UNDP reveals the top 12 entrepreneurs transforming access to health, energy and waste management in developing countries

April 22, 2021

The Growth Stage Impact Ventures (GSIV) for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) initiative, aims at identifying and showcasing midcap impact ventures in developing countries with the catalytic potential to drive both large impact and yield sustainable profit.

Geneva, April 21, 2020 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (the EPFL), Orange and SAP have released the 12 finalists of the Growth Stage Impact Ventures (GSIV) for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) initiative, which aims at identifying and showcasing midcap impact ventures in developing countries with the catalytic potential to drive both large impact and yield sustainable profit.
As the second cohort of the initiative, the selected finalists  represent the most innovative and investment-ready ventures that are transforming access to health, energy, and waste management in developing countries. A highly competitive selection, the process starts with nominations from impact investors and UN agencies. Finalists represent the best 5% of the 240 recommended enterprises that met the criteria across the world.

The GSIV is one of the most rigorous selection processes to identify Post series A ventures focusing on solutions that empower people at the bottom of the pyramid and actively contribute to poverty reduction in developing countries. The quality of the pipeline was exceptional, with ventures from the Global South presenting solid business models and impact track records. This edition was highly successful as we received almost twice the amount of nominations we did last year, which also shows the appetite from the investment community to share deals. Altogether our 12 finalists  represent USD 48 million investment opportunities, as they impact the lives of 1,240,000 people in need and serve 22,300 businesses.”, noted Alessandra Rojas, Sustainable Entrepreneurship Manager at EPFL Tech 4Impact.

All ventures will participate in a virtual pitching event on June 3rd 2021, then attend the SDG Finance Geneva Summit, during the Building Bridges Week in November 2021.

Here are the 12 finalists:


Iluméxico (Mexico), Kingo (Guatemala), Easy Solar (Sierra Leone), Powerstove (Nigeria)

Waste Management

GARV toilets (India), Sinba (Peru), ColdHubs (Nigeria), Saathi (India)


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

The 2020 Call for Nominations only accepted impact ventures having raised at least USD 500K, providing products and services for low income people which reduce inequalities (with particular attention to gender inequalities) through better access to quality health, affordable and clean energy, and by reducing and recovering waste. Only ventures nominated by third parties (accelerators, impact funds, family offices, international organizations, etc.) and with headquarters, primary workforce and service provision or product market in developing countries were eligible for the selection. 

Out of the 12 finalists, 7 have over 50 % of women in C-suite positions and  all but one employ between 11 and 100 people (25% have more than 100 employees). One of the finalists is from Least Developed Countries.

We strongly believe in the value of our selection process. We have the capacity to screen a gold mine of innovators that are shaping the new economy in developing countries. The 2019 GSIV alumni increased their annual revenues by 39% in 2020, despite the Covid-19 crisis. 50 % of them raised at least one equity round in 2020, up to $5 million. The pipeline we built is a great avenue to redirect large amounts of capital towards transformational impact investing” added Sarah Bel, UNDP SDG Finance Geneva Summit manager.

The GSIV selection takes place within the framework of the UNDP SDG Finance Geneva Summit. The broader objective of the summit is to promote SDG aligned investments, 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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More information about the companies available here.

On June 3rd 2021 (at 2pm CET), the finalists are all scheduled to pitch their business models to the public, investors, youth activists, and UN experts, among others. To register to attend the first virtual GSIV event, sign up on the website.

For additional information, please contact:

Ms. Laura Eboa Songue, Communications & Media Consultant, Email: laura.eboa@undp.org

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UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and the planet.

The EPFL is one of Europe's most vibrant and cosmopolitan science and technology institutions, located in Lausanne on the shores of Lake Geneva. Tech Impact is the EPFL’s sustainable impact initiative and the key instrument for enhancing the University’s social and environmental impact in research, innovation and entrepreneurship.

SAP is the world’s largest provider of  enterprise application software, serving more than 437,000 customers in more than 180 countries. SAP’s purpose is to help the world run better and improve people’s lives. With courage, perseverance, and breakthrough technology, SAP customers are tackling some of the world's biggest challenges.

The SAP Next-Gen program is a purpose driven innovation university and community for the SAP ecosystem enabling companies, partners and universities to connect and innovate with purpose linked to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 41 billion euros in 2018 and 149,000 employees worldwide at 31 March 2019, including 90,000 employees in France. The Group has a total customer base of 264 million customers worldwide as of 31 March 2019, including 204 million mobile customers and 20 million fixed broadband customers. The Group is present in 27 countries. Orange is also a leading provider of global IT and telecommunication services to multinational companies, under the brand Orange Business Services. In March 2015, the Group presented its new strategic plan “Essentials2020” which places customer experience at the heart of its strategy with the aim of allowing them to benefit fully from the digital universe and the power of its new generation networks.

Orange is listed on Euronext Paris (symbol ORA) and on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol ORAN). Orange and any other Orange product or service names included in this material are trademarks of Orange or Orange Brand Services Limited.