Innovation is the key to creating sustainable programmes. Whether it's helping communities find financial solutions, using technology to improve crops or developing clean-energy strategies to save people money, our approach means trying different solutions and growing and replicating the ones that work best.
The toughest challenges demand the boldest ideas. That’s why Mercy Corps identifies self-sustaining, scalable business ideas that can break through cycles of poverty and deliver social benefit to millions of people in the developing world.
How we innovate
Mercy Corps tests ideas in the field, measures the results, and scales the most promising solutions.
Mercy Corps’ 5,500 global team members
Our on-the-ground insight into how local markets and systems function gives us a deep understanding of the problems people face every day — and our teams are constantly generating promising new ideas to address them.
With support from our Social Ventures Team
With expertise in business, finance, technology, product design and consumer insight, Mercy Corps’ Social Ventures team turns ideas into scalable businesses in emerging markets, acting like an internal incubation and acceleration lab.
With you: Mercy Corps Social Venture Fund
Mercy Corps’ Social Venture Fund provides early-stage financing to build social businesses and drive them toward commercial viability. Supported through philanthropic donations, the Social Venture Fund advises and invests in Mercy Corps’ highest-potential emerging ventures — those that are able to demonstrate strong potential for financial sustainability, social impact and scale. Learn more and partner with us ▸
Through partnerships: Innovation Investment Alliance
Mercy Corps works with USAID and the Skoll Foundation to help proven, transformative and innovative organizations reach millions of people globally. Together, the Alliance invests in opportunities across the globe and in multiple sectors to create widespread positive transformation. Learn more ▸
Innovations: Our track record
Poverty. Hunger. Conflict. Mercy Corps sees the world’s toughest challenges as an invitation to bring big ideas and bold action together with local insight. But our goal is always the same: to strengthen families so they can build better lives.
What's possible when we think differently and pursue bold ideas? Our impact:
Stronger small businesses. Our specialized micro-insurance products and eight microfinance institutions have connected countless entrepreneurs with resources and expertise.
Bigger harvests. We bring together the right people — and technology — so farmers have the knowledge and tools they need to produce more and earn more.
Better family health. We make sure families have the products and information they need to stay healthy, whether it’s a microfranchise of mini health shops, or clean cookstoves and solar lanterns.
A cultural bridge
The city of Mitrovicë/a in Kosovo is very often described by the media as a city of trouble. The most beautiful bridge in the country — with the Ibar/Ibër River flowing beneath — divides this city in half.
Simple is sustainable
Looking at the simple and inexpensive — yet powerful — ways to help on our Home page, I’m reminded how needlessly complicated humanitarian assistance can become.
A Pioneer in Social Innovations
We believe that solving social problems in the developing world requires a blending of sustainable, entrepreneurial strategies with the deep knowledge of culture and context that comes from working alongside local communities each day.
Tom Keffer: The Global Urge to Succeed
United States: John Haines: Filling a Niche
When Mohammad Yunus won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for championing small-scale lending to the world's poor, most U.S. microfinanciers probably took it as an affirmation of their own good works. Not John Haines.
Jonathan Dill: Far from Typical
The problems of the developing world would usually be one of the last things on the mind of a typical American teenager, let alone something like the spread of waterborne diseases. But Jonathan Dill is far from typical.
William Early: Education for the Global Economy
William Early is a rare breed of social entrepreneur: a businessman and philanthropist whose contributions range well beyond donations.
Neal Keny-Guyer: Social Entrepreneurship at Mercy Corps
Recently we sat down with Neal Keny-Guyer to talk about the agency’s long history with social entrepreneurship – and how he feels about winning Fast Company’s 2008 Social Capitalist Award.