Melissa Richer and Shital Shah

Introducing iuMAP, a Resource to Track Social Enterprise Globally

We’re excited to introduce iuMAP, the largest publicly available directory of market-based solutions to poverty challenges. It’s brought to you by Ayllu (pronounced ’i-u’) in media partnership with NextBillion; it lists 300 market solutions in 55 countries, and we aim to triple its size by year’s end! Let us share a bit about the rationale behind launching iuMAP and what can be expected in the weeks and months to come.

We started Ayllu with the goal of supporting market-based solutions to poverty that want to expand their reach and scale their impact. We soon realized there is a lack of critical information to help the social enterprise community learn from successes, failures and challenges, so that decisions can be made more easily, quickly, and cheaply. Right now it’s not easy to understand the scope and reach of this growing market: Who are these enterprises? Where are they? What are they doing? How do they do it? Why are they doing it? With these questions in mind, the Ayllu team spent the last 12 months tracking market-based solutions and interviewing 40 leading enterprises in 19 countries. The experience was rewarding; we’ve come to know entrepreneurs, their businesses, and on-the-ground experiences. We are building trust and will continue collecting information from them in the future.

Information lies at the core of what Ayllu does: we collect it, analyze it, and distribute it. Our goal is to make it easier for social enterprises and funders to get the information they need to make decisions; we share trends and best practices, and connect social enterprises with support. We believe that resources like The Next 4 Billion report are appreciated because they summarize data that is critical to understand the size and nature of the opportunities in this space. However, we also believe a huge leap in efficiency can happen with an up-to-date, centralized source of information on social enterprise, which tracks them and distributes that information in a digestible way. That’s where iuMAP comes in; to disseminate its information we’ll use interactive reporting, allowing people to sort information by the criteria they need, as opposed to long reports.

So what is iuMAP? What’s next?

iuMAP is the public face of Ayllu’s internal database; it is a directory of market-based solutions to poverty, searchable by name, geography, and area of focus. It was built in partnership with OpenAction during the first semester of 2010, and it will continue to be updated in the months to come. We envision it as a valuable resource for practitioners, social entrepreneurs, funders (investors and donors), students, academics and generally those interested in social enterprise.

We’re looking for feedback from the social enterprise community and will write on different aspects of the map, on NextBillion and other industry platforms. Our bloggers, Tayo Akinyemi and Shital Shah, as well as guest bloggers, will analyze information from our database and cover different issues such as best practices, industry trends and case studies.

This fall, iuMAP will feature more data and analysis tools. We will map geographies and industries, and topic-specific maps. The first two will focus on microenergy (analyzing data from 20 leading enterprises) and the market ecosystem in Brazil (scope and opportunity). Over time, you will be able to use iuMAP to filter data and best practices of social enterprise with tools similar to Hans Rosling’s Gapminder.

Our vision for iuMAP is collaborative. iuMAP is in beta form, so please give us feedback! Do you know a social enterprise that isn’t listed? Submit it to us! The iuMAP is constantly updated and we aim to triple its size by the end of 2010.