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Frequently Asked Questions

Our Evolution

The idea for S3IDF emerged from a shared frustration that conventional approaches to solvingdevelopment challenges were not addressing problems holistically and that even well-intentioned programs often bypassed the poor. As a result, in 2001 we began ourProjects &Programs and Advisory Services to prove that market-based approaches could improve livesand livelihoods for underserved communities. On the forefront of the market-systems approachmovement, we’ve demonstrated that programs can be inclusive, equitable and effective at anysize, especially the micro-and small-scale.


Recognizing similar challenges in the impact investing space, we’ve expanded our focus toinclude designing smaller-scale, high-risk, impact oriented investments that will balancetheinvestment continuum and propel the sector forward


How is S3IDF’s strategy different from other impact investors?

S3IDF is focused on a segment of high-impact, early-stage enterprises where most impact investors are unable or unwilling to concentrate their capital. Our knowledge of blended and other innovative finance mechanisms enables us to more effectively and efficiently evaluate, advise and support these entrepreneurs towards their growth objectives.

What types of enterprises does S3IDF lend to?

Primarily (although not exclusively) enterprises working in India. These businesses can be registered in India or the US, but must prioritize social and environmental impact and be in their early stages of growth with financing needs ranging from $25,000 – $100,000. Please see our “What We Look For” page for additional details.

Can I invest with you?

Yes – we are always open to speaking with potential co-investors or donors. If you would like to have a discussion regarding either investing or a major gift please contact

Why do you prioritize impact over return?

Our global impact objectives, enumerated by the Sustainable Development Goals, will not be achieved with the limited philanthropic capital available in the world today. By prioritizing support for enterprises that are financially viable and that target significant impact returns, we are expanding the pool of available social financing. Further, these investments can demonstrate the viability and value of prioritizing positive impact over financial return for our fellow impact investors, to empower them to make a similar shift and grow the pool of available capital for impact-first enterprises.

What does S3IDF stand for?

The Small-Scale Sustainable Infrastructure Development Fund.

What is the relationship between S3IDF-US and S3IDF-India?

S3IDF has worked for almost two decades to address the systemic economic and social challenges we see persisting globally. Beginning in 2001, S3IDF-US and S3IDF-India have operated under a shared mission to improve lives and livelihoods in the waste, energy and agricultural sectors, with S3IDF-India working directly in underserved communities, while S3IDF-US uses lessons learned from local contexts to inform our Advisory Services work.


More recently, S3IDF-US has recognized that impact investing can play an important function and adds value to both our traditional Projects and Programs and Advisory Service work. This third approach makes it possible to multiply the impacts of traditional philanthropic and development capital to achieve additional impact beyond what is possible in our Projects and Programs and Advisory Services work alone.

In what Indian states does S3IDF have on-the-ground experience?

We have worked in 12 states, including Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal.