What is Danone Communities?
Danone Communities is an Investment Fund. We invest in social businesses that are targeting vulnerable and/or low income consumers, providing access to safe drinking water or nutritious food. We bring capital as well as technical and managerial expertise to entrepreneurs so they can grow their social impact. Starting as a historical partnership with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Pr. M. Yunus to create Grameen Danone in Bangladesh, Danone Communities was created and has invested in social businesses throughout the years from Senegal to Mexico. To date, we support 15 social businesses in 24 countries with more than 11 million beneficiaries.
What is Danone Communities focus?
We have decided to focus on specific social challenges to foster exchange of best practices among businesses and geographies. We support entrepreneurs who have created a business to solve Sustainable Development Goals n°2 (Zero hunger) or n°6 (Clean water and sanitation), impacting also clearly Goal n°1 (No poverty).
What is the difference between Danone Communities and a charity or foundation?
A social business is not a charity: it is a business which was created to solve a given social challenge. The idea behind is that some social issues –not all- can be addressed by a business model and once you have invested a dollar in those businesses the dollar keeps creating value to increase the impact. “A charity dollar has one life – a social business dollar can be invested over and over again” Pr. Muhammad Yunus.
What is your relationship with Danone?
Danone has been one of the catalysts and continues to be a strong supporter. Today Danone is bringing Danone’s employees expertise pro bono to support the social businesses. Danone is among the investors together with others.
How strong is the support from Danone employees?
Employees view Danone Communities as a way to experience the dual project first hand. They thus have a direct involvement. In France, their profit sharing allows them to invest into Danone Communities and any Danone employee can contribute to solve social business challenges. This is possible through the Impact3 program launched by Danone Communities: a leadership program offering different types of contributions to social businesses.
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