable way. If you are interested in joining the FINCA Advisory Council, please contact Colleen Zakrewsky at [email protected].