Our goal: Build businesses that help reduce hunger, increase food security, and promote sustainable agriculture.
Nearly one billion people around the world are undernourished.1 The global population is growing, and natural resources are increasingly limited. Improving agricultural and food systems is critical to meeting global food needs while protecting environmental resources, as agriculture accounts for 70% of worldwide water use2 and more than 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions.3 Moreover, research has shown that agriculture-driven economic growth is two to three times more effective at reducing poverty than growth originating in other sectors.4 At the same time, food and agriculture, a $5 trillion industry worldwide,5 has enormous market potential. Driven by a growing middle class, global crop demand is expected to more than double by 20506, and demand for meat in South Asia alone will likely quadruple between 2005 and 20307. Innovative business models are needed in both developing and developed markets to improve efficiency, access, and nutritional quality.
Joy Basu is the Food and Agriculture Sector Lead.
Our goal: Build businesses that expand access to educational attainment, boost educational achievement, and strengthen pathways to employment.
A quality education is the most direct path to opportunity. However, 132 million children, mostly in developing countries, never attend primary or secondary school.8 In the US, two thirds of 8th graders cannot read proficiently9 and less than 30% of community college students earn a degree in six years. Globally, more than 50% of college graduates do not believe their education improved their career prospects.10 Innovative education businesses can significantly improve these outcomes, and governments and non-profits are increasingly exploring private sector partnerships. Global spending on K-12 education is approximately $2.2 trillion,11 and private school enrollment is twice as high as it was 20 years ago.12 Investment by parents, students, and educators is rising, increasing 20% in developing countries between 2010 and 2015.13
John Rogers is the Education Sector Lead.
Our goal: Build businesses that enable affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.
More than one billion people lack access to reliable energy,14 and roughly a billion more rely on inadequate energy15. This hampers development—approximately 60% of African businesses say unreliable power constrains their growth16. Energy costs in developing markets can be 150 times that in developed markets,17 and despite having abundant renewable resources, many rely on dangerous sources, such as wood, kerosene, coal, and animal waste. More than 4 million people die prematurely every year as a result of cooking and heating their homes with open flames.18 Energy is one of the largest contributors to climate change, with the majority of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the use of fossil fuels.19 It is also one of the largest industries in the world, expected to require $48 trillion of investment through 2035 with $6 trillion just for renewables generation.20 As renewable energy becomes more competitive, business demand rises, and cleaner energy sources become a global focus, there are compelling opportunities for growth in the sector.
Rick Needham is the Energy Sector Lead.
Our goal: Build businesses that expand financial inclusion, with the goal of reducing poverty by increasing household and small business earnings and enabling access to essential services.
2.5 billion adults worldwide do not have access to formal financial services, and more than half of the lower income population in developing countries is unbanked and uninsured.21 43% of small and medium enterprises in low-income countries report that access to credit and cost of capital are major constraints to productivity and growth.22 Financial services are critical to financial security and business building, and financial inclusion multiplies the effects of economic development, enabling access to housing, education, healthcare, and energy as well as fostering business activity. The growing need for financial services in developing countries is matched by a growing market to support it, particularly in financial technology (FinTech), which has the potential to expand access to financial services and can reduce the costs of transactions, which currently erode payment value by an average of 7.7% worldwide.23
Maya Chorengel is the Financial Services Sector Lead.
Our goal: Build businesses that reduce the cost of health care, increase access to high-quality health services and health-saving interventions, decrease malnutrition, and improve access to clean water and consumer goods that improve health outcomes.
More than a billion people lack sufficient health services,24 and only 50% of women in developing countries receive the recommended health care.25 In Sub-Saharan Africa, 115 people die every hour from diseases linked to poor sanitation, poor hygiene, and contaminated water.26 Globally, chronic non-communicable diseases like diabetes are on the rise.27 There is an opportunity to connect an active global healthcare market with the urgent need for basic, quality health services in the developing world and improve care throughout the global healthcare system.
Our goal: Build businesses that accelerate digital inclusion and leverage software and mobile technology to drive efficiency, productivity, and innovation in education, healthcare, financial services, business operations, job creation, media, and communications.
Only 4% of households in low-income countries have internet access, versus 81% in high-income countries.28 This hinders development across all The Rise Fund’s target sectors. Increasing internet penetration expands access to healthcare, education, and financial services, and research has shown that a 10% increase in mobile penetration can add 4.2 percentage points to a country’s economic productivity.29 Not only is the market for Technology, Media, and Telecommunications (TMT)—a $6 trillion industry as of 201330—growing, but innovative TMT can leapfrog expensive and antiquated infrastructure, dramatically extending the reach and benefits of basic technologies such as the internet, mobile broadband, computing, and cloud-based software.
Brian Dunlap is the Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Sector Lead.
Our goal: Build business that provide stable, affordable housing, efficient transportation, and low-cost input materials for the production of basic goods.
With over half the world population now living in cities,31 efficient mass transport and clean energy are becoming ever more important, as is quality housing, as 235 million urban households rely on substandard housing for shelter.32 Growth infrastructure is needed to create jobs and enhance the productivity of SMEs, which are hampered by weak commercial distribution channels, stalling economic development in countries with little domestic or regional trade. Taking advantage of advancements in communication, social networks, and digital technology is key to finding lasting solutions to both economic and environmental challenges. The need for global infrastructure development is driving investment, and infrastructure spending is expected to grow from $4 trillion in 2012 to $9 trillion in 2025.33