Mission: Upaya builds businesses that create jobs and improve the quality of life for marginalized households living on less than $1.90 a day.
Results: Based on our current partners, we have seen most households at minimum double their average daily income due to the new jobs created. We have also seen in our work so far how doubling household income immediately allows families to quadruple the amount they spend on food each month. In as little as nine months, we have seen almost all employed households improve the quantity and quality of their meals. As we look ahead, we also expect to see improvements in the quality of a family’s housing, ability to purchase productive assets, and capacity to keep their children - girls and boys - in school through their teenage years. Upaya works closely with each partner business to collect, analyze, monitor, and report these metrics on a regular basis.
Target demographics: Create jobs for those living under $1.90 a day
Direct beneficiaries per year: Over 13,000 jobholders.
Geographic areas served: India
Programs: Upaya works with early-stage enterprises through our accelerator program to help them grow and create more dignified jobs the poorest of the poor. Upaya provides entrepreneurs the guidance and network connections necessary to scale their businesses and secure investments.
When selecting participants for our cohorts, Upaya prioritizes companies that demonstrate strong potential to create hundreds, if not thousands, of dignified and reliable jobs for people in their communities, helping to lift those jobholders, and their families, out of extreme poverty.
Upaya's proven to be one of the most cost-effective poverty alleviation interventions: it costs $250 to create a job with dignity for someone living in extreme poverty. Not a grant, not a handout, but an enduring job with a startup in India. Top-flight leadership, stellar staff mainly in Bangalore, highest ethics and dedication to impact measurement.
I met Sachi Shenoy, the co-founder, when I was traveling to Seattle to work at another nonprofit. I was so impressed with her and with Upaya's promise that I became an early donor about five years ago. I was really pleased that Upaya was able to take every $500 gift of mine and turn it into a job that lifted someone from ultra-poverty to a job with dignity. They have found a truly effective way to accelerate economic growth and individual dignity. Then when Kate Cochran, a former colleague and one of the people I admire most in the world, became CEO, I was honored to join the board.
I was introduced to Upaya by a friend a few years ago. In the Seattle area, the philanthropic community is large with many nonprofits focused on India. It can sometimes be hard to determine which nonprofits to allocate ones donations to but with Upaya's strong management, and strong results and visible impact on the lives of rural entrepreneurs, Upaya is always at the top of my list of nonprofits to support!