Upaya Social Ventures

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Upaya Social Ventures creates dignified jobs for the poorest of the poor.
Upaya creates dignified jobs for the poorest of the poor by building scalable businesses with investment and consulting support. Since 2011, we have accelerated 20 small and growing businesses in India and invested in 14 of those companies; our 14 portfolio companies have created nearly 8,000 jobs as of December 2017. With offices in Seattle, Washington and New Delhi, India, Upaya has committed to a goal of helping partners create 15,000 jobs by the end of 2019. With a presence in both India and the U.S., the Upaya team has over 20 years of experience in developing effective interventions [...]
Company Goals

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.


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.

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.
Company Information
Seattle, Washington, United States, United States of America, North America
Bangalore, Karnataka, India, India, Asia

Get in contact with us and send an open job application by showing your skills and work experience. Many thanks for your interest!