NESsT has been one of the pioneers of venture philanthropy in CEE and is the first EVPA member in CEE. Established in 1997 by two US based social entrepreneurs with an idea of supporting social enterprise movement in CEE, NESsT opened its first office in Hungary, and then activities were launched in Croatia (2005), Czech Republic (1998), Slovakia (1998), Romania (2007), and Poland (2013).
Parallel to work in CEE, NESsT has been operating successfully in Latin America since 1999. Today the organisation operates from three regional hubs in Europe (Poland & the Baltics, Visegrad, and Romania & the Balkans) and two regional hubs in Latin America (Andean Region, Brazil) and is considering entrance into Mexico and Central America. Over the years the organisation has been shifting its work from demonstrating the power of social enterprise to scaling the impact of their portfolio organisations.
NESsT supports and invests in social enterprises that provide dignified jobs and income to those facing the greatest barriers to work - at risk youth, low income women, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and small producers. To do this, NESsT develops and invests in enterprises that use market-based solutions to create employment and viable income generation opportunities while also addressing the many barriers that keep these communities from accessing the formal labor force. NESsT applies a venture capital/private equity approach, by providing to these enterprises tailored financial support and business mentoring, and strategic networking opportunities to become self-sustainable and be positioned to replicate their business models.
NESsT applies rigorous due diligence and provides long-term incubation (5-7 years) to successfully validate and build to scale the impact of the portfolio. Impact measurement of the NESsT Portfolio is critical and based on a 19-year track record of financial and impact indicators.
Since 1997, NESsT has provided consulting services to 120 clients in 55 countries across Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Australia and has supported more than 166 early-stage enterprises, improved the lives of 542,000 low-income individuals and generated 35,000 livelihood opportunities. NESsT has invested $11.5 million in entrepreneurial coaching and financing across 11 countries and trained 12,000 entrepreneurs in business planning and social enterprise start up and management.
NESsT has created more than 30,000 dignified employment opportunities and has improved the lives of 511,000 marginalized people in emerging market countries. Our goal is create 50,000 sustainable jobs in the next five years.
NESsT brings innovative research and tools to the social enterprise sector (over 50 publications and 150 case studies). NESsT's Thought Leadership's current focus includes developing new finance products for social enterprises, designing metrics for measuring job quality, and addressing the gap to improve vocational education and training to make it more consistent with the types of skills needed by high growth industries.
Over the years, the organisation successfully involved a number of PE/VC professionals who have engaged in both providing financial support as well as competences and skills to enable NESsT growth and impact of portfolio organisations. Over 50 firms take part in the NESsT Private Equity Shares program and have collectively helped to raise over US$ 2 million in support of social enterprises in Central Europe and Latin America.
They have regional hub offices in Brazil, Hungary, Peru, Poland and Romania where 90% of their staff is located and a global office in Oakland, California.