Ana Escalante

NESsT Celebrates its 10th Anniversary

NESsT 10Last week, I attended the NESsT 10th anniversary party at Pangea Artisan Market & Cafe in the International Finance Corporation (IFC) building (2121 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington DC). The store has an interactive education component, with computers that provide information about the store’s artisans and their designs. The place is great and it matches really well with the idea of NESsT–promoting social enterprises in the world. NESsT is an organization that works in emerging market countries “by developing and supporting social enterprises that strengthen civil society organizations’ financial sustainability and maximize their social impact.”

NESsT combines the tools and strategies of business and entrepreneurship with the values of philanthropy. It supports the development of social enterprises in emerging democracies worldwide. Former NextBillion staff writer Lauren Abendschein blogged about NESsT a couple of months ago.At the event last week, I met the co-founders and CEOs of NESsT, Nicole Etchart and Lee Davis, both wonderful and insightful people. Nicole is from Chile and she works at NESsT’s offices in Santiago. During the event, a NESsT board member gave a speech recalling the story of when Nicole and Lee started with their idea in Baltimore, and how difficult it was for them to convince people to support them and to believe in the ideas that NESsT embraces. Today, after ten years, NESsT is one of the most recognized social enterprise catalysts in the world. They work with four initiatives, including a venture fund, university support, consulting, and a marketplace.

In some ways NESsT is similar to New Ventures, because aside from providing one-on-one relationships with the companies in its portfolio, it also to strengthens the field of social enterprise through training, forums, workshops, and publishing. The entire team at NextBillion congratulates NESsT on its 10th Anniversary and wishes them to continue the good work!