Investments in ventures and the elea Entrepreneurs' Community marked the year 2022

31 December 2022

elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization, a Zurich-based active philanthropic impact investor, successfully closes the year 2022: Despite significant global challenges, elea looked ahead strategically and worked with existing portfolio ventures to further develop its impact and business models. The year was marked by the investment in five innovative impact ventures and the elea Entrepreneurs' Community. In addition, the investor circle was expanded, and the team in Zurich was enlarged in order to fight absolute poverty with entrepreneurial means ever more effectively.

The world has hardly ever been so challenging – marked by a pandemic, wars, and climate change on a global scale which manifest themselves, amongst other things, in rising inflation as well as food and energy crises. Once more, people living in absolute poverty with an average daily income of less than USD 3 experience these predicaments most acutely.

Emerging stronger from the crisis thanks to further development of impact models

It was, therefore, all the more important to look strategically ahead and jointly develop impact and business models further. An impressive example of this is Amazi, a South African venture that has succeeded in reinventing itself with perseverance, creativity, and a willingness to take risks. Since 2022, Amazi has operated "Beauty Bars" in 15 branches of Woolworths, one of the leading retail chains in South Africa, thus creating additional long-term jobs and income opportunities for women who live under the most challenging conditions in South Africa's townships.

Increasing social impact with five new ventures

With investments in five innovative impact ventures on three continents, elea has expanded its portfolio to currently 28 impact ventures: Arbusta uses an innovative recruitment and training approach to identify, develop and make employable young talent from urban poverty areas in Argentina. Pricepally operates an efficient distribution network for fresh produce and basic commodities, helping Nigerian households reduce their food bill. Signalytic, a Canadian technology provider with an operational focus in Uganda, offers digital solutions to local health centers in rural areas with poor electricity and internet access, helping to improve the healthcare supply chain. SMV Green Solutions is establishing service centers for electric rickshaws in India. Drivers are given access to vehicles, training, financing, and legal protection, enabling them to set up and sustainably operate their own ride-hailing businesses. Voalá is a female-led beauty care franchise for women micro-entrepreneurs. Franchisees get exclusive discounts, tailored training programs, and support in developing customer acquisition strategies. As a result, the model supports growth in shop incomes, increases employment opportunities, and empowers women.

Focus on the elea Entrepreneurs' Community

In September, 29 elea entrepreneurs from 22 countries finished the 18-month “Leading for Impact” program at IMD Lausanne. In partnership with the elea Center for Social Innovation, elea Professor of Social Innovation, Vanina Farber, and Professor of Strategy, Arnaud Chevallier, the program equipped social business leaders from the elea Entrepreneurs’ Community with the know-how to bring their leadership skills and, with that, their ventures to the next level. It was the first entrepreneurs’ gathering of that size since the community was founded last year. Andreas Kirchschläger, CEO of elea, about this highlight: “Even though this group could hardly be more diverse across countries and cultures, investment topics, personality types, backgrounds and perspectives, there is one common goal that unites us all: To effectively fight absolute poverty with entrepreneurial means and thus contribute to a better world!”

Following the program in Lausanne, the intensive personal exchanges were continued at the elea Philanthropic Investors' Circle event at Giardino Verde in Zurich. The afternoon was dedicated to getting to know each other and to in-depth discussions of our investors with impact entrepreneurs and the elea team. Special gratitude goes to the elea Comité de Patronage for its generous, long-standing commitment.

Strengthening of the elea team

To further expand the diverse activities in the fight against absolute poverty, Anna Blunschi, Sarah Zuellig, Jacob Greil, and Pape Sène, a new generation of talented university graduates, strengthen the elea Talent Program. With the appointment of Dominik Candreia as Head of IT, Romy Sauer as Communications and Partnerships Specialist, as well as Dagmawit Burki and Florence Cuénod as Assistants, we filled further key positions. Special thanks for their outstanding commitment go to Beatrice Möckli-Bürge, Karoline Rast, Marietta Füllemann, and Adrian Sameli, who are taking new professional paths.

elea founder Peter Wuffli resumes: “An exciting and very successful year lies behind us. My gratitude goes to our impact entrepreneurs, investors, and friends of elea, as well as the entire team. Together, we are working to continue to turn and accelerate our flywheel of innovative impact ventures, committed philanthropic investors, and passionate, talented employees in the coming year. This will bring us another significant step closer to our goal of improving the lives and prospects of 100 million people by 2030, representing five percent of people worldwide living with daily incomes below USD 3."


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