Economic Empowerment

Investing in human potential

An inclusive future is one in which everyone has a path to economic opportunity. To do this, we must provide people with equitable access to the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to support themselves and their families toward long-term resilience and economic security.

Global outlook

Climate change and COVID-19 have highlighted and worsened existing inequities among the economically vulnerable, minorities, and women, threatening their long-term resiliency.

  • Over 700 million people worldwide live on less than US$1.90 per day
  • 1.7 billion people around the world are unemployed or in vulnerable employment
  • 400 million small and medium businesses create 70 percent of new jobs globally
  • 1.7 billion people globally do not have bank accounts

Our strategy

Providing equitable opportunities in underserved communities

We invest in tech-enabled solutions that provide individuals with equitable opportunities and contribute to local community growth and economic development in a sustainable economy. We focus our support in three interconnected areas:

  1. Skills development to help job seekers secure dignified employment and long-term career pathways in technology or other sectors, including environmental sustainability/green jobs.
  2. Inclusive entrepreneurship with small businesses as engines of local growth, as well as high growth potential start-ups as large-scale job creators nationally and internationally, in technology or other sectors, including environment sustainability/green businesses.
  3. Banking the unbanked through relevant and affordable financial products and capacity building services.

Living Goods empowers community health workers

Annet Kirabo is a Living Goods community health worker in Uganda. Cisco is supporting Community Health Workers like Annet, who go door-to-door providing essential—often lifesaving—information and care.

Social investments in economic empowerment

Working with nonprofit partners to help create technology-based solutions.

Skills to careers: Laboratoria

Cisco is helping Laboratoria empower women to become the leading source of technology talent from Latin America.

Inclusive entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) helps underrepresented entrepreneurs start and grow businesses across the US.

Banking the unbanked: Kiva

Kiva and Cisco are reshaping access to financial services around the world, connecting people to opportunity.

Measurable impact in economic empowerment


Thanks to a network of 7400 entrepreneurs, 3.4 million people in sub-Saharan Africa have solar power, eliminating nearly 1 million metric tons of CO2 emissions.


Opportunity International and Cisco’s three-year partnership created over four million jobs and reached 20 million people.


Seventy-five percent of Anudip beneficiaries obtain jobs and, on average, triple their income.


More than 500 businesses were started by EforAll alumni, 70 percent of which are still active after three years.

Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge

Knowing that the need to support entrepreneurship has never been greater, we have increased the total prize pool to $1 million USD, with the grand prize winner receiving $250,000 USD. 

ESG Reporting Hub and 2023 Cisco Purpose Report

Cisco is putting people, technology, and resources toward Powering an Inclusive Future for All, where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. Visit our Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Reporting Hub.

Power an inclusive future for all

We pursue our purpose by closing the digital divide, empowering the future of work, fighting for equality and social justice, and building a regenerative planet.