TRANSFORM, an impact accelerator that unites corporates, donors, investors and academics to support visionary enterprises, has announced a key milestone as research shows it has positively impacted over 10 million people across Africa and Asia.
Led by Unilever, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and EY, TRANSFORM advances the development of innovative business models through a combination of grant funding, business insight and research to help solve global challenges.
Accelerating the uptake of revolutionary business ideas across Bangladesh. Since its launch in 2015, TRANSFORM has supported over 100 projects in 17 countries. More specifically TRANSFORM is working with revolutionary businesses in Bangladesh. These include supporting: Drink well to provide affordable, safe drinking water to people living without piped water in Bangladesh, using water ATM machines and pay-as-you-go prepayment cards; Refill Bangladesh to design and pilot a scalable refill station distribution model to counteract the problem of plastic pollution in Bangladesh caused by single-use sachets; and Bhumijo, to enable women and men in Dhaka, Bangladesh to access safe, clean public toilets where over 2.5 million customers have benefited so far, alongside the creation of a dignified employment for a largely female workforce.
Scaling new solutions to global challenges.
TRANSFORM is now focused on accelerating its impact, with the ambitious goal of reaching an additional five million lives across the next two years. In addition to the support given to the existing projects by entrepreneurs and researchers, it has today announced support for fifteen new enterprises since January, with each receiving a tailor-made combination of funding and business support.
One of the new projects in Bangladesh, the Digital Villages Programme, being led by BoPInc, will test the use of technology to support a network of women entrepreneurs who are distributing health products to remote micro-retailers in rural Bangladesh – improving women’s connectivity and access to impact products.
Rebecca Marmot, Unilever’s Chief Sustainability Officer, said, “We’re thrilled to have reached such an important milestone at TRANSFORM. Some of the best new ideas and groundbreaking solutions are coming from entrepreneurs and start-ups. By blending local innovation with the resources of large organisations, TRANSFORM is unlocking these opportunities, helping to scale workable solutions and drive progress. It’s also helping us to expand our own networks. We look forward to supporting more enterprises in the future and being part of this dynamic eco-system.”
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Charlotte Watts, said, “This is a major milestone for this innovative project, which is offering targeted support to ambitious entrepreneurs and innovators across sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. As this cutting-edge initiative enters the next phase, the UK will continue to work in partnership with business and civil society to tackle the world’s biggest social, environmental and economic challenges.”
Richard Taylor, EY’s UK&I Consumer Sector Leader, said, “TRANSFORM further demonstrates our shared belief that impact entrepreneurs will be critical in driving progress towards the UN SDGs.
“We hope that more organisations will feel inspired to join the TRANSFORM initiative and help us transform more lives.”