top of page

Water Equity

Water Equity
The Organization

The ella fund is thrilled to be an investor in two Water Equity impact investment funds, Water Credit Investment Fund 3 (WCIF3) launched in 2018 and the Global Impact Fund launched in 2021. WaterEquity Inc is a social impact investment fund manager created by the team from on the heels of 20+ years of successfully improving access to water and sanitation for the world’s poor via microcredit facilities. A logical next step following’s grant and loan-based facilities, WaterEquity funds identify and invest in enterprises such as microfinance institutions, product manufacturers, and water utilities that are ready to serve water supply and sanitation needs in developing countries.

The Opportunity

The burden of sourcing safe water lies predominantly on girls and women, and water scarcity and contamination disproportionately impact low-income women and girls.

For many girls who must walk long distances to access clean water, school is unrealistic. By reducing the health burden of contaminated water to families, investment in clean water and sanitation can contribute to health, education and economic empowerment.

The Project

The ella fund's investment in Water Credit Investment Fund 3 (WCIF3, investment in 2018) will help provide affordable debt capital to enterprises that expand access to household water supply and sanitation in India, Indonesia, Cambodia, and the Philippines. The fund is projected to help provide safe water and sanitation solutions to 4.6 million people over seven years, and 90+% of borrowers of microfinance water loans are women.


The ella fund's investment in the Global Access Fund (investment in 2021) will help bring water and sanitation solutions to up to 8 million people across 10 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. 

The goals of the Water Equity funds are closely aligned with the ella fund’s mission in that microfinance for water supply and sanitation has been shown to improve health and result in enhanced education and economic opportunities for those most impacted by poor water supply, girls and women.

Women in Data Science

The Organization

Women in Data Sciences Zurich (WiDS) is a two-day technical conference featuring engineering and business leaders from companies at the forefront of data science. Its goal is to inspire and educate data scientists worldwide, regardless of gender, and support the women in the field. 

The Opportunity

The aim of the WiDS conference is to showcase

a wide range of career paths and roles people can explore that have machine learning and data science infused in them, including scientific endeavours both in academia and in industry, being a startup founder, doing artwork at the intersection of AI and art, business and product leadership.

The Project

The ella fund is a proud sponsor of the 2019 (live) and 2021 (virtual) conferences, with our contribution earmarked for travel grants for women in need of financial assistance and awards in 2019 and awards for winning poster presentations (2021).

espeRare Foundation

The Organization

The ella fund is proud to support EspeRare, a nonprofit foundation based in Geneva. Founded by three female social entrepreneurs with a collective 40-plus years of experience in pharmaceutical development, the foundation leverages an innovative inclusive non-profit business model to advance the development of therapeutic solutions for rare diseases.

The Opportunity

Vast strides have been made in cancer therapy over recent decades, but rare childhood cancers have not benefited to the same extent as their frequently-occurring counterparts.


In its quest to uncover the potential of existing therapies to address severe unmet therapeutic needs in rare diseases, EspeRare has identified a JNK-inhibitor, EspoiR-005 (ER-005), as a promising first-in-class candidate for the treatment of rare pediatric cancers. The JNK (c-Jun-N-Terminal Kinase) pathway has been implicated in multiple diseases, from inflammatory conditions to various cancers, and the potential of JNK-inhibitors as therapeutics has therefore generated significant interest.


EspeRare obtained the rights to ER-005 following initial development in fibrotic and inflammatory conditions, and EspeRare has access to the compound’s sizable existing preclinical and clinical safety and efficacy database.

The Project

The ella fund’s investment will support a series of proof-of-concept screening studies for ER-005 in rare cancers. For this program, EspeRare has chosen to collaborate with the Centre Léon Bérard in Lyon, France, a cancer referral and treatment center and research institute specialized in rare tumors that comprises a pediatric hemato-oncology unit. Should this initial research phase produce promising results, EspeRare intends to rapidly progress the development program into clinical trials.

Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania

ccbrt logo.png
The Organization

The ella fund is excited to support CCBRT, Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania, a health care organization which works to prevent disability, provide affordable medical and rehabilitative services, and aid empowerment of people with disabilities and their families. CCBRT’s vision is a Tanzania where people have access to quality disability services as well as safe maternal and newborn healthcare.

The Opportunity

Each year in Tanzania, 11,000 women die due to complications of pregnancy/childbirth, 66,000 babies do not survive their first month of life, and as many as 3,000 Tanzanian women develop obstetric fistula, a childbirth injury consisting of a hole between the birth canal and bladder or rectum caused by prolonged, obstructed labor. Fistula, which is preventable, afflicts the most vulnerable women and girls, those living in extreme poverty and far from medical services.


Tragically, there is a strong association between fistula and stillbirth, approximately 90% of women who develop obstetric fistula end up delivering a stillborn baby. Left untreated, obstetric fistula causes chronic incontinence and can lead to other physical ailments, including frequent infections, kidney disease, painful sores and infertility.


The physical injuries can also lead to social isolation and psychological harm: women and girls with fistula are often unable to work, and many are abandoned by their husbands and families, and ostracized by their communities, driving them further into poverty. Their isolation means they often go unnoticed and little action is taken to address or prevent their condition. Women and girls suffer needlessly, often for years, with no hope in sight.

The Project

The ella fund is proud to support CCBRT by co-funding a three-year program of Swiss Philanthropy Foundation's thematic fund "Health." The project is designed to enhance Tanzanian women's access to fistula treatment, with the support of WISE Philanthropy Advisors.

The program aims to train over 600 community health workers (“fistula ambassadors”) to enhance disease awareness and referrals and will sponsor reconstructive fistula surgery for over 2,000 afflicted women. After the surgery, the women will stay at the hospital for at least six weeks to receive training in hygiene, nutrition, family planning and reintegration back into the community.

Some women will have the opportunity to stay for a yearlong course in screen-printing, sewing, beading, and crochet and will then be prepared to start their own business. As such, the program touches on all three key aspects of the ella fund’s mission: education, healthcare, and entrepreneurship.

Pocket Hero

The Organization

Pocket Hero is a fashion brand for kids with insulin pumps. Behind Pocket Hero is Simona Koncytė, a designer, social entrepreneur and mother of two. Simona was inspired to design clothing specifically adapted for carrying insulin pumps when a close friend’s child was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

Confronted firsthand with the challenges of protecting and concealing the pump while maintaining full functionality without having to undress, Simona invented ingenious pockets and incorporated them into a stylish range of clothing. Thanks to her clothes, kids can run, jump, climb, dance – “do what kids do” – while keeping their insulin pumps safe and sound.

The Opportunity

Type 1 diabetes affects millions of people around the world, including more than half a million children. Therapeutic advances in recent years have greatly improved the daily management of the disease, in particular the advent of wearable electronic insulin pumps. Insulin pumps are especially well suited for kids, for whom multiple daily insulin injections are not practical or appropriate, but they are expensive and must be managed with care.


Currently, kids who use insulin pumps carry them primarily in external belts, meaning they are visible, vulnerable to being dropped or hit, and the catheter needs to be inserted from the external pump through or around the child’s clothing to reach the injection site. These constraints add to the challenges and stigma already faced by T1D kids. What if a specifically-designed system were available, one that protects and conceals the insulin pump and is directly integrated into stylish and durable clothing? Improving the freedom, self-confidence and quality of life of T1D kids and their parents is Pocket Hero’s mission.

The Project

We met Pocket Hero’s founder Simona Koncytė thanks to our collaboration with Reach for Change, the global champion of social entrepreneurship. Simona entered her project in the 2019 Reach for Change Challenge in Lithuania and was selected as one of the two finalists. She was awarded funding and mentoring by the ella fund and entered the Reach for Change social business incubator. Our backing has given her the boost she needed to transform her idea into reality, culminating in the launch of her e-shop on World Diabetes Day in November 2020. Her dream is to scale her brand globally, helping improve the daily lives of pocket heroes and their parents around the world.

Pocket Hero

Socialinė Iniciatyva 

socialine iniciatyva.png
Socialine Iniciatyva
The Organization

Socialinė Iniciatyva is a social business that brings mobile youth work services to places that do not have them, because kids and young people in rural areas deserve the opportunity to live to their potential.


Behind Socialinė Iniciatyva is entrepreneur Viktorija Gaspariūnaitė, an experienced youth worker and leader who started her business to respond to an unmet need. Viktorija works to unite the public, private and volunteer sectors around the comon goal of achieving positive social changes among youth and has developed a sustainable business model with multi-pronged funding streams.

The Opportunity

Youth work helps young people to reach their full potential. It encourages personal development, autonomy, initiative and participation in society, and its value and importance are recognized by the European Council and other similar institutions across the world. The availability of youth work services varies across settings, with rural areas and small towns tending to be underserved due to lack of infrastructure and personnel. Youth work encompasses a broad range of activities (eg social, cultural, educational, sports-related and political) carried out with, by and for young people through non-formal and informal learning.

The Project

We met Socialinė Iniciatyva and its founder Viktorija Gaspariūnaitė thanks to our collaboration with Reach for Change, the global champion of social entrepreneurship. Viktorija entered her project in the 2020 Reach for Change Challenge in Lithuania and was selected as one of the two finalists.


She was awarded funding and mentoring by the ella fund and entered the Reach for Change social business incubator. Our backing has enabled her to accelerate roll-out and scaling of her services to new towns and regions. Her dream is to scale her services wherever they are needed across Lithuania and offer her innovative approach even more broadly, because youth work matters everywhere.

I4M - Innovating for Mothers Challenge 2020

Innovating for Mothers
Sunu Jigeen
The Organizations

The Innovating for Mothers competition has engaged three remarkable organizations working in the field in Senegal:

AGORA is one of the leading non-profit public health associations in Senegal. The organization is apolitical and non-denominational and aims to improve the health of Senegalese communities through the establishment of cost-effective public health programs. AGORA is a community-based organization that works in even the most remote of areas, with a special focus on chronic diseases, women and children. Via its participatory approach, AGORA works in close collaboration with local communities to assess needs, design specific public health programs, and implement them locally, thereby ensuring sustainability.

Le Corpus Médical is a Senegalese social organization composed of students from different clinical fields who come together to tackle various health challenges in Africa by designing and advancing innovative solutions. Teams of Corpus Médical volunteers travel to remote areas of Senegal to conduct medical campaigns including primary care services and screening and education on chronic diseases. 

Njureel is a start-up based on research into e-health solutions. The technology deployed is a tele-medicine system allowing regular and personalized remote monitoring of pregnant women.

The Opportunity

According to the World Health Organization, every year more than 350 000 women die in childbirth or due to pregnancy-related causes, and more than 3 million children die in the first month of their life. The majority of these deaths take place in the poorest regions of the world, in particular Sub-Saharan Africa. In Senegal specifically, lifetime maternal mortality risk is 1 in 80 women (compared to 1 in 7300 in developed countries) and 5 women die every day in childbirth or due to pregnancy-related causes. 

In collaboration with Mothers at Risk, a Brussels-based non-profit committed to saving mother’s lives, and the Senegal-based team of Reach for Change, the global social entrepreneurship champion, the ella fund sponsored the 2020 Innovating Mothers for Challenge to identify promising identify promising innovations in maternal health in Senegal. 

The Projects

AGORA’s Keur Yaye project uses new technologies to identify women with high-risk pregnancies in rural areas and then assists them with dedicated transport, a pre-childbirth center (maternal waiting home) and lodging in proximity to obstetric hospitals to ensure they get the care they need at the time of delivery. The initiative will be piloted over a 12-month period in 50 villages across the St. Louis region.

Keur Yaye won the 2020 Innovating for Mothers Challenge and was selected to receive seed funding plus twelve months of business incubation to kick-start their social enterprise in the Reach for Change Senegal Incubator. 

Corpus Médical’s Sunu Jigeen project is a multi-pronged initiative focused on maternal & child health, with the key components being a motorbike-based medical service paying house calls to pregnant women, enriched flours to fight malnutrition, and medical information- and screening campaigns in rural areas. Sunu Jigeen was a runner-up in the 2020 Innovating for Mothers Challenge and was selected to receive seed funding, which will enable a pilot phase of the motorbike-based housecall service in Dakar.

Njureel’s Sama Bajene project is an outreach campaign designed to promote and pilot the Njureel telemedicine service, which offers medical and psychological assistance to teen girls and pregnant women in Senegal. The project was a runner-up in the 2020 Innovating for Mothers Challenge and was selected to receive seed funding, which will enable a pilot phase of the campaign and service to be conducted in the Pikine neighborhood of Dakar.

BWM Association

Art Supplies
The Organization

BWM (Kultūros variklis BWM) is an arts and events association based in Marijampole, Lithuania.

The Opportunity

The ella fund had the opportunity to help fund various visual arts events, such as craftsmanship circles offering free space, coffee and supplies (yarn, needles, crochet hooks), and "Dream Day" workshops where women were encouraged to create their personal Dream Map. Each meeting involved a guest speaker who encouraged the women to talk about their dream life and get ready to initiate some changes in their life - a creative day combined with a safe space to speak up. Other art days were also organised to show women that everyone is an artist within!

The Project

The ella fund helped in funding art days, Dream Collage workshops and exhibitions, venue preparation and rent cost for those days, snacks, coffee and all art supplies such as canvas, paints, brushes, etc.



Acumen logo.png
The Organization

Acumen is a nonprofit impact investment fund focused on poverty and changing the way the world tackles it. Acumen has over 15 years’ experience in investing in social enterprises.

The Opportunity

The ella fund is proud to be an Acumen partner, having committed to a three-year engagement starting in 2020.

Future Heroes

Future Heroes - WoW University

The Organization

Future Heroes, a globally acclaimed project, was launched in Estonia in 2018 and has been successfully running for several years. It was selected as one of the top 3 initiatives to promote entrepreneurship in Europe, became the winner of the World Awards in 2020, and in the same year was ranked among the 16 most influential, innovative projects for young people in Europe. The accelerator programme is being carried out by the amazing team at WoW University.

The Opportunity

Future Heroes is a leadership and entrepreneurship programme for 13-17-year-old girls to unlock their potential and create positive change in the world. 

During the 7 workshops taking place over the course of two months, the girls will test their strengths, boost their skills, grow their sisterhood and be inspired by diverse role models. Most importantly, their dreams will be made a reality in teamwork, supported by mentors. The programme is fully taught in English, and fully free of charge.

Sessions are kicked off by inspirational speakers, followed by practical skills workshops and mentoring to drive the team projects forward. Each workshop covers a different set of topics and skills, inviting the most expert speakers and mentors to guide the girls through the process and inspire them to become a Future Hero. The programme provides the opportunity to not only learn about leadership and entrepreneurship from inspiring professionals in the field (from both Lithuania and abroad), but also to start creating their own start-up.

The Project

Co-funded by the ella fund and the British Council, the Future Heroes Lithuania accelerator programme will select 50 participants. 


The programme will offer 7 skills development sessions -  from idea formation to financial literacy, project presentation to potential investors, and business idea development in teams with the help of mentors. The programme is designed to allow participants to learn about their opportunities, discover strengths, boldly share new ideas, and initiate.


The Organization

ShEquity is an investment vehicle whose purpose is to provide smart and sustainable investments for African female entrepreneurs and innovators, the key driver of inclusive socio-economic growth. They facilitate access to a pool of de-risked deals to investors and empower female entrepreneurs with financial resources and operational support needed to unlock their full potential.

The Opportunity

While Africa boasts an increasing number of female entrepreneurs, the funding gap remains a barrier to achieving full potential. Currently, women operate over 40% of SMEs in Africa, but there is a financing gap of US$ 42 billion between male and female entrepreneurs.

ShEquity is a catalyst for inclusive economic growth with the impact felt across the board. Because women tend to tackle challenges faced by societies, providing smart money to female entrepreneurs allows them to build impactful businesses benefiting many communities and inspire the next generations to become problem solvers.

Their approach of combining seed capital and operational support allows them to minimize failure risks which allow more female-led businesses to grow, create more jobs, embark on scaling path, and contribute to sustainable development. 

The Project

The ella fund is delighted to be an early investor in ShEquity, alongside other likeminded individuals and institutional investors who are driven by achieving a triple bottom line through their investments. 

bottom of page