Nikishka Iyengar: Bolstering Entrepreneurial Ecosystems with Equitable Real Estate Development [Ep. 106]

If you only have two minutes, click here for a highlight from the interview.


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Nikishka Iyengar is a entrepreneur and strategist building the next economy. Using a whole systems approach to address social and environmental challenges, Nikishka is Founder and CEO of The Guild – a social enterprise developing co-living spaces to empower changemakers and build resilient communities. An investee of LIFT Economy’s Force For Good Fund, The Guild explores what community-led real estate development could look like, and has raised impact investment dollars to grow its model.  Nikishka is also the owner of Whole Systems Collective, an impact consulting collective helping companies innovate towards systems change. Previously, while earning her dual degree in Finance & Economics  at University of Texas at Austin, Nikishka conducted research on the socioeconomic impact of the e-waste trade in China and India, and on the social impact of microfinance with the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Grameen Bank in Bangladesh.  Originally from Mumbai, India before moving to Singapore and eventually to the US, Nikishka has been recognized by GreenBiz as a "30 under 30" emerging leader in sustainability.

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Some highlights from Ryan’s interview with Nikishka include:

  • How witnessing stark economic disparity in India, Singapore, & the United States has informed Nikishka’s journey in economics, finance, and social impact

  • As Nikishka helped start the sustainability & social impact consulting initiative at Deloitte, she often observed “predatory delay” (see terminology section below) and a spectrum of sincerity in the field with some being lulled into complacency thinking that addressing the issue at all was enough, while others demonstrated steadfast commitment to pushing for real systems change in the world of impact

  • How the shifting immigration landscape has shaped Nikishka’s experience and identity

  • How Nikishka’s introduction to cooperative living & decision making in college inspired her ideas to create spaces to support the local social entrepreneur ecosystem through The Guild

  • A reframe on the degree to which communities front tremendous risk with new real estate developments and how developments might be approached more equitably








LIFT Economy is an impact consulting firm whose mission is to create, model, and share a locally self-reliant economy that works for the benefit of all life.

Andrew Baskin, Partner & Executive Producer at LIFT Economy, specializes in regenerative ag-related enterprise and impact investing that advances the health of our soil, food-system, and climate.  You can email Andrew at

Ryan Honeyman is a Partner at LIFT Economy and author of The B Corp Handbook: How to Use Business as a Force for Good (Berrett-Koehler Publishers). You can follow Ryan on Twitter @honeymanconsult or email him