How does the investment process work?



A professional, staged investment process ensures that elea achieves the highest possible social impact. The funds entrusted to the Foundation by philanthropic investors, as well as those of the Foundation itself, are invested in carefully chosen and verified partner companies and organizations. A well-established, comprehensive process defines clear goals as the basis for a long-term, cooperative partnership between elea and its local partners.


Every year elea examines well over 600 potential investment opportunities. elea finds out about these opportunities in many ways. Sometimes the entrepreneurs contact elea directly. In other cases, a first contact can take place via elea’s global network. An elea team member can also become aware of a venture during one of the regularly organized “scouting tours” in target countries. Following an initial analysis and first personal discussions, if an idea is deemed to be promising, a comprehensive due diligence and detailed examination will take place. This can last from several weeks to several months and, in all cases, includes an assessment on-site. The multi-level process ensures a customized structuring of the financial and contractual agreements. Along with its partner organizations, elea prepares a “Value Creation Plan” that includes entrepreneurial as well as social impact related goals and lays the foundation for a close cooperative partnership over an investment period that typically lasts about five years. elea only gets involved when a venture has fulfilled all investment criteria and if they can provide a significant contribution to the development of the partner organization. In accordance with this, the investment process is highly selective: three to five investments currently take place annually.

Investment criteria

elea will only evaluate an investment opportunity in detail if the following criteria are fulfilled:

  • Focus on absolute poverty
  • Lasting improvement of individual living conditions
  • Entrepreneurial, long-term, self-supporting approach
  • “Proof of concept” has already been established
  • Credible entrepreneurial leadership
  • Contribution from elea beyond financial investment
  • Conformity with the strategic focus areas of elea