Today we hear from Arielle Molino of Intellecap, which is a firm that supports business solutions to poverty through consulting, impact investing activities, and the Sankalp conferences in India and East Africa.
On this episode you’ll learn:
- Why Arielle doesn’t like to say “profit versus impact” but instead “profit and impact” and her viewpoint that they are not competitive interests. She explains that this can be achieved when the impact is inherent in the business model itself.
- Arielle highlights the importance of listening to and understanding the customer needs – focusing on whether the product is too expensive, not easy to use, etc. – and shaping a business model around that, not trying to start with a customer segment with a certain purchasing power.
- Arielle explains that even for enterprises that are targeting the BOP, it is important still to do customer segmenting, as there are very real customer differences between low BOP and medium BOP.
- With specific customer knowledge, enterprises are able to build products that enhance their clients’ productivity or quality of life, no matter where they are on the income spectrum, which is the real impact of the company.
- She also notes that she doesn’t think it is always the case that entrepreneurs must target higher income customers, as it has been proven time and again that those companies can breakeven, it is just a question of scale and timing.
- She does not advocate, however, that everything needs to be a business or be profitable, but it is important to know and acknowledge the difference between social businesses and social services.
- Arielle also talks about the importance of the entrepreneur being able to “sell” or be convincing of the impact story of the company, as investors and donors have very diverse impact lenses. But she also makes it clear that the founder needs to be able to back up their impact story with data.
- She also recommends entrepreneurs not to be too focused on the having to have every detail of their impact model figured, as the concept is not black and white for most stakeholders, even those very experienced in the impact space.
- Arielle tells us that if an enterprise has a good business model, a high quality management team, and the impact is there, the money will come.
- She also wants entrepreneurs to be picky about their investors and make sure that the investors are aligned with their business and do due diligence on the investors as well.
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