East Champion Union Cooperative Agricola                                            

Photo by VladimirGerasimov/iStock / Getty Images

AXINTELE, ROMANIA             “Champion’’ is the Romanian word for mushroom. Completed in 2015, East Champion Union is the first commercial scale mushroom compost factory in Romania that provides the main input to growers throughout the country and region. Prior to the existence of East Champion growers would be forced to truck in compost from long distances adding substantial costs to the growers.  Now Romania is poised to not only meet its own internal consumption demands, but to also become a substantial exporter to surrounding countries.  East Champion is creating hundreds of new jobs in rural areas while providing a valuable sustainable food source.  

                                                                                                            Acadia Harvest, Inc.

ORR'S ISLAND, MAINE                         Founded in 2011 by two marine biologists, AHI 's mission is to meet the world’s growing need for protein by producing high quality, sustainable yellowtail and black sea bass using leading edge techniques in Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) and Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA).  They recognize the need for more sustainably produced proteins, a direct result of wild fisheries pressured to the point of saturation and a relentless increase in world population (estimated to reach 9.5 billion people by 2050). Aquatic proteins are - by far - the most efficient and environmentally responsible way to produce highly nutritious proteins, far surpassing fowl, swine and beef. An example of AHI's forward thinking is their 2014 proposal to the National Science Foundation of research and development plan whereby IMTA concepts could be paired to an RAS fish production system. Marine invertebrates and algae could be utilized to process excess fish feed, along with liquid and solid fish wastes, in a manner that would yield several valuable by-products. Innovative thinking such as this paves the way for continued advancements in sustainable aquatic protein production and sets the standard for future development.


Ocean's Balance


PORTLAND, MAINE                               Ocean's Balance kelp products are a delicious and nutritious addition to the daily diet, as well as natural means of maintaining the pristine waters of the Maine coast. Rich in iodine - a mineral that most people lack - this diverse sea vegetable plays an essential role in naturally regulating the body's metabolism. Plus it's high in protein, low in calories, carbohydrates and fat, and is gluten-free. Kelp also acts as a natural filter by absorbing from the ocean nitrogen and phosphorous - both of which it needs to thrive - resulting in a clean, blue sea.  Responsibly grown and harvested in Maine's Casco Bay, Ocean's Balance's commitment to the environment is unquestioned, with company practices that do not rely on arable land, fertilizers, or fresh water.  Ocean's Balance also provides jobs for coastal communities struggling to adapt to collapsed wild fish stocks caused by overfishing. “Kelp yourself” to good health and vibrant oceans with Ocean's Balance. 


BANGALORE, INDIA                           Janalakshmi is a new age financial institution for the underserved. It has its roots in an incubated initiative called Sanghamitra Urban Programme (SUP), set up by one of India’s most respected rural NGOs called Myrada (Mysore Resettlement and Development Agency). Janalakshmi's first group loan, in October 2000, marks what is possibly the earliest instance of urban microfinance in India. In 16 months we had loaned 10 million rupees. All the while our small core team was trying to understand the aspirations and challenges of the urban poor, and also the role financial services could play in enabling them to script their success. What we learnt in those early years continues to shape Janalakshmi today as we move into this phase of our growth. The large urban underserved want more than loans. Like all of us they, too, want a place to keep their hard-earned savings, they want health and life insurance, pensions and retirement plans, financial support to expand micro enterprises, loans to put children through school. In short: a full-service financial institution to fuel their dreams.  By continuing to strengthen the key pillars of the organisation, and by partnering with leading global institutions, Janalakshmi is closer to being exactly such an institution for the growing and aspirational urban underserved. We tell them: Likho apni kahani (write your story).


Procredit Holding


LATIN AMERICA and                 EASTERN EUROPE                                 The Procredit Group combines high development impact with commercial success for its shareholders. It is made up of development-oriented banks operating in Eastern Europe and Latin America, as well as a bank in Germany. ProCredit banks help create transparent, inclusive financial sectors in developing countries and transition economies. A functioning and fair financial system, which enables people to save, and businesses to invest and expand, is important for economic and social development.  ProCredit banks are the “house bank” for very small, small and medium-sized businesses, and provide simple savings services for ordinary people. The house bank concept means that we do not just provide loans to small businesses, we provide the range of modern financial services which they may need to prosper: account services such as a e-Banking, cards and efficient transactions; advice on liquidity management or accounting and reporting; payroll, documentary business and trade finance, as well as savings and personal banking services for the family unit. Our services help businesses expand and operate more efficiently, and our advice improves management skills. The businesses we work with cover a broad spectrum of simple enterprises, which provide livelihoods for many families and ordinary people, as well as growing SMEs which have the potential to prosper, create new jobs and drive economic growth.


                                                                                Sinapi Aba Trust


KUMASI, GHANA                                   The mission of Sinapi Aba is to serve as the “Mustard Seed’’ through which opportunities for enterprise development and income generation are provided to the economically disadvantaged to transform their lives. Our vision of Sinapi Aba is to become a sustainable institution dedicated to the building of a nation where the strong help the weak and all people have the dignity of providing for themselves, their families, their church and the community. Key objectives are expressed in terms of the expectations of all major stakeholders identified as clients, board, employees and society. To this end, the company aims to:

  • Provide financial services or credit needs to small and micro business ventures
  • Contribute positively to poverty alleviation through micro-enterprise stimulation and job creation for increased income among the poor
  • Fill the vacuum created by the formal sector Commercial Banks and Finance Companies in administering credit and financial services to small and micro enterprises
  • Provide the Banking services to our cherish customers most of whom have difficulty in dealing with commercial banks
  • Provide branchless services to our cherished customers