2016 For-Profit & Hybrid Applicants at-a-Glance

Entrepreneurs in India discuss how to troubleshoot solar devices. Photo courtesy of Boond.

Every year, Echoing Green offers Fellowship programs for emerging leaders looking for seed-stage support. We receive applications from all over the world proposing solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems. The ideas come in all forms, including nonprofit, for-profit, and a hybrid of the two business models. In this year’s applicant pool, nearly 50 percent are proposing for-profit and hybrid business models, a 30 percent increase since 2006.

As one of the few seed funders, we developed an impact investing program informed by our experience in selecting, funding, and supporting social entrepreneurs who are generating social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. We took a look at this year’s for-profit and hybrid data from the 2016 Fellowship applicants, and have just released a Snapshot that highlights emerging trends among this pool. This analysis helps us to identify trends which aids us with determining the needs of our potential Fellows and the impact investor community.

Key takeaways include:

  • The 2016 Fellowship saw 11 new countries in its pool of applicants with for-profit businesses including Benin, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and Micronesia.
  • Over the past five years, as in the overall applicant pool, hybrid and for-profit applicants have reported increasing years of operation, with 43 percent reporting they were already at proof of concept.
  • The Climate Fellowship, which began in 2014, again received the highest proportion of applicants with for-profit elements, at 56 percent.

Echoing Green has supported emerging entrepreneurs for nearly three decades. As supporters of visionary leaders with purpose, we know they go further, faster with the right capital and support. By continuing to learn from our applicants and other data from our peers, as a field, we can identify the tools needed to help these entrepreneurs become investment-ready, and for investors to be ready to partner with them.

To learn more, download 2016 Snapshot: For-Profit and Hybrid Echoing Green Fellowship Applications.

The paper is part of Echoing Green’s impact investing program, which shares what we’ve learned from our track record of finding, selecting, and supporting successful social entrepreneurs. By elevating the entrepreneurial perspective on raising start-up impact investment, trends in for-profit applications, and innovative models of early investment, we hope to inform and increase the flow of early-stage impact capital and investment readiness support.

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