The Jason J. Spindler Award for Innovation in Development: A Legacy for Impact

I-DEV International
I-DEV Insights
Published in
3 min readJul 9, 2019


By Patricia Chin-Sweeney, Co-Founder of I-DEV International

Jason coaches entrepreneurs on how to follow their passion and be successful at MEST’s Guest Lecture Weekend in Accra, Ghana (June 2018)

It is my great pleasure to announce the Jason J. Spindler Award for Big Data for Impact to be presented within the framework of the Growth Stage Impact Ventures for Sustainable Development Goals selection. It will be awarded in October 2019 at the Sustainable Finance Geneva Summit, hosted by UNDP in Geneva.

This award will go to an outstanding early growth company that demonstrates its potential as a high impact game changer. We will be looking for a company that recognizes the importance in collecting and using valuable data in responsible ways to improve and strengthen its products and services, and constantly be in learning mode to better serve its consumer base.

This award reflects the values of Jason Spindler as well as many of the companies we at I-DEV International (I-DEV) have advised over the years. Jason Spindler was my co-founder at I-DEV. A decade ago, we launched I-DEV and got early support from the NYU Stern Social Venture Challenge. Jason and I built I-DEV to push high impact companies to adopt and drive innovation that would create stronger scalable business models and better products to fit the future economy we all hope to see.

At the launch of ‘Inside the C-Suite’, a speaker series and podcast showcasing African startup success stories

Jason was particularly passionate about the innovative tech-enabled companies that think and act to create long-term catalytic change such as Twiga Foods, and Fuzu.

These are companies that understand that technology and the data collected from it can make unbankable populations more attractive, loan-worthy clients; help companies build better, smarter, more dynamic products by learning about the behaviors, values, and preferences of their consumers; help students and unskilled laborers understand the abilities they must acquire to get a better job and how to build those skills; provide de-risked products to populations most perceive as too risky to consider; create a competitive advantage, and also perhaps most importantly, create greater transparency where once there was little reliable information to inform on a situation, population, or risk profile.

MEST’s Guest Lecture Weekend in Accra, Ghana (June 2018)

We lost Jason in January 2019 to a terrorist attack, but his memory and vision for scalable impact and smart solutions to the world’s most challenging problems will continue on.

Jason was a recognized thought leader in the emerging markets investment space. His drive and passion for scaling companies with innovative strategies has been well recognized. MEST, the Entrepreneurial School of Technology in Ghana, will rename their building to commemorate Jason; meanwhile the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey has launched a scholarship for their Frontier Market Scouts program to allow others with Jason’s passion, vision, and critical eye for scalable impact to build their skills in impact investing and social enterprise.

Jason shares founder insights on how to think about exit strategies at CAPEX2018, a conference I-DEV designed for young finance professionals (August 2018)

The Jason J. Spindler “Big Data for Impact” award will go to a dynamic company that embodies Jason’s bold vision for change and impact. This year, the award will comprise of a USD 5,000 cash prize. In future years, we hope to add technical capacity support to the package.

To contribute to this award, please contact

To learn more about Jason Spindler and the Jason J. Spindler Foundation, please visit

This article was originally posted by UNDP, SDG Finance Geneva Summit:



I-DEV International
I-DEV Insights

I-DEV works with corporations, SMEs and investors to identify and scale the unique business opportunities in frontier markets. San Francisco. Nairobi. Lima.