Episode 58 Interview with Anushka Ratnayake, Founder and Executive Director of myAgro.

MyAgro is an award-winning social business which allows farmers in West Africa to buy fertilizer and seed by a series of small payments  via a mobile phone platform and a network of local village vendors

Myagro’s helps farmers move out of poverty and has led a doubling of farm income. It has grown almost five fold the last year, and aims to grow to 75,000 farmers over the next five years.

Anushka was an early employee at both One Acre Fund, where she served as the Director of Innovation and Core Programs, and Kiva.org, where she created the Kiva Fellows Program. 

In this interview, Anushka discusses:  anushka

  • The vital role small holders play in developing countries
  • The power of the layaway model
  • The MyAgro business model
  • How MyAgro works with “champion farmers” to spread the word about their services
  • How MyAgro helps farmers double their income

Episode 57 Interview with James Perry, Co- Chair and Co-founder of B Lab UK

James Perry is Co- Chair and Co-founder of B Lab UK-a UK registered charity, which exists to support a community of UK-based B Corps; he was also instrumental in managing the launch of B Corps in the UK

James is currently Chief Executive of Panahpur, where he has led the transition from  a traditional grant making charitable trust into a sustainable social impact investor.

James chaired the UK Mission Alignment Working Group for the UK Advisory Board of the G8 Social Impact Investment Taskforce and has been Deputy Chairman of the Social Stock Exchange.

In this interview, James discusses:  jamesperry

  • What is means to be a B Corporation
  • The growth of B Corps in the UK
  • Why B Corporations access great talent
  • Purpose and B Corporations
  • Why investors like B Corporations

Episode 56 Interview with Michael Norton, OBE, serial social entrepreneur

Michael Norton has had a prolific career in the world of social change. In 1975, Michael set up Directory of Social Change, the UK’s leading provider of information and training to the non-profit sector.  Twenty years later, he set up the Centre for Innovation in Voluntary Action. In 2000, he co-founded UnLtd, which supports social entrepreneurs.

Michael also co-founded the International Centre for Social Franchising and is also co-founder of Buzzbnk, an internet platform to enable the crowd-funding of social ventures. He is currently establishing a social investment find in the UK to invest at an early stage in emerging social ventures and he is encouraging and supporting social enterprise and better Corporate Social Responsibility in China, where he holds a Professorship at the China Global Philanthropy Institute.

In this interview, Michael talks about: michael_norton

  • The exciting role that foundations can play in funding social innovation
  • His plans for a new trust-based approach to social investment
  • The funding gap – and how to fill it
  • The right reason to measure impact
  • How social enterprises can enhance their impact

Episode 55 Interview with Rodney Schwartz, Founder of ClearlySo

Rodney is Founder of ClearlySo which works with high-impact businesses, charities and funds in the UK to raise capital, and introduces them to institutional and individual investors. ClearlySo is Europe’s leading impact investment bank, and has helped nearly 100 clients raise more than £108 million in investment capital by leveraging its extensive network of high-net-worth individual and institutional investors.

Rodney held senior management posts at Lehman Brothers and Paribas, before founding the fintech venture capital firm Catalyst. A pioneer in this impact investment marketplace Rodney teaches impact investment at the Said Business School (Oxford) to MBAs and in the Executive Education programme.  He is a former Board Chair of Shelter, JustGiving and Spacehive, and holds an MBA and BA from the University of Rochester.

In this interview, Rod discusses: 

  • How ClearlySo funds social innovation
  • The funding landscape for social innovation in the UK
  • The role of foundations in funding social innovation
  • The funding gap for high impact low return organisations
  • The crucial role of teams in raising funds for social innovation

Episode 54: Interview with Stephen Dawson, OBE, co-founder of Impetus Trust- now Impetus-PEF- and Jacana Venture Partnership

Stephen Dawson is a pioneer in the field of venture philanthropy in the UK. A former venture capitalist, he was involved for 25 years with ECI, where he was until recently non-executive chairman.  

Stephen was a co-founder of Impetus Trust- now Impetus-PEF- the first British venture philanthropy organisation, investing in charities and social enterprises that fight economic disadvantage; he was also a founder trustee of the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA). 

Stephen was co-founder and chairman of Jacana Partners which was established to tackle poverty in Africa by helping build a venture capital industry.  He has received many awards for his work including an OBE for services to the voluntary sector in 2011.

In this interview, Stephen talks about: s_dawson

  • The rise of venture philanthropy in the UK
  • How venture philanthropy works
  • The growth and success of IntoUniversity
  • The importance of building a broad funding base
  •  The pain –and value- of the venture philanthropy due diligence process