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.
Mercy Corps’ 4,000 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 their 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 ▸
Though 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 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.
All stories about Innovations
Find a mentor. Be a mentor. Build a business. December 18, 2010
Business mentoring isn’t a new concept for many professionals — but the way these connections are happening is changing faster than ever. Breaking out of the mentoring program mold is the Mercy Corps program MicroMentor, best described as a Match.com for business mentoring.
China: All-China Youth Federation Delegation to Oregon, June 2010 December 17, 2010
Mercy Corps has worked with the All-China Youth Federation (ACYF) to develop the Social Innovator Leadership Program.
Haiti: Testing out mobile money in Haiti November 30, 2010
Jokebed Auguste, 31, and Benita Bellevue, 29, walk side by side as we make our way to the Market St. Pierre, a local convenience store in Mirebalais.
Haiti: On the road, sharing good news about Haiti October 11, 2010
For the past two weeks or so, I’ve been on the road between New York and Washington, DC, attending meetings, conferences and learning events, as well as spending time with our partners and key Mercy Corps staff.
Uganda: Truly, skills for employment and skills for life September 14, 2010
A few weeks ago, I was honored to serve as the Chief Judge at an interschool debate on HIV/AIDS prevention. Under a perfect blue Ugandan sky, youth from two neighboring schools prepared to deliver remarks on the importance of abstinence, safe sex, delayed marriage and healthy life choices.
China: Welcoming Mercy Corps' newest friends August 9, 2010
While Mercy Corps works in dozens of far-flung locations across the world, we are proud to call the state of Oregon and the city of Portland home. It’s the place that nurtured the culture of innovation, collaboration, and optimism (with a touch of scrappiness) that we prize to this day.
Spreading the good word of storytelling April 12, 2010
I spend most of each workday for Mercy Corps either writing or editing stories. This past weekend, I got to teach a class on why stories matter for all of us.
Tackling complex urban development challenges March 24, 2010
The UN-Habitat World Urban Forum is the world’s largest global meeting on cities. Its fifth session — happening this week in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — has a record 21,000 delegates from across the globe.
Haiti: Haiti, nine weeks after the earthquake — what happens next March 9, 2010
Week 9 post-earthquake: Mercy Corps, like our partners and peers, has been focused on emergency response. We’ve been busy with distributions, Comfort for Kids, water and sanitation provision, and more.
Uganda: Strengthening our ability to promote stability February 8, 2010