Best 15 impact driven start ups from developing countries pitching at the Building Bridges Week

November 30, 2021

Geneva, 27 November 2021 – Fifteen entrepreneurs from 10 developing countries identified through the Growth Stage Impact Ventures (GSIV) initiative and working on access to quality health, clean energy, waste management, financial services and food and beverage will pitch in Geneva on Thursday December 2nd 2021 in front of investors, large corporates and development organizations in search of partnership to scale the reach and impact of their products and services, especially serving the bottom of the pyramid in their respective region.

The 15 enterprises are all mid-sized, with an average of up to 100 employees, and annual revenues between half a million and over five million dollars. Altogether they represent USD 48 million investment opportunity, and they impact the lives of 1.240.000 people in need.

“Through our partnership with EPFL and Orange, and with the support from a myriad of actors from the private sector, the UN and the broader development community, we were able to identify entrepreneurs with solid business models and impact track records. They show there is a strong business case for the SDG and they represent seizeable investment tickets for a finance industry in quest of sustainable portfolio” noted Sarah Bel, UNDP Geneva spokesperson.

The entrepreneurs work on a variety of products and services to alleviate poverty and reduce inequalities in their local communities. For instance, Bempu Health delivers life-saving technology interventions, such as the TempWatch neonatal bracelet, which monitors newborns’ temperature,saving them from hypothermia, a major cause of infant mortality in India. Nigerian ColdHubs operates 100% solar-powered walk-in cold rooms to preserve fresh fruits, vegetables, and other perishable food to eliminate the negative impacts of food spoilage along the food supply chain, which currently affect the income of 470 million smallholder farmers globally.

They were selected through a highly competitive process in which credible organizations – investors, foundations, UN agencies and government agencies – nominated companies out of their own pipeline. In addition to the global competition, UNDP launched a programme at a local level in Colombia, which selected three Colombian finalists out of over 90 Colombian entreprises. UNDP received 328 nominations from 209 organizations and in total representing 65 developing countries.

“Two criteria guided the selection beyond financials and business model: inclusivity and gender responsiveness. All entrepreneurs have focused their operations to serve the poor and they offer market based solutions which are affordable while bringing a real addue value to the population. Out of the 15 finalists, more than an half have over 50 % of women in C-suite positions and beyond serving poor households, most of them employ low income communities. One of the finalists is from Least Developed Countries which shows that it is possible to be profit driven while serving the most vulnerable in difficult contexts” noted Sarah Bel.

A USD 5000 cash prize, the Gender Lens Impact Investing Award, provided by the Sustainable Finance Geneva association will be announced at the invitation-only closing dinner of the Building Bridges Week. But the GSIV entrepreneurs are looking to depart Geneva with investment promises amounting the millions they need to scale up and change the landscape of quality health, renewable energy and waste management in their region.

The entrepreneurs, by theme, include:

Energy: Iluméxico (Mexico), Kingo (Guatemala), Easy Solar (Sierra Leone), Powerstove (Nigeria). SunColombia (Colombia)

Waste Management: GARV toilets (India), Sinba (Peru), ColdHubs (Nigeria), Saathi (India).

Health: Livox (Brazil), Bempu Health (India), Vula Mobile (South Africa), Mamotest (Argentina).

Food and Beverage: Paramo snacks (Colombia)

Financial Services: Agrapp (Colombia)

The GSIV initiative aims at sourcing mature and innovative solutions contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in developing countries and is a collaboration between the United Nations Development Programme office of Geneva, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) Tech4Impact, and Orange.

The GSIV selection takes place within the framework of the SDGs Finance Geneva, which will take place on December 2nd 2021 for its fifth edition.The broader objective of the SGS Geneva is to promote SDGs aligned finance, showcasing emerging market examples of businesses that do well by doing good. By bringing together the unique ecosystem of development professionals, investors, development finance institutions, academia, and entrepreneurs, UNDP aims to catalyze a shift of capital from mainstream finance to impact investing with a focus on addressing the SDGs

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For additional information, please contact:

Ms. Sarah Bel, Communications Specialist,