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The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean have found success in recent years in originating so-called unicorns, or start-up companies that reach US$1 billion in market valuation. Last year, startups based in the region raised US$16.3 billion-more than the entire preceding decade-making the region the world’s fastest-growing for venture funding, according to Bloomberg News.
A number of these new businesses set out to find new ways to fill gaps where economies had previously left out vulnerable populations, such as including more people in the formal financial system, improving access to educational opportunities, and expanding access to healthcare through technology.
However, the strong economic recovery that got underway in 2021 has since lost steam, and countries around the region are facing lower economic growth than expected, higher inflation, and rising levels of national and consumer debt. Meanwhile, international capital flows have been affected by decisions to raise interest rates in the United States and Europe, as well as slower growth in China, the region’s largest trading partner.
The promising outlook for socially minded startups — sometimes supported by innovation hubs aiming to fill gaps and reach populations that traditional models left behind — appears to be getting cloudier. That said, what the future holds for social impact investing in the region is far from clear, much less set in stone.
The Dialogue has joined up with United Way Worldwide to convene a group of experts to discuss the future of social impact investing in Latin America and the Caribbean, which we have asked to address these and other questions:
- How has the environment for social impact investing in Latin America and the Caribbean evolved in recent years, and where is it headed?
- What are the biggest obstacles and hurdles investors and companies face, such as financial constraints, regulatory obstacles, technologies, workforce skills?
- What more can governments in the region be doing to foster an environment of open innovation that is conducive to scaling the startup ecosystem?
Join us on Wednesday, September 14, at 11:00 AM EDT when three exceptionally knowledgeable experts on these topics will join us for an informed discussion with registered guests.
We invite participants to submit questions using the Q&A function in Zoom OR to email questions to email@example.com.
This event will be held in English, Portuguese, and Spanish with simultaneous interpretation available.
Interim EVP, Worldwide Network Advancement, United Way
Chief Investment Officer, IDB Lab
Partner, Deetken Impact Alternative Finance
Manager, Global Opportunity Youth Network (GOYN), São Paulo, Brazil
Manager, Public Sector Transformation Business Development, North Latin America Region, Amazon Web Services
Interim Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean, United Way Worldwide