NSF seeds Couragion to boost STEM career education

The National Science Foundation is seeking to increase the pipeline of science, technology, engineering and math talent with investments in edtech startups that make such careers accessible — and cool — to underserved kids. Couragion, a Denver, Colo.-based startup is building an application to make learning about STEM careers fun and accessible through videos, games, and self-reflection quizzes. The

First Circle raises $1.3 million for small business lending in the Philippines

Rather than traditional collateral, First Circle relies on basic data such as customer numbers and transactions to underwrite loans averaging $10,000. The startup has lent $5 million to date to small- and mid-sized businesses in the Philippines, a country with a population of nearly 100 million. Eyeing potential expansion into Indonesia or Thailand, Patrick Lynch, First

Aavishkaar’s Bharat Fund attracts $15.5 million from India’s Hero Enterprises

Hero, a leading industrial business group in India, is investing $15.5 million in Aavishkaar’s sixth fund as part of its foray into startup investing. “It is clear that for the entire country [of India] to develop, rural areas and underprivileged citizens must become part of the economic miracle, not through charity, but through real opportunities,”

Matt Damon’s Water.org secures $5 million for impact fund

Water.org’s WaterEquity subsidiary is raising its third impact fund to invest in microfinance institutions that lend to households for in-home toilets and water connections. That’s a $12 billion market globally, according to a Gates Foundation report. WaterEquity has secured $5 million in zero-interest debt from Bank of America for the planned $50 million WaterCredit Investment

Small farmers, big impact; measuring forest sustainability; IKEA goes social, Apple goes recycled

#Featured: Open Mic Small farmers are the future of global food security. Smallholder farmers have become the most important piece of the global agricultural system. Small farmers feed close to 80 percent of the total population in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa and support the livelihoods of nearly 2 billion people worldwide. Now, larger buyers of agricultural

Small farmers are the future of food security

By Tanner Methvin, Partner in Impact Amplifier and Earth Capital Smallholder farmers have become the most important piece of the global agricultural system. Small farmers feed close to 80 percent of the total population in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa and support the livelihoods of nearly 2 billion people worldwide. This community of farmers sit at a

Agora Partnerships facilitates variable-payment loans in Nicaragua

Agora Partnerships, a Latin America social-venture accelerator, is facilitating “variable payment obligations,” or VPOs, that tie loan repayment to free cash flow. VPOs help small businesses without fixed assets or loan guarantors get much-needed funds. For the Nicaragua effort, Agora, backed by USAID and the Argidius Foundation, has joined forces with a local bank, Banco