Frontier Market Scouts

Simon Desjardins

Program Manager, Shell Foundation

1. What is it that you are most passionate about? 
I’m passionate about catalyzing innovations to bring access to modern energy services to underserved populations around the world.

2. What do you enjoy most about teaching and/or what excites you about being a professor at MIIS?

I love the curiosity and energy that MIIS students bring to class. It’s very rewarding to share our approach and work to a group of students who are interested in getting involved in the social enterprise sector.


Simon runs Shell Foundation’s Access to Energy Program, which has the goal of helping to provide access to modern energy services for the poor. Before joining the Shell Foundation in 2008 Simon worked globally in a broad range of business and development roles, with experience in start-ups, multinationals and NGOs.

Recent Accomplishments

  • Helped catalyse the growth of the world’s leading pro-poor energy enterprises in India and Africa (Husk Power, M-Kopa, d.light).
  • Co-created a leading SME debt provider in India, IntelleGrow, which provides customized loans to small and growing businesses in the energy and infrastructure sector.

Previous Work

I have held positions at Shell, High Street Media, UNDP, Hewlett-Packard and Scotia Capital.


  • Accelerated Development Programme, London Business School, UK, 2011-2012
  • Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.), Co-op Program Option Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada, 2000 – 2004


  • Desjardins, Simon. "The Need for a Smarter Funding Ecosystem," Innovations, MIT Press, Sep 2011
  • Desjardins, Simon. "Electrifying Bihar: the role of philanthropy and social investment," Alliance Magazine, June 2011
  • Ramsoomair, Franklin and Desjardins, Simon. “Technow – A Study of a High Tech Company,” Proceedings of the CTMS Conference, Reno, Nevada, September 2005 (Presented and Published)
Course List

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FMSC 8605 - ScalingHigh-ImpactSoclEnterprs      

This course will focus on key challenges and methods in scaling a social enterprise from seed stage to growth —from a funder’s perspective. The course will address blended capital (public/private/grant), venture assistance, corporate partnerships, hiring and team-building strategies, partner selection methods, and will draw from case studies of leading emerging market enterprises, including M-Kopa, Husk Power Systems, d.light design, IntelleGrow, and GroFin.

Spring 2013 - MIIS, Summer 2013 - MIIS, Spring 2014 - MIIS, Summer 2014 - MIIS

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IMGT 8605 - ScalingHigh-ImpactSoclEnterprs      

Summer 2012 - MIIS

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IPMG 9605 - ScalingHigh-ImpactSoclEnterprs      

Spring 2013 - MIIS, Spring 2014 - MIIS

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