Interview with Sitawi – Finance for Good

Hello and welcome to an Inspiring Adventures Interview!

Last year, I met Leonardo Letelier, the founder of Sitawi – Finance for Good.

Sitawi is the first social finance fund in Brazil, and has loaned out more than $1m and helped over 20,000 people.  

It also has a true story of entrepreneurialism behind it, with Leonardo leading his own money for the first loans Sitawi made.

Recently in London I was lucky enough to catch up with Rob Packer, a fund manager in the small Sitawi team, and find out how they are getting on now. 

In the audio link below, you can hear what Sitawi is doing now, some examples of the people they have helped, it’s plans for the future, and what the name means too! 


(I know some of the audio is a little quiet, a new mic is coming for future interview)

If you’d like to learn more, check out the Sitawi website. You can even be part of helping them change lives by supporting them on their Global Giving page.  

Like this? Here’s more: My original blog post about Leonardo Letelier and Sitawi, and a great overview by Leonardo on the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Below – Some of the children at a community centre Sitawi helped to fund, and a photo of the health vehicle that Rob talks about in the video above.




Social Entrepreneur Profile – Leonardo Letelier and sitawi, Rio De Janeiro

Leonardo Letelier is the founder and CEO of sitawi, the first social enterprise fund in Brazil. He was previously Ashoka’s full economic initiative director in Brazil and a senior engagement manager at McKinsey & Company


I met Leonardo Letelier when I was working at Oxford Jam – the “unconference” for social entrepreneurship.  Leonardo was attending the Skoll World Forum (SWF) on Social Entrepreneurship happening next door at the Oxford Business School, but like many of the SWF delegates, came to Oxford Jam for the interactive, fun, and lively talks that were taking place long into the evening.  I recently wrote this blog post about the value of the connections that come from attending events like this.

My conversation with Leonardo was engaging, entertaining and also very useful – It was obvious he knew what he was talking about when it came to social enterprise and finance. He told me about sitawi, the social finance not for profit organisation he had set up in Brazil.

He started it with a mission to develop financial infrastructure for the social sector. In pioneering the concept of social finance in Brazil, sitawi created the country’s first Social Fund – multiplying the impact on some of the most vulnerable people, communities, and ecosystems. It wasn’t as easy as that makes it sound, and the story of the first year, and the first few loans really show Leonardo’s entrepreneurial flair.

Since 2009, sitawi has lent over US$1 million to 10 organisations and sitawi won IADB’s beyondBanking award for socially responsible investments in 2011 and was featured in Stanford’s Social Innovation Review magazine.

I encourage you to read that article, as it was written by Leonardo and gives an insight into his personal journey through the University of Sao Paulo, an MBA from Harvard Business School, consulting at Mckinsey, director at Ashoka to founding sitawi.