A quick background on Omidyar
Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic, social, and political change. To date, Omidyar Network has committed more than $290 million to for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple investment areas, including microfinance, property rights, government transparency, and social media.
Omidyar Network this week announced a three-year, $30 million commitment to support global entrepreneurship, especially in India and Sub-Saharan Africa. Omidyar Network aims to improve the quality of life for more than 10 million people living in extreme poverty by investing in entrepreneurial ventures, particularly those providing goods and services to the base of the pyramid – read as the mwananchi. Omidyar Network’s “commitment to action” was made at the Clinton Global Initiative’s fifth annual meeting in New York City.
Omidyar Network’s investment into emerging market entrepreneurship seeks to ignite innovation and foster a more entrepreneurial culture within these countries. Omidyar Network focuses on high-impact entrepreneurs, those with a proven business model and the ability to scale their operations to serve hundreds of thousand or millions living at the base of the pyramid.
“Imagine what’s possible if entrepreneurship flourishes worldwide. Omidyar Network aims to create opportunity for entrepreneurs to succeed; when they do, so do their families and communities,” said Matt Bannick, Managing Partner, Omidyar Network. “People living in poverty are often ignored by mainstream businesses; we will prioritize our support for entrepreneurs providing services and products that can improve quality of life for those most in need.”
Through its commitment, Omidyar Network will support both for-profit and nonprofit entrepreneurs striving to overcome daunting barriers to success, including scarce risk capital, poor regulatory and physical infrastructure and limited models for success.
Omidyar Network selected India and Sub-Saharan Africa due to the large numbers of people living in poverty and the potential social impact increased entrepreneurship will bring – from improved access to goods and services to increased employment opportunities.