A Hand Up, Not A Handout.
Many poverty relief organizations provide handouts (free food, housing and healthcare) under the assumption that the extreme poor need to be rehabilitated before they can start earning a living.
However, the Upaya team has demonstrated that people in extreme poverty can become self‐reliant and quickly address their own needs simply by having access to a stable job and steady income.
We work with early-stage entrepreneurs
Upaya Social Ventures creates dignified jobs by partnering with early-stage entrepreneurs to scale their businesses, employing more people in their communities. The businesses we work with are often too large for micro-loans, but their business models are not yet suitable for investments from local banks or venture capitalists due to the risk involved and support needed.
Upaya's focused accelerator program allows us to support a larger number of entrepreneurs and their business ideas. Workshops are typically held over a 4-month period and culminate in an Investor Showcase, which puts entrepreneurs directly in front of impact investors and other potential partners. Out of each accelerator cohort, Upaya selects one to three businesses in which to make investments.
When selecting participants for our cohorts, Upaya prioritizes companies that demonstrate strong potential to create hundreds, if not thousands, of dignified and reliable jobs for people in their communities, helping to lift those jobholders, and their families, out of extreme poverty.
From each accelerator cohort, Upaya will make up to three equity investments, comprising a minority stake in each new business. Investments are constructed over an extended timeline which coincides with an intensive technical advisory engagement with Upaya, positioning the business for further scale and follow-on investment.
We work to create a job - change a life
Individuals employed by Upaya's partner entrepreneurs are working themselves out of extreme poverty.
- Jobholders are able to increase their daily food expenditure for their families.
- Many jobholders receive training from their employers, strengthening their skillset.
- Individuals with a reliable job are able to purchase assets like a bicycle or refrigerator.
- Families with reliable income are able to save for future needs, such as healthcare and buying a home.
- Parents who are employed are more likely to send their children to school.
- Regular income allows families to afford reliable electricity for their homes.