Open Society Foundations founder George Soros and Mastercard Inc. have announced plans to explore the creation of a social enterprise that would work to catalyze and accelerate economic and social development in vulnerable communities around the world.
Operating as a standalone entity, Humanity Ventures, as the enterprise will be called, will work to develop solutions designed to expand access to health care and education, foster local economic development and entrepreneurship, and enhance the delivery of aid, especially for refugees and migrants. Soros has indicated a willingness to invest up to $50 million in the venture to scale solutions like the Mastercard Aid Network, a digital voucher platform launched in 2015 to streamline aid distribution. The venture also could serve as an incubator and accelerator for smaller projects committed to mitigating the international refugee crisis.
The venture is part of Soros' commitment, announced last September, to earmark up to $500 million for private investments in efforts to address the challenges that migrants, refugees, and their host communities face.
"Migrants are often forced into lives of despair in their host communities because they cannot gain access to financial, healthcare, and government services," said Soros. "Our potential investment in this social enterprise, coupled with Mastercard's ability to create products that serve vulnerable communities, can show how private capital can play a constructive role in solving social problems. Humanity Ventures is intended to be profitable so as to stimulate involvement from other business people. We also hope to establish standards of practice to ensure that investments are not exploitative of the vulnerable communities we intend to serve."