Social Financial Services

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About Social Financial Services

Social Financial Services

Ashoka created Social Financial Services (SFS) to improve access to financing and sustainable capital in the citizen sector. To date, Ashoka SFS has identified, invested in, and supported more than 40 pioneering Social Investment Entrepreneurs, who are pursuing innovative market-based approaches to create social impact. 

Together they have raised more than $430 million in social investment capital, dispersed more than $825 million in loans to rural communities, and impacted more than 23 million people. In addition, SFS has mobilized more than $500 million in funding for social entrepreneurs through the G-20 Summits by engaging a group of key national leaders to discover and fund these new solutions from social entrepreneurs across the world.

Inspiration

Ashoka Social Financial Services is inspired by the idea that the market has the potential to profoundly improve the quality and character of people’s lives. This belief is motivated by three simple observations: the market affects everyone, it profoundly shapes the fabric of our lives, and it has the potential to be transformative.

Unfortunately, the market is not working as well as it could. Inequality is increasing at a staggering rate. Several billion people are excluded from the formal financial sector. More than 800 million people do not have secure rights to the land under their homes. Too many young people do not see themselves as having a pathway toward a viable livelihood. The opportunity gap between men and women is not going away.

Strategy

To address this, social entrepreneurs around the world are developing promising innovations that create greater alignment between profit seeking and generating impact. When they succeed, these innovations change what it takes to succeed in the market, and as a result, they change where people focus their efforts and deploy their resources. In so doing, these innovations have the potential to shape patterns of market activity on a large scale.
 
Recognizing the potential of these innovations, we are incubating a new strategic focus that seeks to create Well Functioning Markets, where creating value by fostering a broad range of structural innovations generates profits.