Funding – Find the right investment partners

Devin Hibbard – Funding – Know your goals to find the right investment partners to help you grow.

Because Bead for Life has been mostly self funded, we have not gone after lots of investments. Although we have had some grants. But in order for us to complete the next three year vision and growth, I think we are going to be looking for some funding to help us develop and invest in some of these strategies that we have for growth.

For us, I think, the right investment partner would be someone who really looks at social return, in addition to any financial return, that truly I think we’re one of the most effective programs in creating significant change in people’s lives. And so, I love when people talk in that language of what kind of social return am I getting? How do I know that I’m changing people’s lives?

It’s not just a feel good story. We actually evaluate and can document women who are truly increasing their income and starting businesses and that’s lasting for years after they graduate from our program. So, I think someone who is interested in that and wants to fund that. I think for us, also, looking for investors who want to put sweat in the game, not just with dollars, but with advice, and their networks.

I’m looking for partners who want to help get us to the next level, both financially and in terms of how can they help us make connections with potential partners that want to carry out products or can position us in new ways, or can introduce us to other people that have great advice on how we’re doing a program delivery in Uganda around the world.

I think for us, the ideal partner would really be somebody who is interested in and brings, not only a grant or an investment, but also knowledge and excitement about the work that we’re doing. And then I think the other thing would be somebody who wants to learn with us. Someone who is flexible and is willing to help us look at various options, and perhaps to make changes in whatever it is that we’ve decided, based on the opportunities that present.

That’s really a partner, rather than someone’s who is sort of at arm’s length that we send reports to once in awhile. Someone who wants to really engage and understand that this is complicated and amazing work, and that wants to walk the walk with us.