Innovest Advisory was a key contributor to a new publication by Business Fights Poverty on the role of business in market-based solutions to the refugee crisis.

Resilience through Refugee-Inclusive Business is a series of briefs which provides practical insights into refugee-inclusive business models and recommendations on how to bring them to scale. The full series is intended to mobilise more business action and strengthen the foundation for partnerships to improve refugees’ wellbeing, education, and economic inclusion so refugees can thrive, not just survive. The hope is that this series will offer tangible, practical ways to realize a shared responsibility approach that views business as more than a source of funding but rather as a key partner in the development of sustainable solutions.

It is a product of the Business Fights Poverty Business and Refugees Challenge supported by Pearson and in partnership with Mercy Corps, UNHCR, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Business Call to Action, and Innovest Advisory.

The publication was also featured in an article on Building Business Models for Refugee Resilience by the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR).

Innovest Advisory is delighted to announce its partnership with the Tent Foundation.

The Tent Partnership for Refugees was founded by Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder and CEO of Chobani. The Tent Foundation seeks to engage with the private sector to address the global refugee crisis by mobilising the networks, resources, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit of the business community.

Through its partnership with the Tent Foundation, Innovest Advisory has committed to mobilise more than $7 million in debt and equity funding over the next two years to invest in projects that will directly support refugees. This commitment is part of Innovest’s strategy to source and curate opportunities for socially motivated investors to invest in commercial business ventures that intentionally benefit refugees and/or host communities.

Innovest Advisory is looking forward to working together with Tent to develop innovative market-based solutions to the current refugee crisis.

The commitment projects include creating new, quality jobs for refugees in the apparel industry in Turkey and Jordan, providing access to finance for refugees in Jordan, Uganda, and Somalia, and offering affordable solar home systems to refugees in Kenya. Innovest will work alongside partner organizations such as the First Syrian Exporters Group, a consortium of Syrian owned garment businesses in Turkey, Pawame, an off-grid solar company in Kenya operating in Kakuma camp, KIMS Microfinance, the leading microfinance provider in Somalia, and FSI, a provider of ethical labor in recruiting and hiring refugees to achieve these objectives. It is estimated that these projects will create more than 6,000 employment opportunities for refugees, in addition to job opportunities for vulnerable populations within host communities.

Innovest Advisory will be joining this years Business Fights Poverty conference in Oxford.

Innovest’s Managing Director, Justin Sykes will moderate a panel on promoting inclusive business models for #Refugees.

The panel which includes representatives from Ben & Jerry’s, the Soros Economic Development Fund and the Oxford Refugees Studies Centre, will discuss contributions business can make to tackle the global refugee crisis including hiring refugees, integrating them into supply chains and investing in new refugee inclusive job creation programmes.

Business Fights Poverty brings together an audience from across business, civil society, academia and government to rethink collaboration for social impact.

Join us and the 300+ innovators and thinkers on the 18th of July, 2018, and get inspired.

As part of Innovest’s quest to support #Refugees, we are a content creation partner for the Business and Refugees Challenge, launched by Business Fights Poverty. We are supporting BfP alongside other key partners that include UNHCR, Mercy Corps, The Thomson Reuters Foundation and Pearson Learning. This Challenge is seeking to identify some of the barriers to mobilising more business support to support refugee livelihoods in low to middle income countries. In the process, numerous examples of innovative business ideas, ambitious commitments, and genuine efforts to support the needs of refugees were identified, including a number of projects which Innovest is supporting.

Read the article here: https://businessfightspoverty.org/articles/what-is-a-refugee-inclusive-business/

“Where others see refugees and other migrants as liabilities, a growing group of investors and entrepreneurs see assets: customers, talent and next-gen leaders.​”​​

This phrase sums up a growing movement globally to seek to address the suffering of refugees and migrants through market-based solutions

This important article by leading impact investment news site Impact Alpha charts the rise of impact investment solutions for displaced people.

Innovest Advisory’s partner KIMS Microfinance is featured as well as our strategic partners, the Tent Foundation, the Soros Economic Development Fund and the Alight Fund.

Innovest stands #WithRefugees today on World Refugee Day. Today is a day on which we commemorate the courage of millions of refugees. It is a key opportunity to show support for families that have been forced to flee conflict and persecution, and for impact investors to start thinking about how they could support market-based solutions to the global refugees crisis.

These solutions operate along the displacement continuum including investments in refugee inclusive businesses in source countries which contribute to peacebuilding and stability, that provide sustainable livelihoods for refugees in host countries and also facilitate the successful intervention of refugees into countries of asylum. Innovest is working with a broad range of socially motivated investors and refugee inclusive businesses to unlock opportunities to support refugee livelihoods at scale.

We provide technical and developmental understanding of the refugee issue and share knowledge on best practice as well as source and curate deal flow of commercial investments that intentionally benefit refugees and/or host communities.

Innovest is a critical partner in the debate on best practice approaches to refugee-inclusive business activities and refugee focused impact investing through its membership in key networks such as the Tent Foundation, Business Fights Poverty and the Alight Fund.

There are a growing number of opportunities to invest in businesses or projects that can create sustainable livelihoods for refugees and that stimulate local economic development for communities globally.

Tent Partnership is mobilizing the private sector to improve the lives of over 20 million men, women & children forcibly displaced from their home countries. The Tent Foundation works closely with businesses to help them develop and implement concrete commitments to support and empower refugees.

Recently, Innovest advisory joined the Tent Partnership and is joining their annual meeting on May 11th. Justin Sykes, our managing director will join a panel discussion on investing in refugees.

There is emerging evidence that refugee populations have high rates of entrepreneurship. For example, Building Markets has found that Syrians have started more than 6,000 companies in Turkey. Yet, many refugees are unable to access capital to start or grow new enterprises that could contribute to local development and create jobs, both for refugees and for host communities. In this session, learn how and why investors are driving capital to refugee entrepreneurs and refugee businesses in a number of different industries, and hear their perspective on how these investments complement their broader portfolios.

Justin will specifically address how Innovest attracts investors to support refugees and refugee outcomes, how we identify a pipeline of refugee projects to support and highlight investable projects in a diverse range of countries, including Turkey, Kenya, Uganda and Somalia.

Innovest is now a partner on the Business Fights Poverty Refugee Challenge.

“There is widespread agreement among humanitarian and development experts that an effective refugee response must not only include emergency relief but also long-term development solutions. This shift is reflected in the draft Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework released by UNHCR early this year, which states “refugees should be included in the communities from the very beginning. When refugees gain access to education and labour markets, they can build their skills and lead a productive life, contributing to local economies and fuelling the development of the communities hosting them.”

“The private sector is an essential partner in strengthening refugee economic inclusion and sustainable livelihoods. Finding the right way for companies to collaborate with the array of NGOs, UN agencies, local governments, among others is particularly challenge when it comes to the complex and protracted nature of the situation of many refugees.”

“This Challenge aims to strengthen the foundation for effective partnerships to improve refugees’ wellbeing and livelihood opportunities so refugees can thrive, not just survive. It will add to the great work by Tent Foundation and others who are demonstrating the important role companies play in supporting refugees through employment, delivering education, providing access to goods and services, and investing in entrepreneurs.”

Innovest’s Michelle McMahon has been invited by the UNDP to participate in its Stakeholder Consultation on ‘Expanding Economic Opportunities for Refugees and Host Communities in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey’ on 5-6 March 2018, in Istanbul. Innovest’s partner First Syrian Exporters Group will join the consultation to discuss it’s efforts, working with refugees, in the ready-made garments industry in South-East Turkey.

The First Syrian Exporters Group (FSEG) is a consortium of ten Syrian owned and operated businesses based in the Turkish city of Kahramanmaras. These businesses were originally from Aleppo, Syria, but due to conflict they were forced to relocate to Turkey in 2011 and are now operating as formally registered Turkish businesses. Kahramanmaras is a historic centre for Turkish textiles, and the FSEG consortium has reestablished operations in the fabric production, knitwear and ready-made garments sectors.

FSEG has an annual production capacity of around 6 million items of clothing and generates approximately €20 million euros in exports, targeting markets in the EU, North America and the Arabian Gulf. Starting with a handful of employees in 2011, the FSEG now employs more than 500 staff of which over 70% are Syrian refugees.

Building on its successes, FSEG is seeking to expand its production capacity. This will help create jobs for Syrian refugees, and have a significant impact on the local Turkish economy – the cotton production and transportation sectors – through increased demand.

In addition, FSEG intends to pilot an innovative employee profit share model – Fair Share – which aims to empower disadvantaged Syrian refugees by giving them a profit share from the sales of particular clothing they make.

FSEG has identified opportunities to partner with multinational apparel companies with existing supply chains in Turkey that are willing to become ‘refugee inclusive’.

Solutions at Scale: How social finance is being used to tackle the refugee crisis

Saïd Business School University of Oxford

Join us for a provocative and insightful Social Impact webinar to discuss the challenges of human migration and creative ways Impact Investing and Social Finance are being used to help enable refugees to safely enter the workforce and expand economic opportunities in their new countries.

Oxford Social finance and Impact Investing Programme Director, Gayle Peterson will facilitate this session, and Innovest’s Managing Director Justin Sykes will join to discuss how development know-how can unlock private capital to tackle global challenges including initiatives designed to create durable livelihoods for vulnerable populations – including refugees.