For six years, Upaya Social Ventures has helped 12 companies create over 4,100 new jobs for people living in impoverished areas in India. Upaya CEO Kate Cochran (’97) joined Impact@Anderson’s High Impact Tea series to share her experience and future goals for the nonprofit.
Cochran started out in management consulting and realized her passion for international development later in her career at an event for Unitus Labs. For several years, she served as VP of finance and operations, and later as VP of external relations for the organization, which makes seed-stage equity investments in social enterprises to benefit people living at the base of the economic pyramid. She went on to become COO and board member at Vittana Foundation, with whom a UCLA Anderson Applied Management Research field study team collaborated in 2014 on a microfinance-driven student loan project. Eventually, Cochran's long tenure in the nonprofit sector would lead her to Upaya.
An advocate of advancing entrepreneurship, and passionate about international development, Cochran has taken time to fine-tune strategies that allow Upaya to invest in viable companies capable of employing people in impoverished areas. When asked about Upaya’s impact in Indian communities, Cochran simply stated, “We create jobs for the poorest of the poor.”