To impact global development by deploying innovative solutions to promote academia, influence policy, and enable local social entrepreneurs.
Combining our unique background of international education, humanitarian engagements, and work experience that includes the United Nations, the European Union, and Wall Street, we seek out investors who want a great return on investment, and have a positive impact on the world.
Reports have cited this The Age of Impact Entrepeneurship, with social sector organizations giving investors a chance to see big returns and diversify their portfolio, all while having a positve impact on the world.
We’ve partnered with four pilot projects, covering various social causes, which validate our innovative model. Invest in PATHFINDER and help empower social enterprises around the world.
"Members of the millennial generation that is entering the workforce today want their work to have a purpose beyond merely making money," says a 2014 report by the Social Impact Investment Taskforce titled, "Impact Investment: The Invisible Heart of Markets: Harnessing the Power of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Capital for Public Good."
The report goes on to say that "there has been a steady increase in the number of social sector organizations that raise revenue... by charging for services or products they supply," just as a for-profit organization would.
Some of the leading impact entrepreneurs have created thriving social sector organizations. Sal Khan now provides online tuition to 10 million people a month through his Khan Academy. Andrew Youn helps train 200,000 small farmers in Africa through the One Acre Fund he founded.
Many of these impact entrepreneurs "have already achieved scale through hybrid models, such as Groupe SOS in France which has 11,000 employees, €900 million of revenues and at least one million beneficiaries. In Italy, the CGM Consortium includes 900 social enterprises, 42,000 employees, 800,000 beneficiaries and €1.2 billion of revenues."
Everyone who sets out to make a positive change in the world should be applauded. The more people like that, the better.
There are, however, certain areas in which such organizations could improve.
We see 7 main problems that currently exist:
Charity and aid in general, while perhaps critical in the earlier stages of calamity or necessity, is not a reliable long-term strategy. At PATHFINDER, we enable social entrepreneurs by connecting resources to requirements.
Too many respectable efforts die out over time due to their unsustainable or unscalable nature. PATHFINDER enables projects that are both sustainable and scalable, such as economic advancement, and cumulative financial independence.
Every community in every country has its own specific set of needs, strengths, and challenges. To expect that generic, theoretical models built in far away lands by people of different circumstances and cultures is entirely unrealistic. PATHFINDER’s model of engagement is built to have the ideal amount of structure and flexibility so that each project is entirely customizable.
All too often, money does not properly reach its intended beneficiaries due to mismanagement of funds. To ensure this does not happen, PATHFINDER adheres to internationally approved standards of accounting and transparency that can be verified by independent parties, and by enlisting local partners to do the same.
The international development industry is notorious for providing limited compensation for demanding work. At PATHFINDER, we understand that to solve the world’s greatest problems, we need to attract the world’s best talent, and we should offer competitive, market rate compensation to retain such talent.
We all want to help those in need, but are often held back by the lingering feeling of not knowing where and how our money will actually go. At PATHFINDER, we openly share our body of work, our lessons, and our successes anywhere that they can be of value! We will document all operations for the purposes of transparency, public record keeping, study, research, knowledge sharing and policy-making.
Without the ability to impact policy, every endeavor, no matter how revolutionary and successful, remains limited in its overall effectiveness. From Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits: “High-impact nonprofits understand that they cannot achieve maximum results without advocating for policy reform or without accessing the power and resources of government. To achieve large-scale change, government needs to be part of the solution.”
I. Consulting with Local Social Entrepreneurs
As consultants, we connect financial organizations and especially “impact investors” with promising local social entrepreneurs, while we provide the long term management, support and guidance for each such endeavor.
Once engaged, we deploy to the project site, help build the enterprise, and make sure the investor’s funds are allocated properly and used effectively. Our goal with all projects is to collectively scale up to impact policy, and subsequently create employment and opportunities for others. To enable this, we:
We plan to take on as many projects as possible -- likely 4-5 per consultant per year. Too many, and we won’t be able to be on the ground, assessing the project and resources; too little, and we won’t be able to achieve the type of scale and impact needed.
II. Contributing to Academia
Social Entrepreneurship being an important but fairly recent trend, currently lacks study and documentation. We work with educational institutions and students to reverse this scarcity of information. We do so by participating in lectures, discussions and workshops to help understand the great potential of social entrepreneurship. Finally, we record and publish our findings for easy access, and further reference and analysis.
III. Influencing Policy
By all accounts, there is a large gap between the experts in the field and those who impact policy. Policy makers find that they do not have the relevant grassroots and academic information to implement solutions that have proven successful, sustainable and scalable results. We use our experiences and specific expertise to fill this gap, having access to both, the field and the classroom.
We understand that in order to make a real and lasting difference, we need to establish credibility and prove that our model works. To that end, we have partnered with four pilot projects in: Nepal, India, Ghana and Namibia.
The World Pathfinder Children’s Fund in Nepal
Our first project is with The World Pathfinder Children’s Fund (name relation is just a coincidence!), their mission is to give every child in Nepal access to education.
Their organization works like this: every child sponsored by the fund commits to sponsoring two more children from his or her village upon successful completion of school. Those two children then, upon completing their education, sponsor two more children of their own. And so on and so on.
We see great potential for this model and plan to scale it far beyond Nepal.
Soap Making Sisters (The Drunken Chemists) In India
Two sisters, chemists by trade, handmake ethically-developed, locally-sourced soaps. Our mission is to help this sustainable and socially responsible business become a thriving franchise in rural India, run entirely by women, who will also promote local sanitation.
This is another scalable model that holds promise beyond India.
Check out a video that explains these two projects
Agri-Cycle is an agribusiness startup run by three Namibians who have an excellent, locally-sourced, sustainable and scalable plan to convert organic waste into potent protein to use as fodder and such, 100% of which is currently imported. There are actually several national and regional uses for their model, which also creates fertilizer and biodiesel.
This organization holds fantastic potential for larger profits and social impact in and around the country of Namibia.
Check out their innovative project here.
Bleeding Sunshine is an original and entertaining feature film in its production stage with a strong social commentary on the international epidemic of human trafficking, which plagues many African nations today. Ghana, where the film takes place, has been established over the past several years as a globally recognized emerging film market, with hundreds of films produced every year.
Check out the trailer here.
Having established PATHFINDER in March 2015, we are already making great strides. We have secured a major partner and client in the University of Surrey, covering many of our academic objectives, and have deployed a successful humanitarian mission to deliver aid to Syrian refugees, focusing on migration policy and delivering essential aid.
Regarding our work with social entrepreneurs, our pilot projects are currently functional in their own capacities, and we are ready to deploy them in PATHFINDER’s undertaking as soon as we have raised the funds to do so.
Our extensive experience and connections in the international development industry will allow us to source and vet projects quickly and accurately, ensuring investors see the kind of results they expect.
Impact investors also have the option to invest in individual projects as well as in PATHFINDER as a whole. Investors who want to support the larger mission should consider funding the entire consulting service though, which has the power to do good in more than one area. PATHFINDER’s unique business model holds the potential to spearhead a new industry paradigm and backing this organization will position the investor at its start.
How? Our new and innovative model:
PATHFINDER co-founders Shivani Singh and Jessica van Thiel met in Mauritius in 2012, while Jess was working with the United Nations and Shivani was visiting a mutual friend and senior member at the organization. Today, they manage all aspects of PATHFINDER together.
Shivani has grown up around the world, having lived in five countries and travelled seventeen. From the time she left for boarding school at age 10, she has been on her own, developing a strong sense of self and a passion for helping others. Upon completing her education (BBA in Information Systems Management and MS in Information Management), Shivani established herself in New York City’s tough and competitive Financial Industry before launching PATHFINDER. Shivani is a strong communicator and is varyingly functional in six languages.
Shivani prides herself a citizen of the world and is passionately engaged in its affairs. Her enthusiasm coupled with the education and skills she has acquired through her experiences have enabled her to become a strong candidate for success: one with passion, experience and fortitude to offer. Shivani is committed, more than anything else, to being a good human being.
Having lived and worked in Canada, the United Arab Emirates, France, South Africa, Mauritius, and Belgium, Jess has a vast body of international experience. Her focus has been in aid and development, human rights, advocacy, international security programs, communications, research and science policy.
Jess holds many degrees: an MA in Human Security and Peacebuilding and Conflict Analysis and Management, a Certificate in International Law, an MA Certificate in Human Rights Defenders Programme, and BAs in Political Science, International Relations, and Languages and Communications.
Her passion to advocate policies and sustainable strategies that directly benefit minority groups and the impoverished are what motivated her to co-found PATHFINDER!
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