Organisations and foundations

Canadian Social Entrepreneurship Foundation

The foundation invests in Canadian social enterprises that produce revenue and focus on these specific areas: social inventors; children and youth; women at risk; aboriginal youth ventures; human rights; environment; health; civic engagement; economic development; technology social enterprises.

Design that Matters

Creates new products that allow social enterprises in developing countries to offer improved services and scale more quickly. The mission is to create products that improve the services of social enterprises in developing countries. DtM leverages the skills and intellectual capital of hundreds of volunteers in academia and industry to create breakthrough solutions for communities in need. DtM has built a collaborative design process through which hundreds of volunteers in academia and industry donate their skills and expertise to the creation of breakthrough products for communities in need.

Draper Richards Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, USA

The foundation provides funding and business mentoring to social entrepreneurs who are just getting started. The foundation brings its financial success to a nonprofit portfolio, demonstrating the new kind of hybrid model for venture philanthropy adopted by many philanthropreneurs. The organization awards six new grants a year, each for a three-year period.

Ethos Institute

A non-governmental organization created with the mission of mobilising, sensitising and helping companies to manage their businesses in a socially responsible manner, making them partners in the construction of a fair sustainable society.

Interdisciplinary Research Center for Solidarity and Social Innovation

Centre de Recherches Interdisciplinaires pour la Solidarité et l’Innovation Sociale (CERISIS)
Founded in 1995 in Hainaut by the UCL, this centre is composed of economists, sociologists and psychologists gathered in three research teams working in the fields of social economy, teaching as well as social and professional integration. The work of the CERISIS integrates four objectives: to develop scientific knowledge within the three fields of research; to articulate scientific relevance and social relevance by means of research centered on the analysis of the processes leading to social inequalities and on the mechanisms of solidarity between social groups, institutions and areas; to develop each of the three approaches (economic, sociological and psychological) in an interdisciplinary process; to concretely associate the socioeconomic actors to the research process and to examine with these partners how to support processes carrying effective forms of solidarity.

Kashf Foundation

The foundation was set up in 1996 as an action research program focusing, on determining and understanding key factors having an impact on the demand for microfinance services by poor women.
This was the first specialized microfinance institution in Pakistan, the first microfinance institution targeting only women from low income communities and the first microfinance institution to charge a sustainable price for its services.


A nonprofit organization that develops and markets new technologies in Africa. These low-cost technologies are bought by local entrepreneurs and used to establish highly profitable new small businesses. The organization promotes sustainable economic growth and employment creation in Kenya and other countries by developing and promoting technologies that can be used by dynamic entrepreneurs to establish and run profitable small scale enterprises. KickStart believes that self-motivated private entrepreneurs managing small-scale enterprises are the most effective agents for developing economies.

Lemelson Foundation

A private philanthropy established by one of the most prolific U.S. inventors, Jerome Lemelson, and his family. It uses its resources to inspire, encourage and recognize inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs, with a growing emphasis on those who harness invention for sustainable development where the needs are greatest.

Living Goods

A network of village-based “health promoters” who make a living income by selling essential health products at prices affordable to the poor. The model synthesizes the latest and best practices from the worlds of microfinance, franchising, and public health to create a sustainable system for defeating diseases of poverty. Living Goods is also a powerful engine of economic development, improving livelihoods by providing women a reliable source of income as “health promoters”, by keeping wage earners healthy and productive, and by averting costly medical

One Acre Fund

The mission of the fund is to begin a revolution in chronic hunger alleviation in Africa, led not by food aid, but by African farmers. The vast majority of Africa's hungry are farmers who grow their own food; studies have shown that these farmers could at least quadruple their own farm yields. One Acre Fund unlocks this permanent growth potential for even the poorest of the hungry by providing a service bundle to farmers: farm inputs on credit, weekly farm education sessions, and access to world output markets.

Room to Read

The mission of the organisation is to provide underprivileged children in the developing world with an opportunity to gain the lifelong gift of education. They do so by partnering with communities to build schools, establish bi-lingual libraries, and publish children's books in local languages. The organization also establishes computer labs to teach core skills and provides long-term, comprehensive scholarships for young girls. Founded in 2000, Room to Read now operates in Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, South Africa and Zambia.

Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship

Launched in November 2003 at Saïd Business School, Oxford University, to promote the advancement of social entrepreneurship worldwide. It was created with a donation of £4.44m by the Skoll Foundation, the largest funding ever received by a business school for an international programme in social entrepreneurship.

Social Enterprise Knowledge Network

Founded in 2001 with the participation of a group of leading Latin American business schools and the Harvard Business School in partnership with the AVINA Foundation. The foundation seeks to advance the frontiers of knowledge and practice in social enterprise through collaborative research, shared learning, participant-centered teaching, and the strengthening of management education institutions' capabilities to serve their communities.

Social Innovation Generation

A collaborative initiative which seeks to address Canada's social and ecological challenges by creating a culture of continuous social innovation. The focus is on fostering social innovation to achieve impact, durability and scale.



A social enterprise that trains entrepreneurs in developing countries to give eye screenings and sell low-cost reading glasses in their communities. His innovative model allows thousands of people in developing countries the gift of sight so they can continue working and contributing to their communities. In turn, VisionSpring provides entrepreneurial opportunities for the people who distribute and sell the reading glasses in countries like India, Guatemala, and El Salvador. VisionSpring's "Business in a Bag" empowers local Vision Entrepreneurs to sell low-cost, high-quality eyeglasses in the hardest-to-reach areas.

Youth Venture

Launched in 1996 with the vision that everyone in society could take initiative and address social needs, rather than looking to the elite few who lead today. Youth Venture inspires and invests in teams of young people to design and launch their own lasting social ventures, enabling them to have this transformative experience of leading positive social change.