Mission & History

Mission

To reduce global poverty through economic self-empowerment.
Unitus Labs is the R&D labs for the Unitus Family

Approach

We focus on market-based solutions which provide opportunities for millions of people in poverty in developing countries to increase their income and improve their well-being. With emphasize “more income”, because with more disposable income people are empowered to make choices to improve their own lives and the futures of their families. More about the Unitus Family Approach >

History

Unitus Labs, a USA 501(c)(3) non-profit, was setup in 2000. (Unitus, Inc. was renamed to Unitus Labs in 2011.)

Unitus Labs’ first major initiative was Microfinance Acceleration which focused on supporting the development of a new generation of high-growth microfinance institutions (MFIs) to bring quality microfinance products to underserved markets much sooner than the existing MFIs could accomplish on their own. In 2010, with 22 MFI partners serving more than 12 million poor clients, Unitus Labs’ board determined that it had achieved its strategic goals for microfinance acceleration. As a result, Unitus Labs would fulfill its existing partnership commitments, but would not initiate new microfinance partnerships. In 2011, Unitus Labs launched it final microfinance grant program called India Microfinance Innovations.

In 2008, Unitus Labs launched the Sorensen-Unitus Ultra-Poor Initiative … an effort to identify opportunities to enhance the income-generating capacity for those people too poor to benefit from exising microfinance. This initiative is expected to conclude by the end of 2011.

In 2009, Unitus Labs launched the Social Performance Management project as an effort to improve metrics on the impact of microfinance on the lives of borrowers. In 2010, this project was transfered to MicroSave for completion.

In 2009, Unitus Labs opened the Africa Microfinance Growth Centre in Nairobi, Kenya to help identify and catalyze stronger microfinance outreach for poor populations in rural East Africa. This project was completed in 2010.

In 2011, Unitus Labs announced that it was setting up a strategic partnership with Unitus Impact focused on supporting Unitus Impact’s strategy to Create Livelihood Opportunities for millions of people battling poverty.

Late in 2011, Unitus Labs announced a new seed investing initiative called the Unitus Seed Fund which is focused on making seed stage equity investments in social enterprises in order to accelerate more innovation benefiting people living at the base of the economic pyramid.

More about the Unitus Family History >

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