Gearing Up for Impact Investment: Advice from Philips Foundation's Innovation Lead

Gearing Up for Impact Investment: Advice from Philips Foundation's Innovation Lead
Ger Zwartendijk and Eddine Sarroukh (Photo Credits: Entrepreneurship Awards, 2023)

We're delighted to share exclusive insights from a recent presentation by Eddine Sarroukh, the Innovation Lead at Philips Foundation and head of their impact fund, to our full-time MSc students. Sarroukh's rich experience in impact investing provides practical advice for entrepreneurs seeking to create a meaningful impact through their ventures.

Here are some key takeaways for your entrepreneurial toolkit:

  1. Integrated Approach: When seeking funding from impact investors, consider the scalability of your enterprise holistically. Beyond the technology or business model, demonstrate your readiness to make a meaningful impact within your targeted system or industry.
  2. Social Impact: Design your enterprise with a clear social impact. Impact investors, like the Philips Foundation, are keen on supporting enterprises that can make significant social changes, particularly in areas such as healthcare.
  3. Focus on Under-served Communities: If your business model can support under-served communities, it could be more appealing to impact investors. Philips Foundation aims to provide quality healthcare to a hundred million under-served people annually by 2030 - a powerful example of impact goals.
  4. Seek Support and Guidance: Secure funding is just one part of the equation. Look for investors who can also guide you to help scale up your operations.
  5. Embrace Innovation and Collaboration: Innovation and collaboration are vital in solving significant challenges and making an essential impact. Embed these values into your business strategy and showcase them when pitching to potential investors.
Community health workers in Marsabit County, Kenya (Photo Credits: Philips Foundation, 2021)
Case Study: A remarkable example of these principles in action is a project led by Sarroukh in Northern Kenya. In 2018, the Philips Foundation, in partnership with AMEN Kenya, embarked on a two-year project to build capacity for community health workers in four counties of Northern Kenya, a region with high maternal mortality. Sarroukh, based in Kenya, witnessed firsthand the significant impact of these community health workers in remote areas. When the COVID-19 pandemic reached Northern Kenya in mid-2020, the now-trained health workers quickly adapted, screening over 42,000 people. This project is a testament to the profound and sustained impact achieved through social entrepreneurship and impact investing, primarily when targeted toward underserved communities.

How to Apply for Funding from Philips Foundation

If you want funding from the Philips Foundation, start by understanding their investment criteria. They prioritize enterprises that demonstrate scalability and readiness to make a meaningful impact within their operational systems. They are mainly interested in initiatives promoting good health and well-being (SDG 3) and partnerships for sustainable development (SDG 17).

To apply, you need to develop a compelling pitch that clearly outlines your enterprise's social impact, business model, and how you plan to scale. While the exact application process may vary, visiting the Philips Foundation's website and contacting them directly for the most accurate and up-to-date information is advisable. Remember, securing investment is not just about funding but also finding a partner who can provide guidance and support to help scale up your operations.

Sarroukh joins the Entrepreneurship Awards jury

We're excited to announce that Sarroukh will serve on the jury at our upcoming startup pitches, where our students will present their MVPs, business models, and investment needs. His experience is a golden opportunity for budding entrepreneurs to learn directly from a seasoned impact investor.

Reflect on these insights as you develop your entrepreneurial strategies. Consider how you can incorporate these principles into your business model and pitch and how your enterprise can make a tangible, positive impact globally.

Stay tuned for further updates from the Entrepreneurship Awards, and continue to learn, innovate, and make a difference!

Subscribe to Entrepreneurship Awards

Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.
Jamie Larson