Pitching Investors in Global Health: Funding Lessons From Social Entrepreneurs
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Over the past decade, business models serving the base of the pyramid (BOP) customers have attracted increased attention. At the same time, major development agencies and foundations have identified the public health segments of the Millennium Development Goals as priorities and have expanded programs to support and encourage innovation in health care for low- and middle-income communities around the world.
For social entrepreneurs working in global health, this is both good and bad news. Good, because there is more support to start enterprises and test their models on the ground. And bad, because once those entrepreneurs graduate from early-stage grants, navigating the terrain to secure capital to help scale their impact is both increasingly competitive and unclear. Several major programs, such as the Grand Challenges in Global Health programs run by USAID, The Gates Foundation and by the Canadian government, top out at grants of $1 million. As these ventures look to raise larger amounts of capital and, in many cases, to pursue models other than grant funding, it is a challenge to navigate and adapt to the needs and interests of different types of investors.