Displaced people are not just refugees; they are employees and employers, consumers and suppliers, and business and political leaders.

In our latest publication with the Amahoro Coalition we explore how the private sector can empower refugee communities, developing commercially-viable programs in refugee settings that:

  1. Strengthen access to affordable education
  2. Provide capital to scale refugee-inclusive businesses
  3. Support market access for refugee-owned enterprises

These solutions not only empower refugee communities, but they also create a pool of talent, a thriving market place and enhance partnership opportunities within the private sector.

Read the full publication here


About the Amahoro Coalition 

Amahoro Coalition is an African-led initiative convening business leaders from the region to spearhead the engagement of the private sector in transforming refugee communities. Focusing on education and livelihoods, the Coalition amplifies existing refugee initiatives, stimulates awareness and interest among businesses across the region, generates solutions by facilitating concrete private sector commitments, and serves as a dynamic hub to catalyse policies that encourage companies to integrate refugees within their supply chains.

Private wealth managers are increasingly finding that clients’ priorities and expectations are changing. Concerns around the climate crisis, growing inequality across the world combined with millennial values around sustainability gaining prominence are creating greater interest in deploying capital that achieves specific purpose driven outcomes.

Moreover, wealthy millennials tend to take a more targeted and engaged approach to their philanthropic interests than previous generations. At the core of their efforts to achieve impact is a considered and strategic approach around the environmental and social outcomes they intend to achieve through their philanthropic giving and impact investment decisions.

ESG funds can go some way to answer these demands, using both positive and negative screens. Negative screens effectively use risk-based principles to screen out investments which have negative impact, whilst positive screens are used to select investments which represent best performing companies according to Environmental, Social and Governance criteria. However, there is a growing demand from next-generation philanthropists and impact investors for more targeted impact to be achieved through their deployment of capital. That is, impact-first investments or philanthropic donations that are highly intentional and measurable.

This growing market for deep impact investments with measurable outcomes requires specialist skills, bringing together the need for expertise in social and environmental development, finance and technology.

Innovest Advisory is an independent development consultancy firm which provides such services, supporting the design and implementation of market-based solutions for some of the world’s most challenging environmental and social problems.

We partner with families, family offices, foundations, charitable trusts and other stakeholders in the private wealth sector to provide a broad range of impact related services. We assist wealth managers, trustees and advisors in delivering impactful solutions to their clients, through the provision of a team of specialists to support their engagements and solutions. Support includes strategy development, product design, endowment modelling, due diligence, impact measurement and ongoing reporting.

“Historically, we have found private wealth advisors often turning to “cookie-cutter” ESG funds, in response to clients demands for impact solutions, rather than exploring more innovative and deep impact options” said Innovest Advisory, Managing Director Justin Sykes. “A good example of where we have added value has been our engagement with a Swiss based family trust to build a $5 million impact investment portfolio for a next-gen family member. This work included impact investment focussed research, sourcing opportunities screened against a set of co-designed impact investment guidelines, engagement with investors relations leads at the prospection portfolio companies, and generating impact reports for effective measurement and monitoring.”

Innovest is excited to strengthen its private wealth engagement capability by welcoming Philip Faure as an associate in the business.

Philip Faure commented “It’s a real privilege to join a team of such committed and deep specialists in an industry that is fast becoming mainstream. The world needs urgent solutions to address the growing social and environmental challenges that our generation faces. The role of the private wealth sector in funding market-based solutions to address the gaps that governments and development agencies cannot fill is becoming more and more critical. Philip continued, “I have no doubt that Innovest can provide significant support in enabling the private wealth sector to play a major role in addressing these global challenges.”

Responding to Philip’s appointment, Justin Sykes said, “At Innovest Advisory, we believe that it is only through collaboration and partnerships that we can effect the change we urgently need to see in the world. Philip brings new ideas, networks and technical skills which expand our expertise and capabilities enabling us to offer an enhanced service to private clients.”

Displacement is a critical issue, disrupting societies across the world and attracting significant attention from the international community. Indeed, the UNHCR estimates there are over 79 million people displaced worldwide, the largest number since World War II. The problem is most significantly pronounced on the African continent, which hosts over one-third of the global forcibly displaced population. The number includes 17.8 million internally displaced persons, 7.4 million refugees, and 712,000 stateless persons (UNHCR).

In addition, the COVID-19 crisis has further exacerbated the long-term negative conditions endured by vulnerable refugee communities, through the loss of income, employment uncertainty, and decreased allocation of humanitarian budgets – placing them into positions of increasing economic precarity. In these unprecedented times, more significantly than ever before, securing stable formal employment remains problematic for displaced populations, with many dependent on humanitarian aid or engaging in informal sector employment.

Recognising the urgent plight of displaced populations in Africa, two leading displacement focused intermediaries, Innovest Advisory and the Amahoro Coalition, have come together to support the design and implementation of market-based approaches to achieving sustainable livelihoods for displaced Africans.

Both partners recognise the critical role the private sector and private capital have to play in achieving reliable, long-term solutions for displaced persons. Private sector displacement inclusive business and investment models benefit communities twofold, through their ability to educate, train, and employ refugees, and through the provision of products and services that improve their quality of life.

Innovest brings to the partnership its historic experience in refugee inclusive market-based solutions including support to the design of the world’s first displacement inclusive private equity concept with Developing World Markets and a refugee-inclusive SME support technology platform with the International Trade Centre.

Amahoro contributes its expertise and stakeholder commitment to refugee solutions including partnerships with the UNHCR Office for the Horn of Africa, International Rescue Committee (IRC), World Economic Forum, and more. Amahoro is one of the few organisations mobilising the African private sector to be actively involved in refugee economic inclusion. Leveraging its networks and knowledge, Amahoro has supported refugee-focused multilateral organisations in strategically engaging private sector partners.

Innovest and Amahoro will collaborate to design and curate displacement inclusive market-focused projects on the African continent and facilitate their connection with funding and technical support. In addition, Innovest shall formally join the Governing Committee of the Amahoro Coalition and Amahoro will become a regional advisor to Innovest.

“I am delighted to announce this partnership with the Amahoro Coalition,” Justin Sykes, Innovest Advisory Managing Director, said. “As we seek to enable an environment for the deployment of public and private capital and capabilities into livelihoods and local economic development solutions for displaced populations in Africa, partnering with Amahoro their extensive network of business leaders, non-governmental experts and private investors will be invaluable to these efforts.”

According to Amahoro Coalition founder, Isaac Kwaku Fokuo Jr.,

“Africa’s protracted refugee crisis needs transformative and sustainable solutions to be able to empower these vulnerable communities to access better opportunities. Additionally, we recognize the importance of working with market leaders and other partners in leveraging our collective expertise to address this crisis. We are delighted to bring on board Innovest as one of our partners whose experience is especially valuable as we create and deploy innovative and market-based solutions to empower refugee communities across Africa” 

Isaac Kwaku Fokuo Jr.

About Innovest Advisory

Innovest Advisory is a development consultancy firm that seeks to unleash the power of public and private capital to address some of the world’s most challenging issues. Our mission is to support the creation and scaling of sustainable market-based solutions to development challenges in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Innovest supports public and private impact stakeholders and social impact initiatives with a range of advisory and project management services. On behalf of our clients, we develop innovative funding and development tools leveraging our expansive network that seeks to contribute funding, know-how, and capabilities to achieve agreed development outcomes.

About the Amahoro Coalition 

Amahoro Coalition is an African-led initiative convening business leaders from the region to spearhead the engagement of the private sector in transforming refugee communities. Focusing on education and livelihoods, the Coalition amplifies existing refugee initiatives, stimulates awareness and interest among businesses across the region, generates solutions by facilitating concrete private sector commitments, and serves as a dynamic hub to catalyse policies that encourage companies to integrate refugees within their supply chains.

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.