Grassroots Business Fund Announces Commitment at Clinton Global Initiative

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2011 — The Grassroots Business Fund (​GBF), a global impact investing organization, announced today at the closing plenary session of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) its 5-year commitment to provide sustainable economic opportunities to more than 20 million people living at the base of the economic pyramid by supporting more than 60 High Impact Businesses in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.”We are honored to unveil our next phase at this year’s CGI Annual Meeting,” says GBF’s founder and executive director, Harold Rosen.  “With thanks to the leading entrepreneurs, investors, and corporations in the public and private sector, we will be able to expand the reach of our impact farther than ever before, and enable GBF to create a profitable and effective approach that brings High Impact Businesses to sustainability and scale.”

 

Around the world, High Impact Businesses typically fall through the cracks because they require longer-term, quasi-equity financing that is too risky for commercial banks and beyond the capacity of traditional microfinance institutions. Many also require technical assistance which cannot be financed and delivered by existing sources.

Through a distinctive blend of investment capital and capacity building, GBF supports for-profit companies that create economic opportunities at the base of the pyramid.  This blended approach will help improve and scale up the companies’ operations, achieve sustainability, and attract other sources of capital. GBF’s capacity building programs include improvements to governance, general management, and financial planning.

“GBF has become a leader in its approach of blending investment capital with technical assistance in geographies where it is needed most,” said IqbalParoo, Chairman of GBF, Managing Partner of Paroo and Associates and Former President and CEO of Omidyar Network.

GBF is building on the experiences from 2004 to 2007, where it was an initiative of the International Finance Corporation, and implemented over 40 technical assistance projects and investments impacting the lives of over 3.4 million people at the base of the economic pyramid (BoP). Since becoming an independent organization in 2008, GBF has invested $8.5 million in 32 businesses in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and has impacted the lives of more than 8 million people worldwide.

Andrew Adelson, GBF board member and former chief investment officer at Alliance Bernstein, says, “GBF offers practical, business-oriented solutions to some of the greatest challenges facing international development.”

To see illustrations of GBF’s work, and learn more about the organization, read the new 2011 Annual Report. For more information about GBF or to speak to a staff member attending CGI, contact Michael Stulman at mstulman@gbfund.org.

About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI):

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together nearly 150 current and former heads of state, 18 Nobel Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made nearly 2,000 commitments, which have already improved the lives of 300 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued in excess of $63 billion. The 2011 Annual Meeting will take place Sept. 20-22 in New York City.

This year, CGI also convened CGI America, a meeting focused on developing ideas for driving economic growth in the United States. The CGI community also includes CGI U, which hosts an annual meeting for undergraduate and graduate students, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young CGI members for leadership development and collective commitment-making. For more information,visit www.clintonglobalinitiative.org.