The elea Way Book: A Learning Journey Toward Sustainable Impact


Summary: what is in "The elea Way" book?

Social entrepreneurship and impact investing contribute to a more inclusive capitalism and bring innovative solutions to global challenges, such as fighting poverty and protecting planet earth. This book offers practical advice on how to best integrate entrepreneurship and capital for impact and innovation by using elea’s philanthropic investing approach to fight absolute poverty with entrepreneurial means as an example.

Written by two leading experts, the book summarizes insights from elea’s 15-year pioneering journey, from creating an investment organization, choosing purposeful themes, and sourcing opportunities, to partnering with entrepreneurs for impact creation. This includes suggestions on how to lead impact enterprises in such areas as developing strategies, plans, and models; building effective teams and organizations; managing resources; and handling crises. Using real-life examples, this is valuable reading for entrepreneurs, investors, executives, philanthropists, policymakers, and anyone curious about entrepreneurship and inclusive capitalism.

Authors: who wrote "The elea Way" book?

Vanina Farber, PhD, is an economist and political scientist with twenty years of teaching, researching, and consultancy experience. She holds the elea Chair for Social Innovation at IMD. Previously, Vanina was Dean of the Graduate School of Business and Associate Professor at Universidad del Pacífico in Peru.

Peter Wuffli, PhD, is a senior leader and entrepreneurial philanthropist. He is the Founder and Chairman of elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization and the Honorary Chairman of IMD. Previously, Peter was a partner at McKinsey & Company, the CEO of UBS Group, the Chairman of Partners Group, and of IMD. In 2015, he published the book Inclusive Leadership.

Reviews: what do others say about "The elea Way" book?

Paul Polman, Chair of IMAGINE, former Unilever CEO
"elea’s innovative approach reinforces convergence across corporations, investment organizations, and entrepreneurs toward social impact and meaningful purpose. Its lessons are valuable for corporate executives as they realize strategies that benefit societies."

Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross
"‘The elea Way’ shows how to mobilize capital for social impact by reshaping market-based models. It contributes to harnessing the efforts of complementary actors, such as investors, entrepreneurs, response agencies, and governments, who have the people most affected by poverty and crisis in mind."

Divya Vasant, Amazi Founder and CEO
"This book is a rare opportunity to gain insight into the mind of an experienced impact investor. elea’s connectedness with our team, which goes far beyond its contribution of financial capital, has been instrumental on our path as impact entrepreneurs, particularly when facing the Global Covid-19 Crisis."

Ignazio Cassis, Swiss Federal Councillor - Minister for Foreign Affairs
"elea’s pioneering combination of impact investing and philanthropy inspires both private and public-sector initiatives for economic development. Its ethical foundation in liberalism and its values of inclusive capitalism are hallmarks of Swiss identity."

Jean-Francois Manzoni, IMD President
"IMD is delighted to host the elea Center for Social Innovation. The elea Way will help in the development of thoughtful and ethical leaders broadening their horizons toward new forms of capitalism and deepening their understanding that they can do well by doing good."

Read it: What can you expect from "The elea Way" book?

Fighting absolute poverty
Despite the success of globalization, absolute poverty is still a reality around the world. Through our work with social entrepreneurs, elea has gained unique insights into the world of poor communities. This book contains touching stories from the field and shows examples of how impact enterprises can transform lives. We provide first-hand insights on how smallholder farmers improve their yield, how women exposed to violence get trained and find the perspective of a stable job, and many more inspiring impact stories.

Global Covid-19 crisis
While this book was written, the global Covid-19 crisis started to unfold, bringing a tremendous economic backlash on poor communities around the world. The World Bank estimates that hundreds of millions of people will fall into poverty in 2020. In “The elea Way”, we show how impact enterprises and patient capital is needed more than ever to fight absolute poverty. We also provide methods and insights for entrepreneurs to navigate such a crisis.

Philanthropic impact investing
The concept of philanthropic impact investing is relatively new. It brings together social entrepreneurship and impact-oriented patient capital, and it looks for ways to develop and scale innovative business models based on market solutions. In the book, we look back to the origins of impact investing and analyze the current state. We also discuss the qualities of entrepreneurs and the motivations of impact investors on a path toward a more inclusive capitalism.

elea's journey to impact
In 2021, elea celebrates 15 years as a philanthropic impact investor. During this time, the organization grew from a visionary idea to a recognized name in the field. In the book, we look back at the founders’ motivations and early decisions. We also discuss how the organization found an effective operating model and focus together with a strong team. Finally, we analyze the way elea creates and measures sustainable impact as an industry leader.

FAQ: what do others ask about "The elea Way" book?

What is the purpose of this book?
Reflect on and share our insights after 15 years’ experience as a philanthropic impact investor, contributing to the development and growth of the global impact investing sector.

Who should read this book?
The book targets entrepreneurs, investors, executives, philanthropists, researchers and other thought leaders as well as all those curious to find ways to make capitalism more inclusive.

What is the main thesis of the book?
A key lesson is that entrepreneurship and capital should be closely integrated. Only when entrepreneurs are well equipped to make good use of capital, and only when investors are able to support entrepreneurs in effective ways, will sustainably impact and innovation be achieved.

Which approach is better in fighting absolute poverty: market solutions or government interventions?
This is not either-or, but both-and. Research and practice in recent years have shown that market solutions can be effective in fighting poverty. The best outcome often results when private sector companies, civil society organizations and government institutions work together in an aligned and constructive manner, whereby the specific strengths of all are leveraged.

Is it okay to earn money from absolute poverty?
Market solutions to fight absolute poverty are only sustainable when they are undertaken by companies that have the potential to become profitable. Otherwise they will not attract long-term private capital and they will not have the means to reinvest in innovative approaches.

How did the global Covid-19 crisis affect elea's work?
It tested our agility as an organization by going to the limits of what technology could do in interacting with our entrepreneurs. And our work proved to be enormously appreciated by our entrepreneurs as we were often their trusted advisor in helping to develop survival strategies and reimagining future business models.