danone.communities: How does it work?
danone.communities supports selected projects from a financial point of view, investing in their capital to support their growth, but also in a operational perspective, by seconding experts Danone and mobilizing an ecosystem of partners that can strengthen their business models and their social impact.
The Board of Directors danone.communities is composed of 12 members: personalities and pioneers in the development actors. History, personal commitment or professional background of those who motivate their involvement and contribution to the project danone.communities. Their knowledge or interest in the problems of developing countries, their experience with communities and their diverse geographical origins make this collaboration a real force for the project. All are convinced that there is now a real place in the economy to the "social business".
Investment projects are initiated and reviewed by our Social Innovation Committee. Led by Danone, the Committee is made up of Danone representatives and independent members with recognized expertise in socially responsible investment and emerging economies.
The Committee reviews, analyzes and selects social business projects, then refers them to our Orientation Committee, the majority of whose members are independent from Danone.Learn more
Danone plays an active role in danone.communities in several ways:
The group has invested €20 million in the fund, which has a target value of €100 million. Danone thus owns neither the fund nor any of its projects, and the fund itself holds only a minority share in each project.
Danone contributes expertise in dairy farming and technology, water, and child and adult nutrition. To put this to work, it seconds group employees with the necessary know how to assist the fund’s partners and their projects, from product design to industrial processes, from the supply chain to marketing and sales.
Danone also supports social entrepreneurs with a team of world-class specialists from a variety of areas. These include NGOs, microcredit banks, private entities, universities, and other institutions of higher learning -- wherever talented people are willing to use their skills to fight poverty.
Danone is not just the initiator of danone.communities and a main investor in the fund: it also provides continuing support for our development by :
- undertaking to cover all the fund's operating expenses each year
- contributing Danone resources and expertise.
Surveys, studies, guidance and on-site technical support provided by the group help keep our social business projects viable, and dozen Danone staff members contribute expertise in finance, sales and marketing, R&D and project management.Learn more
Innovative as it may be, danone.communities is still a mutual fund (SICAV) open to all, providing opportunities to invest in businesses that create economic and social value at grassroots level. By offering you new investment options, we join with you in creating more possibilities for social progress.
Why did we choose the investment fund option?
Because it can attract investors in large numbers:
> with at least 90% of assets placed in low-risk fixed-income securities (money and/or bond markets)
> with at most 10% placed in an FCPR venture-capital fund, which finances social business projects.
In short, the danone.communities fund is an investment vehicle in its own right, with the special human touch that comes from social commitment.
If you have plans for a social business or are already a social entrepreneur, you can apply to danone.communities for consideration as an investment target. Applications are judged on three criteria: convergence, potential and efficacy.
- danone.communities considers projects that improve health and living conditions for poor communities with a measurable social impact. They must be aligned with Danone's mission of bringing health through food to as many people as possible.
- Danone must be able to contribute expertise and experience, in particular by seconding managers or technicians to projects as needed.
- Danone.communities supports social entrepreneurs while remaining a minority shareholder. New projects must offer a good fit with existing danone.communities partnerships.
Throughout 2012, the danone.communities blog has eagerly shared the latest developments in our own projects, news from the world of social business, and the ideas that make social business so compelling.
Here are just a few of the year’s highlights as mentioned on our blog:
At the beginning of the year, Fortune Magazine named Muhammad Yunus as one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time, alongside Apple’s Steve Jobs and Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Perhaps not by coincidence, it was Bangladeshi Nazia Zebin who won the project grant in our Social Business Youngsters competition on Facebook. A 24-years-old student, Nazia is committed to promoting access to culture for everyone in Bangladesh, including rural residents. In May, she traveled to Paris for the Global Communities Meeting, where she met experts from the social business community who had come to work together and imagine the solutions and initiatives of the future.
Our midyear highlight is always June 28: Social Business Day, celebrating the people who practice social business around the world. Here in Paris, danone.communities held a conference to give them a voice and to continue our mission of raising awareness of social business.
During the 2012 edition of Global Communities Meeting in Paris, danone.communities has initiated a new meeting, before the conference with Pr. Yunus. This special meeting was called Experts Workshops Meeting.
Since its creation in 2007, danone.communities has been evolving in a partnership’s galaxy and has never walked alone. Indeed, Grameen Danone Foods Ltd, the 1rst project, originally started thanks to its partners: Grameen Bank. Without the Grameen Bank’s knowledge and expertise, Danone would have met much more difficulties to enter this new territory. Moreover, without the support of Care Bangladesh, it would have been much harder to settle up again the door-to-door sales network in 2008, after the milk crisis.
With years and with projects, the partners’ network got wider and today it gathers about 50 partners, for 10 projects. At danone.communities, we know that all these partners are experts of specific topics: micro-distribution, finance, social impact…
While designing the Global Communities Meeting 2012, the danone.communities team has decided to gather more experts in the same place to make emerge learnings and knowledge to share and spread good practices or things to avoid for a social business project.
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