Public Private Development Partnership: Promoting Social Entrepreneurship in Latin America and the Caribbean

SDC is engaging with the private sector to achieve sustainable development outcomes. Whereas business entrepreneurs usually measure their performance with profit/financial return, social entrepreneurs‘priority is return to society incl. environmental concerns. This makes social entrepreneurs welI-aligned with SDC. The programme contributes to existing efforts by partners, in particular Ashoka, in supporting new and existing social entrepreneurs in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Latin America
Employment & economic development
Business support & economic inclusion
SME development
01.11.2018 - 31.12.2023
CHF  7’600’000

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can only be attained if new solutions and collaborations with the private sector are identified and catalysed.

One promising and innovative new way of engaging with the private sector goes via social entrepreneurship which has become a driver of significant social change over the last years. It borrows from a mix of business, charity, and social movement models to design new and more sustainable solutions to societal problems. Social entrepreneurs (SE) using market-based models (cover their costs with market revenues) to grow their operations are of particular interest to the development sector as they provide more sustainable alternatives to purely grant-based interventions.


Contribute to poverty reduction and inclusion  (in LATAM) by

  • Creating net additional income (incl. expenditure saved) and employment, in particular for low income groups
  • Improved gender equality
  • Improved livelihoods for low income people: Access to better goods and services
Target groups

Low Income[1] persons and households in Latin America and the Caribbean, in particular female headed.

At least 350.000 persons outreach, at least 10M CHF net additional income attributable to the project plus non-quantifiable and long-term benefits.

[1] As neither business model, nor sector, nor country of supported social entrepreneurs are known before selection, it is difficult to define “low-income” more precisely ex-ante. The poorest of the poor are however rarely exclusively served in market based models, but rather addressed via cross-subsidized or grant components

Medium-term outcomes

Specific objectives are “More low-income clients (new and/or existing) are served, or more is bought from more low-income suppliers (new and/or existing), or more low-income employees are given income opportunities”. This is achieved through:

“Organic growth”: SE grow financially and/or achieve stronger impact orientation

“Non-organic growth”: Crowding-in through other SE or commercial enterprises in same or other countries; non-organic scaling/ adoption of innovation; systemic change

Collaboration expands: new collaborative efforts solve social problems with partners from public and private sector and civil society


Expected results:  

“Micro":  SE have closed needs gaps, in particular manage impact better, are more gender inclusive, have access to finance, etc.

 "Micro/Meso": SE have found new ways to scale impact without necessarily growing their organization (incl. via systemic change in their sector)

“Macro": Ecosystem improved: access to smaller ticket size fund, access to investor networks, access to Latam-wide platform, access to collaborations, improved networking structures

Results from previous phases:   The programme supported about 70 SE in the first phase and overachieved its objectives, reaching out to several hundred thousand low income persons, creating > 20m USD net additional income, plus many other benefits. Many lessons have been learned, in particular that the selection of SE needs to be even more rigid and SEs’ business modells need to be very closely analysed for financial sustainability. Although in general impact is of prime interest for SDC, the financial sustainability is prerequisite for organic growth and non-organic growth. Other learnings are the importance of 1) more structured efforts in non-organic growth, i.e. systemic change, 2) need to improve the impact management and measurement at the level of the SE, 3) need to inspire SE on gender as an additional impact opportunity, 4) importance of finance, in particular hybrid finance and blended finance to help closing the SME financing gap.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Private sector
  • Foreign private sector North

Coordination with other projects and actors

Sister project: SENAP, together with Le Fil Consulting and Ashoka (7F-09752.01)

Brother project: SIINC, together with Roots of Impact and Ashoka (7F-09447.01)

Entry Proposal Bangladesh to support the ecosystem for Impact and Social Entrepreneurs, in the pipeline for end of 2018, with Roots of Impact and others (Ashoka, etc.)

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    7’600’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    4’742’366
Project phases Phase 2 01.11.2018 - 31.12.2023   (Current phase) Phase 1 01.01.2014 - 31.12.2018   (Completed)