Root Capital: Women-Led Businesses Boost Farmer Incomes and Social Outcomes

Root Capital, a nonprofit lender to farmer associations and agricultural businesses in Africa and Latin America, seeks borrowers that will both repay their loans and strengthen their communities. That’s why, increasingly, it lends to women. The Nahuala coffee cooperative in the highlands of Guatemala is the kind of growing rural agricultural business Root seeks out.

Etsy: Will ‘B-Corp’ Status Survive the IPO?

The planned initial public offering of shares in Etsy, the online handicrafts marketplace, will set up an intriguing test of mainstream investor appetite for companies that voluntarily submit their social and environment performance to scrutiny in order to become certified “B-Corps.” It will also shine a light on new state legal structures intended to enshrine

How MicroVest Keeps Capital Flowing to Micro-Entrepreneurs

The global financial crisis didn’t dent the demand for loans from small businesses and micro-entrepreneurs around the world. But it sure whacked the supply of capital available to lend to them. MicroVest, a for-profit asset management firm owned by three non-profit organizations, treated the challenge as an opportunity to re-engineer its financial offering so it

Unitus Seed Fund: Why Bill Gates Is Backing Impact Entrepreneurs in India

Will Poole, a top Microsoft executive-turned seed-stage investor, is tapping American and Indian tech entrepreneurs to back some not very non-techy startups in India. Late last year, he closed his $20 million Unitus Seed Fund with a limited-partners list that included an array of startup founders, including the original success story:Bill Gates. Unitus has taken

CarePayment: Keeping the Medical Bill Collectors at Bay

Kendra is typical of many Americans covered by health insurance polices that come with high-deductibles, steep co-pays and less-than-complete coverage: deep in medical debt. Less typical is the solution the 41-year-old Michigan mother found to start to pay off her family’s hospital bills, without bill collectors, credit reports or interest. Cash payments from patients are

After Building SunEdison, Jigar Shah Eyes $1 Trillion Opportunities

A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real solutions to climate change. “Impact to me means $1 trillion,” says Jigar Shah, president and co-founder of Generate Capital, a new specialty finance company that works with project developers and technology manufacturers to finance what he calls “the resource revolution.” Shah knows

Acelero Learning: Kids Get a Head Start, but Investors Must Wait

The 100-degree heat in the Nevada desert limits outside play to 15 minutes for the energetic three-, four-, and five-year-olds. No matter. It’s cool inside the Acelero Learning Henderson Child Care Center near Las Vegas and the preschoolers are eager to read. Emily turns the pages of an oversize book about farm life while her