Catalytic Capital | July 31, 2019

Upaya uses recoverable grants to invest in two Indian agribusinesses

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, July 31 – Seattle-based Upaya Social Ventures is using $1 million in recoverable grants from foundation partners to prove investment opportunities serving the poorest of the poor.

Its first two investments from the capital pool are Odisha-based ZooFresh Foods, which connects small farmers to high-needs markets, and Laymen Agro, a dairy company that employs India’s youth for its home-delivery milk service. Both companies participated in Upaya’s 2018 accelerator program, which focused on India’s agribusiness sector.

Upaya has made small investments in 16 social enterprises in India and aims to use the recoverable grant fund to double its reach. “Recoverable grants are appropriate to support the kind of program activity that leads to asset building—situations where capital is needed to stimulate economic development, but is not needed for ongoing subsidy,” Upaya’s Kate Cochran and Sachi Shenoy wrote.

The Delta Fund committed half of the fund’s capital. 3rd Creek Foundation, Chintu Gudiya Foundation, Galloway Family Foundation, Vibrant Village Foundation and the Norwegian Interhands Foundation provided the rest.