SDG Finance
Geneva Summit

Growth Stage Impact Ventures for SDGs


What is Growth Stage Impact Ventures for SDGs about?

According to McKinsey, by 2025, 50% of the world’s largest companies will be based in developing countries. Innovative corporates from the Global South will be leading social change, creating jobs, and servicing the yet untapped markets at the bottom of the pyramid. The purpose of the selection is to identify the enterprises that focus not only on emerging customers, but provide them with products and services that will help them reach their full human development potential.

The specific niche of Growth Stage Impact Ventures for SDGs

We aim to identify innovative solutions for the SDGs in developing countries (defined in this case as having a GDP per capita of US$ 12,000 or less as per the latest World Bank data) that already have a proven business model, have raised their Series A or have reached break-even of their operations, and can grow and deliver large impact while demonstrating their profitability. This will complement existing initiatives (most focus on earlier stage startups).

The goals are to:

  1. Prove that there is an SDG business case, for more capital to be allocated to business investments supporting the SDGs;
  2. Familiarize investors - primarily the Swiss, with some European representation - with impact finance.

To achieve this, we are looking for credible enterprises that already have a strong track record and can demonstrate that private companies can offer strong and sustainable returns alongside a positive impact.

Thematic and geographic scope

Only products and services reducing inequality through solutions that empower people in developing countries will be considered.

Only entrepreneurs in and providing products and services to developing countries will be considered. In this case, by “developing countries” we mean countries where GDP per capita is less than US$ 12,000 a year according to World Bank data.

In order to allow the advent of impact ventures in all emerging regions, there shall be winners in all geographic regions and particularly the less developed ones.

Who is eligible?

Enterprises with the following profile:

  • Established business model and track record (number of clients, break even, valuation and turnover);
  • Have at least closed Series A deal or reached break even through organic growth (later stage is eligible too);
  • Solid team (complementary competencies to run and grow business);
  • Impact driven model (possibly recorded in statutes– mission lock) with impact measurement metrics/KPIs in place and solid impact prospects (link to systemic change, addressing more than one SDGs in an interconnected way) as well as demonstrated results;
  • Innovative (technology, business model or process) with a strong competitive advantage (IP, clear USP, uniqueness factor);
  • Have feasible and tested scalability model (regional and continental or trans-sectorial), ideally have shown at least one proven case of scaleup/spin-off;
  • Looking for partners to grow (investment, technical assistance, etc.).

Who can nominate entrepreneurs?

Nomination will come from third parties (accelerators, impact funds, family offices, international organizations, etc.) that can each propose up to 3 entrepreneurs of their pipeline meeting the eligibility criteria. Different national institutions belonging to a bigger corporation are eligible to nominate.

Partners will have to choose between being a third party or a member of the jury.

Selection and benefits

Following an open call for application in February, a first screening will shortlist the top 20 candidates who will then be reviewed and evaluated by a jury composed of the project core partners and investors. The top 12 entrepreneurs will pitch during the SGS Geneva 2020.

The jury will include representatives from large corporations, academia, development, and investors.

Entrepreneurs will receive great amount of exposure before and during the event, and access a wide network of decision-makers interested to learn more about their innovation and scale up their company. Their travel costs will be covered, they will be given access to a prepping program, and they will benefit from a package of services provided by the SGSGeneva partners.

The most innovative solution presented at the event will be awarded the Jason Spindler Tech4Dev Prize of USD 5000.

Third parties nominating entrepreneurs will all be acknowledged by SGSGeneva and Third parties whose nominees are part of the 12 selected entrepreneurs will receive exposure during the event.


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