Rosalind Copisarow

CEO, Constellation Communities

After graduating in 1979 from Oxford University in Human Sciences, Rosalind worked for 15 years in the banking sector at Citicorp, HSBC and JP Morgan, the majority in pioneering new business development roles in emerging markets, particularly Latin America and Eastern Europe.

In 1994, with an MBA from Wharton Business School and an MA in International studies as a Fellow of the Lauder Institute, University of Pennsylvania, she redirected her financial skills to the micro-finance sector, building over the next 15 years two micro-finance institutions – Fundusz Mikro (now FM Bank) in Poland and Street UK – from start-up to national scale and profitability and, as SVP at Accion International, consulting to and investing in 7 new micro-finance banks across Africa, Middle East and Asia. In parallel, Rosalind co-founded two trade associations – the Microfinance Centre for Central and Eastern Europe and the Community Development Finance Association in the UK – to offer practitioners a center of best practice, training and advocacy support. She also published a number of articles including UK public policy proposals to support people from welfare into the formal economy, since passed into legislation.

Since 2007, with the blueprints for sustainable access to finance in place across the world, Rosalind has focused her work on designing commercially viable wealth-creating opportunities for <$2/ day households within the Impact Sectors of water and sanitation, affordable housing, renewable energy and agriculture. As CEO of International Development Enterprises (IDE), which supports subsistence farmers with micro-irrigation technologies, she re-orientated its grant-dependent business model into a self-financing social enterprise. As founding CEO of Constellation Communities, she helped slum-dwelling tenants onto the first rung of the home ownership ladder through innovative, self-build housing modules with income-generating uses. As board chair of Global Village Energy Partnership, she launched commercial bank funded supplier credit facilities for micro-solar, biogas, biomass and hydro technologies. And as MD of Oikocredit, a leading Netherlands-based investor in micro-finance organizations, social enterprises, agricultural cooperatives and small & medium sized enterprises, Rosalind applied her retail experience with client companies to the structuring of impact-maximizing wholesale financial services.

Over the past 18 years, Rosalind’s pioneering work developing transformational products and business models for the 4 billion <$2/ day population at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) in the financial services, renewable energy, water, housing and agriculture sectors, has not only increased the income, wealth and financial security of over 30 million people, but also provided profitable new business opportunities to their trading partners. Through her current consultancy practice, it is the lessons learned from these experiences that she now offers to organizations seeking to attract and serve the rising middle classes, as one of the fastest growing customer markets in the world.

Rosalind serves on a number of governing and advisory boards, including the Lauder Institute, University of Pennsylvania and The B, a Zurich based investment bank. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Commerce and Manufacturing and in 2000 was awarded the Polish Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit.

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