USAID Partners for Entrepreneurial Action in Development
April 30, 2012
Washington — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced a $44.5 million Global Development Alliance (GDA) between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Skoll Foundation. The partnership is designed to nurture solutions to some of the world’s most vexing development problems.
Clinton made the announcement April 26 at the Global Impact Economy Forum in Washington, a meeting of more than 250 high-level investors, business executives, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and academics that looked at how the public and private sectors can work together to unleash economic potential.
The USAID-Skoll partnership pairs USAID’s expertise in scaling sustainable development innovations with Skoll’s decade of experience cultivating the world’s most successful social entrepreneurs, USAID said.
Through the new partnership, Skoll and USAID will identify and co-invest in high-impact social entrepreneurs and support them in scaling up innovative business models that demonstrate the ability to deliver sustainable development in areas such as education, water and food security, USAID said. By demonstrating impact through cutting-edge evaluation techniques, the partners will encourage increased public and private investment in the most effective innovations.
“It is obviously important to provide humanitarian relief when people are starving because of bad government policies that undermine agricultural development or because of drought or other acts of nature,” Clinton said at the launch of the USAID-Skoll partnership. “But it’s better to get ahead of the curve and to invest in new, more effective agricultural production. It’s fine to set up clinics, to take care of people when they’re sick or they’re suffering from disease, but it’s better to get ahead of it and to find interventions like bed nets that will actually prevent disease in the first place. So we’re investing a lot of money in Development Innovation Ventures because we think it will save money, but we need private sector support and ideas as well.”
The GDA builds on existing work by USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures (DIV). Inspired by venture capital models, DIV invests in game-changing innovations in development with the potential to improve the daily lives of millions of people at a fraction of the usual cost, USAID said. The GDA will model the DIV approach emphasizing evidence and scalable, cost-effective proposals through social entrepreneur networks.
“Investors serious about scaling up development innovations need to scale up their own capabilities, and that’s what we’ve set out to do with this partnership,” said Sally Osberg, chief executive officer and president of the Skoll Foundation. “Together, the Skoll Foundation and USAID are prepared to back and grow entrepreneurial solutions to many of the world’s most pressing problems. Along the way, we expect to deliver value well beyond what either of us can accomplish individually.”
The Skoll Foundation, founded in 1999 by Jeff Skoll, eBay’s founding president, drives large scale change by investing in and connecting social entrepreneurs and innovators who help them solve the world’s most pressing problems. Skoll has identified and cultivated social entrepreneurs in areas from education and employment to food security and health care, the foundation says on its website.
More information on Development Innovation Ventures is available on the USAID website.