We believe that social enterprises have the potential to harness commercial discipline to deliver profitable, long-term impact. From input manufacture and supply through to post harvest handling and value-add processing, major failures persist across developing agricultural value chains where functioning enterprises should exist to offer the products and services that smallholders need to grow their profits. H2O creates businesses that provide these products and services to support smallholder farming upstream and downstream of the farmer. This ‘agricultural investment 2.0’ is a largely vacant commercial space and, unlike primary production, these enterprises can be highly scalable and capable of impacting many lives.
Much effort has been directed at incubating, accelerating and investing in preexisting enterprises to fill value-chain gaps. More often than not, however, there are no existing enterprises to promote. In this case, new enterprises must be created from scratch: H2O is unique in the sector in doing this systematically and at scale.
Building new enterprises from the bottom up, we can develop effective business models that align impact and commerciality to address well validated needs, that are ambitious and scalable, that can put significant capital to work, and that can recruit management with the appropriate skills to deliver the business. Moreover, we have full control over the strategic development of a balanced portfolio of synergistic enterprises that can work together to solve multiple failures in a value-chain simultaneously.