Logan Yonavjak

Logan Yonavjak

Next Billion, Staff Writer and Expert on small business development

Exit dialog mode

Logan joins us from Next Billion as an expert on SME development and growth. Join the conversation!

Logan has been a staff writer for Next Billion for over a year and a half, contributing articles on SMEs and impact investing, and covering numerous conferences and events.Prior to working full-time with the Conservation Private Capital Group, Logan was the business development officer for New Ventures, the center for environmental entrepreneurship at the World Resources Institute. New Ventures helps environmentally focused small and medium enterprises in six key emerging markets compete in a global economy. Prior to her position at New Ventures, Logan was a research analyst with the World Resources Institute’s Southern Forests for the Future project, which seeks to scale up economic incentives (such as forest carbon offsets) for private landowners in the southern U.S. to conserve and sustainably manage their forests.

  1. 789 days ago

    Marzena Zukowska

    Comment on behalf of Matt Besonen from Co.Labs Agency:

    “Co.Labs could not agree more!!! Partnerships between academia and the private sector are extremely important, but also very challenging (article link). Co.Labs aims to simply this process by connecting universities to their local communities through a cooperative businesses forum. As a result, Co.Labs is able to assist outside businesses while simultaneously transforming these projects into hands-on curriculum for students and faculty. We are currently fine-tuning the Co.Labs model at Southern New Hampshire University, but will soon begin to expand our network of academic partnerships.”


  2. 790 days ago

    Devin Coverdale

    Hello Logan, I am part of a team building a highly efficient combined heat and power system for small farms and communities. Our system is designed to produce enough power, heat and fuel from waste biomass to run a small community or farm, while simultaneously sequestering carbon and reintroducing it to the soil. We have been funding our work internally so far, but we are ready for outside investment to help move forward faster. Do you have any advice for a small environmental technology company looking for capital support?

  3. 795 days ago

    Oscar Alvarez

    Dear Logan,

    I read your post “Financing Business Skills Development for Impact Enterprises: Who Pays?”. Very interesting! — I was wondering if you could let us know the reference details of the study by I-DEV International that you mentioned there. The topic is relevant to an ongoing research project that I am undertaking now.

    Regarding the issue of “Will investors pay?” In your experience, is the criterion of Social Return on Investment (SROI) as opposed to the traditional Return on Investment (ROI) being accepted by the type of investors to whom Jason Spindler refers? Has SROI been effective in terms of reducing the monetary expectations of investors in the field of sustainable enterprises? — If someone else joining this conversation has any feedback on this point, that will be much appreciated.

    Thank you in advance for your comments!

    • Logan Yonavjak

      Unfortunately I-DEV was not able to share all the details of the study; this came from a webinar I listened to. I then followed up with Jason Spindler from I-DEV. He may be willing to give you more details. I’d love to open your question up to other folks as to whether SROI is being accepted by the types of investors Jason refers to. I think it really depends on the type of investor – if it’s foundations, they will often accept SROI over ROI given that they are investing with grant and PRI capital, but more traditional venture capital investors are often looking for ROI first. I think it really depends on the context, but I’d love to hear thoughts from other folks.

      794 days ago

    • Logan Yonavjak

      Just to clarify, I-DEV had restrictions from their client for sharing the details of the study.

      794 days ago

    • Oscar Alvarez

      Many thanks for that Logan. Your comments are very helpful! Very best wishes.

      792 days ago

  4. 795 days ago

    Dan Salcedo

    Thought you might be interested in knowing about our award winning e-commerce platform http://OpenEntry.com offering artisans and SMEs worldwide free e-commerce catalogs (see examples selected from implementations in 45 countries at http://OpenEntry.com/Catalog). Instructions are in 57 languages and the catalogs can be built/managed with a smart phone.

    This presents exciting employment opportunities for women and youth to provide paid e-commerce services to local SMEs, as you can see in the UNDP evaluation below.

    We’ve recently relaunched on Google cloud computing technology that, all of the sudden, gives us the bandwidth to offer e-commerce services to mainstream business networks all over the globe. So we’re relaunching OpenEntry as a B corporation that will be majority owned by the non-profit PEOPLink in order to support the work with a range of compelling groups including the following:

    1 – WFTOMarket.com – fair trade artisan groups worldwide
    2 – NM.OpenEntry.com/HaitiMetalArt – Haitian metal sculpturers
    3 – NM.OpenEntry.com/CubanArt – Painters from Cuba (art is considered “cultural goods” and is therefore exempt from the embargo)

    A United Nations Development Program evaluation (http://goo.gl/EWd4b) in Nepal, concluded:
    1 – The largest impact of implementing this ‘pro-poor’ e-commerce approach was on income and employment.
    2 – Firms using it reported jobs directly attributable to on-line promotion . . . 3918 women
    3 – A relatively inexperienced group of young IT professionals could, with the proper tools, create employment for themselves while providing e-commerce services to local SMEs.

    • Logan Yonavjak

      Great resource, thank you for sharing. Are there specific sectors and specific countries that you’re seeing using this resource more than others?

      794 days ago

  5. 795 days ago

    Marzena Zukowska

    Hi Logan, thank you for sharing your insights this week. Could you tell us a little bit about environmental entrepreneurship, and what the field consists of? What are some of the most innovative models being pursued in this sector?

    • Logan Yonavjak

      I don’t like to think of “environmental” versus “social” enterprises because they are so inexorably intertwined. But, if I were to have to define it, the premise of an “environmental” enterprise is a company that’s really focused on the natural resource base, and ensuring that natural resources are being used efficiently and in ways that support natural ecological systems. But I think the bifurcation of “environmental” and “social” leads to more tension than necessary in the impact space and that, in reality, you can’t have a functioning business without supporting social capital, and you can’t run a successful company over the long term without thinking about the resource base. My former colleague, Tracy Elsen, and I, wrote an article about this very subject: http://www.nextbillion.net/blogpost.aspx?blogid=2680. New Ventures maps out seven different “environmental” sectors that they support, including renewable energy and energy efficiency, sustainable agriculture, etc. For instance, New Ventures finds companies in the clean tech space but also works with a much broader range of environmental companies such as organics producers, companies working with water and waste, etc. Many of the New Ventures companies work with BoP markets, for example bringing clean energy to India’s rural poor or providing environmentally-friendly, affordable housing to low-income Mexican communities. I can speak about innovative models from mostly a New Ventures perspective. There is so much happening specifically in the clean energy access space, particularly in India, which New Ventures India is heavily involved in, as well as New Ventures Indonesia. A lot is happening in Latin America and Africa in sustainable agriculture. Root Capital is a fund working specifically on sustainable ag companies and cooperatives – they have some really exciting companies they are supporting. New Ventures Mexico is doing a lot of exiting work with ag and housing, and New Ventures Brazil and Colombia are also involved in sustainable ag and some renewable energy companies.

      791 days ago

  6. 795 days ago

    Our Local Markets

    Thank you for speaking about these important topics Logan. We do not have a business incubator in the area where I live. When I came up with the idea for Our Local Markets, an online farmer’s market (e-commerce) and distribution service, I reached out for help at our local college. North Island College gave me permission to utilize their resources, free of charge, to help develop the business. The college computer system is set up to support business development. Not only did I draw up the business plan itself, I also designed the company’s logo and set up the company’s financial system at the college. North Island College has been an excellent business incubator for me.

    • Logan Yonavjak

      This is a great point; local colleges that have these resources are definitely worth checking into – I think this is an overlooked area for business development services. Who exactly did you reach out to at North Island College? Business school classes at Universities may also be great resources – entrepreneurs could reach out to business school professors.

      795 days ago

    • Our Local Markets

      I contacted the college administration and asked if I could use their resources. I think they would extend their services to anyone that requested it. I also think they should request grant funding from the government to expand their services as a business incubator and accelerator. The town where I live is struggling with serious socio-economic problems. North Island College holds the key to our future in so many ways.

      795 days ago