USAID Convenes Partnership to “Prime the Pump” for Social Entrepreneurship

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), with General Atlantic, Newman’s Own Foundation, The Pershing Square Foundation, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and Echoing Green announced a three-year partnership which will invest in young entrepreneurs who are pioneering innovative new models to address global development challenges.

Through the partnership, USAID will commit $2 million to support the project, which will be matched by an additional $2 million in support from its partners.

The partnership will select and invest in twenty young social innovators working in developing countries in two classes of the Echoing Green Global Fellows Program. The project goal is to “prime the pump” for global social entrepreneurship, both by supporting individual entrepreneurs, and by fostering the growth of social entrepreneurship ecosystems and increasing awareness and support for social innovators in developing countries. Entrepreneurship and innovation are proven economic drivers that help create jobs and reduce poverty through sustainable market-based solutions.

“We are proud to partner with organizations like Echoing Green that have a legacy of proven, smart investing in successful social entrepreneurs, including City Year, SKS Microfinance, and One Acre Fund,” said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah. “In order to answer President Obama’s call to end extreme poverty in the next two decades, we need exactly these kinds of strategic partnerships to encourage young people to take their innovative, game-changing social enterprises to scale.”

Fellows in each class will receive financial and technical support over a two-year period to work on their innovative new models of global development solutions. The partners, along with Echoing Green Fellows, will share best practices within the social enterprise community to support the advancement of the social entrepreneurship ecosystem through a range of events and field building activities coordinated with USAID Missions and Echoing Green.

Echoing Green President Cheryl Dorsey stated that “we are grateful to USAID and our partners at General Atlantic, Newman’s Own Foundation, the Pershing Square Foundation, and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. This partnership is timely because of the moment in which the field of social entrepreneurship finds itself. A confluence of powerful factors such as the field’s ability to mobilize hundreds of thousands of committed young people as community problem-solvers; promote high-impact cross-sector collaborations; and catalyze new thinking about investment strategies that generate financial and social and environmental returns has ‘tipped’ the field into a true global social movement for positive change.”