Press Release: Miller Center Invest Awards Catalytic Impact Funds to Social Enterprise Alumni
Miller Center Invest, a funding vehicle designed to unlock and catalyze capital for social enterprises in the Miller Center community, today announced its first two investments. Funding specifically targets women and local leaders typically left behind in the impact investing ecosystem.
Nazava Water Filters, based in Indonesia, manufactures and sells low-cost water filters and will utilize its $75,000 investment to finance the enterprise’s expansion to East Africa. By providing safe drinking water, Nazava tackles climate change, health, and poverty, while also reducing plastic waste.
Sistema.bio, headquartered in Mexico, will use its $50,000 investment to bridge working capital requirements for growth in Kenya, where the enterprise has rapidly emerged as one of the leaders in the biogas space. A family foundation committed to poverty alleviation in Africa is investing an additional $500,000 following Miller Center’s investment, a multiple of ten.
“When we created Miller Center Invest, our hope was that investing first in our high-potential social enterprise partners would reduce the risk of funding and serve as an incentive for other investors to join in,” said Brigit Helms, executive director, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship. “Catalyzing a 10x impact investment is compelling proof that the model is working.”
The fund aspires to unlock $5 million in investment per year for Miller Center’s global network of social enterprises, with a focus on climate resilience and women’s economic empowerment. More than 1,300 enterprises have participated in Miller Center accelerator programs, and an additional 50-100 social entrepreneurs are added each year, creating a strong investment pipeline for the impact investing ecosystem worldwide.
A partnership with Santa Clara University enables engagement with student teams to support screening, research, and due diligence on potential investments under the supervision of Miller Center mentors, staff and Beneficial Returns, Miller Center Invest’s fund manager.
Miller Center is also raising additional investment capital for the fund from other impact investors who share its motivation to pursue significant impact. McGuire Family Foundation has just made a $250,000 contribution to Miller Center Invest.
“The Miller Center Invest fund is closely aligned with the McGuire Family Foundation’s goals to fund scalable, market-based solutions to poverty where small philanthropic contributions can be recycled to have outsized impact on solving problems,” said Kim McGuire.
“We were impressed by Miller Center’s track record, the quality of program participants we’ve met, and the tangible impacts those social entrepreneurs are generating,” added Vivian McGuire.
Photo courtesy of Edward Howell.