Using the market to give impoverished communities a fair chance

  • S3IDF works with local partners, international development institutions, and the Government of Nepal to help expand an existing water mill upgrade program. Ian Taylor ADB

  • Grain grinders are important technologies for many poor individuals in Nepal. It is their livelihood. When S3IDF went to Nepal, they knew that had to tailor their Social Merchant Bank Approach to the local customs, financial regulations, and social systems. Ian Taylor ADB

  • Improved water mills power agro-processing equipment to improve the productivity of farmers in Nepal’s hills region. Ian Taylor ADB

  • By contributing to the 'Improved Water Mill Programme' in Nepal, S3IDF helps make energy available to many remote communities in the country. Ian Taylor ADB

The Small-Scale Sustainable Infrastructure and Development Fund (S3IDF) promotes inclusive market systems by addressing barriers and gaps that prevent poor and underserved populations from fully participating in the mainstream economy. S3IDF works with public and private entities to develop and implement pro-poor business models and development strategies that leverage resources, integrate incentives, and mitigate risk.

Through its Social Merchant Bank Approach® (SMBA), S3IDF supports entrepreneurs to run businesses that increase income and assets while also providing their communities with basic services and employment opportunities. S3IDF mobilizes local bank financing, increases technology options, and delivers direct business support. Poor and underserved populations benefit from these businesses as customers, employees, and/or owners.

S3IDF also builds the capacity of development agencies, governments, foundations and other practitioners to apply market-based solutions. S3IDF takes a systems-level approach to assessing on-the-ground challenges, developing solutions to market inefficiencies, and advising on project and program implementation.

In addition to S3IDF’s portfolio of projects in India, S3IDF has also pursued opportunities to spread its approach in Sri Lanka and Nepal through detailed studies and, in the case of Nepal, through an examination of revolving fund structures and a pilot test of the SMBA in a project to expand Nepal’s Improved Water Mill Programme (IWMP). Similar early stage transfer initiatives are also currently underway in Cambodia and Myanmar.

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