Our Staff Writers and Editors offer insights on the latest news, events, interviews and other happenings from the development through enterprise and base of the pyramid universes
Thursday, September 3, 2015 — Latin America

Iluméxico to Bring Solar Energy to 300,000 in Mexico’s Off-Grid Communities

Source: Press Release

Iluméxico, the Mexican social enterprise focused on solar power, has joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a commitment to bring its Solar Home Systems to 50,000 off-the-grid rural homes – approximately 300,000 people – by 2020. This commitment includes the creation of 180 new jobs, of which 90 will be designated for women and 70 will be based in rural communities.
Wednesday, September 2, 2015 — Latin America

PRESS RELEASE: Colombia’s Credifamilia to Extend US$240 million in Mortgage Loans to Low-Income Homebuyers

Source: CSR Wire

New Business Call to Action member’s loans will build 20,000 homes by 2020.
Tuesday, September 1, 2015 — Latin America

In Peru, progress against TB

Source: Harvard Gazette

A branch of Partners In Health has helped reduce deaths through careful protocols.
Monday, August 31, 2015 — Latin America

Seven Emerging FinTech Players In Top Latin American Markets

Source: Forbes

Only about half of all adults in Latin America and the Caribbean had a bank account, and only 14% had formal savings - and a host of companies recognize the opportunity.
Friday, August 28, 2015 — Latin America

Vaccine Reminder Company Tested in Developing World

Source: Cornell Chronicle

A Cornellian’s nonprofit that helps parents in developing countries remember their children’s vaccination dates with bracelets has completed an initial study in Peru and Ecuador and is moving into trials and evaluations in three countries on three continents.
Thursday, August 13, 2015 — Latin America

Ecuador’s New Virtual Currency Is a Source of Pride, Worry

Source: Miami Herald

Jaime Rojas keeps his antiquated cellphone on the dashboard of his taxi. He can’t use it to play games or check Facebook, but his “dumb phone” has recently become a powerful tool: He can use it to buy gas, receive fares and send money to family.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 — Latin America

Ecuador Is the World's First Country With a Public Digital Cash System

Source: Co.Exist

The runaway success of mobile money products like M-Pesa, which first took off in Kenya, has inspired dozens of copycats around the world. Many countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America now have services allowing people to store and transfer money using their cellphones. But there's something different about Ecuador's new Sistema de Dinero Electrónico. It's being operated not by a private phone carrier or financial company, but Ecuador's left-leaning government.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 — Latin America

Mexico Bans Giveaways of Baby Formula at Hospitals

Source: BBC

The Mexican government has banned free baby formula at hospitals in an effort to encourage breastfeeding.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 — Latin America

Why Microfinance Loans Have Such High Rates

Source: The Wall Street Journal

In recent years, microfinance—distributing small loans to the poor -- has been at the center of an intense debate about the ethics of charging low-income customers high interest rates and then making a profit from them.
Monday, August 10, 2015 — Latin America

Mexico’s Anti-Poverty Programmes Are Losing the Battle

Source: Inter Press Service

While most of Latin America has been reducing poverty, Mexico is moving in the other direction: new official figures reflect an increase in the number of poor in the last two years, despite the billions of dollars channeled into a broad range of programmes aimed at combating the problem.
Monday, August 10, 2015 — Latin America

Latin America: Low-Income Millennials Present Big Market Opportunities

Source: Forbes

Hardly a day passes without a new article on how businesses are analyzing the needs, wants and spending trends of millennials. In the US alone, millennials (or Generation Y), those born between 1980 and 2000, represent 30 percent of the population. By 2025 they will be 75 percent of the workforce.The impact that millennials are starting to have on the global economy, the environment, and politics is enormous.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 — Latin America

The ketchup sachet-shaped drug saving babies from HIV

Source: BBC Mundo

Inside a foil sachet, which looks more at home in a fast-food restaurant, an exact dose of antiretroviral medicine is helping to protect newborn babies against the threat of infection from their HIV-positive mothers.
Thursday, July 30, 2015 — Latin America

This Colombian town is trying to get rid of cash — but it’s not so easy

Source: Fusion

A town of 5,000 is trying to become the first in Latin America to entirely phase out cash and rely solely on digital currency.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 — Latin America

Inter-American Development Bank Report Highlights Business Opportunities At Base of the Pyramid in Latin America and Caribbean

Source: Inter-American Development Bank

According to an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) report released today, the base of the pyramid is a $759 billion market offering promising business opportunities to the private sector.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015 — Latin America

Social Impact Bonds Are Coming to the Tropics

Source: Huffington Post

Recent developments indicate that Latin America may become a robust new frontier market for social impact bonds, with a rich set of multiple-player ecosystems.
Thursday, July 23, 2015 — Latin America

Peru Government Installs National Strategy for Financial Inclusion

Source: Peru this Week

As the Peruvian Finance Minister, Alonso Segura, declared last December, social inclusion is “the foundation of Peru’s growth.” To make this possible, they increased the budget for social inclusion programs for the current year by 20%.
Friday, July 17, 2015 — Latin America

IDB Approves Climate-Smart Agriculture Fund

Source: Press Release

First-of-its-kind fund will support investments that increase rural livelihoods, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance biodiversity.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015 — Latin America

Education Start-up, The Un-School of Disruptive Design, Announces Mexico City Fellowship for Emerging Leaders

Source: Press Release

Following a successful program in NYC, the Un-School has opened applications for mavericks and misfits of social innovation to join them in Mexico this November.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015 — Latin America

Channing Tatum Retires From Stripping and Focuses on Saving Lives

Source: SheKnows

Recently, we all found out Channing Tatum?'s deepest, darkest secrets revealed during an AMA — from his admittance that his acting was horrible in Step Up? to his love for Pinterest. (Yes, he seriously has a Pinterest board, and it's magical.)
Wednesday, July 1, 2015 — Latin America

WHO Validates Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Syphilis in Cuba

Source: World Health Organization

Cuba today became the first country in the world to receive validation from WHO that it has eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.
Monday, June 29, 2015 — Latin America

A Light in the Darkness

Source: The Economist

Some mountainous parts of Mexico are so remote that the electricity grid fails to reach them, let alone the banking system. A five-year-old social enterprise, Iluméxico, hopes to change that. It provides more than 20,000 people with loans to buy low-cost solar panels and batteries, enabling them to switch lights on, watch television and charge mobile phones, sometimes for the first time.
Friday, June 19, 2015 — Latin America

Prescription for Shoes

Source: Duke Global Health Institute

We walk into the exam room—Jeremy, a fourth year medical student on the cusp of finishing a clinical rotation at the Mayan Medical Aid health post, and me, a global health graduate student eager to learn about healthcare in indigenous communities in Guatemala.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015 — Latin America

School in Bolivia Cleans Up Using Pedal-Powered Soap

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

Freddy Candia Aguilar, affectionately known as “MacGyver” for his uncanny ability to make something out of nothing, proudly held a banner with the words “Cochabamba Pedal Project” emblazoned on it. He had been providing free bike tune-ups all day to participants in Cochabamba, Bolivia’s first Bike and Pedestrian Day, while promoting his new social enterprise.
Thursday, June 4, 2015 — Latin America

How the Red Cross Raised Half a Billion Dollars for Haiti ­and Built Six Homes

Source: ProPublica

The neighborhood of campeche sprawls up a steep hillside in Haiti’s capital city, Port-au-Prince. Goats rustle in trash that goes forever uncollected. Children kick a deflated volleyball in a dusty lot below a wall with a hand-painted logo of the American Red Cross.
Monday, June 1, 2015 — Latin America

Ecuadorian Banks Must Adopt Official Electronic Currency - or Else

Source: Pan Am Post

While companies worldwide are embracing the rise of decentralized cryptocurrency bitcoin, Ecuadorian officials have chosen to make local banks adopt a home-grown state digital currency — whether they like it or not.
Friday, May 29, 2015 — Latin America

Latin America development bank CAF eyes presence in Cuba

Source: Reuters

The Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) aims to be the first multilateral lender present in Cuba, its executive president said on Thursday, as the communist-run island seeks foreign investment amid a diplomatic opening to the United States.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015 — Latin America

Catholic Trust Looks to Brazilian Fund for Social Returns

Source: The New York Times

A Brazilian investment fund is taking to heart theVatican’s endorsement of leveraging capitalism’s tools to help address inequality.
Thursday, May 14, 2015 — Latin America

New GSMA Report Finds That Latin America and the Caribbean Have Fastest Growth in Mobile Financial Services Globally

Source: Business Wire

At the Mobile 360 Latin America event today, the GSMA issued the report, ‘Mobile Financial Services in Latin America and the Caribbean: state of play, commercial models and regulatory approaches’, which examines the current state of mobile financial services across Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region. The report outlines important advances in mobile money adoption in the region, showing that nearly two thirds of markets have at least one live mobile money service. Today, there are a total of 37 mobile money services, accounting for roughly 14.9 million registered mobile money accounts, in 19 countries1 in the region. This includes seven new services launched in Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Panama and Peru since 2014.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 — Latin America

Colombia Water Works: Turning Trash Into Cisterns

Source: Miami Herald

For more than a decade, Cecilia Uribe has relied on a higher power to provide a basic utility: water. In her sprawling neighborhood on the outskirts of Colombia’s capital, municipal water only ran twice a month, she explained, “so I would just wait for my God to make it rain.”
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 — Latin America

Harnessing Social Impact Investing in Latin America

Source: The Huffington Post

For many, Latin America is associated with a laundry list of negatives: drugs, corruption, gang violence and transnational crime. However, our new reportHarnessing Social Impact Investing in Latin America, helps to dispel some of these myths. In fact, in the realm of social impact investing, it is on the forefront of rapidly-changing global trends.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 — Latin America

How NGOs Can Help Unleash Cuban Remittances

Source: Devex

Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean set a new record high last year, at a total of $65.4 billion, the Inter-American Development Bank revealed Tuesday.
Wednesday, May 6, 2015 — Latin America

Press Release: Acumen Launches Expansion to Tackle Poverty in Latin America

Source: Market Watch

Acumen announced today its expansion to support social entrepreneurship in Latin America. The pioneer in impact investing will be headquartered in Bogotá and will invest in innovative entrepreneurs and enterprises in Colombia and Peru to drive faster, sustainable solutions to poverty and create new paths forward to tackle economic inequality. While extreme poverty in Latin America has declined by half, more than 80 million people still live on $4 a day and more than 200 million are at risk of being pulled back into poverty by economic instability and climate change.
Wednesday, May 6, 2015 — Latin America

Press Release: Acumen Launches to Tackle Poverty in Latin America

Source: Market Watch

Acumen announced today its expansion to support social entrepreneurship in Latin America. The pioneer in impact investing will be headquartered in Bogotá and will invest in innovative entrepreneurs and enterprises in Colombia and Peru to drive faster, sustainable solutions to poverty and create new paths forward to tackle economic inequality. While extreme poverty in Latin America has declined by half, more than 80 million people still live on $4 a day and more than 200 million are at risk of being pulled back into poverty by economic instability and climate change.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015 — Latin America

Total of $125,000 USD Awarded to Two Local Companies for Financial Technology Business Solutions

Source: Accion

Village Capital and Accion Venture Lab announced the winners of their program, Village Capital-Accion Venture Lab: FinTech Mexico 2015. The program partnered with theMasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth, Pomona Impact, and United IT Consultants, Inc. to support entrepreneurs making financial services more affordable and accessible for Mexicans who lack access to traditional financial services (“underbanked”).
Tuesday, May 5, 2015 — Latin America

Zidisha Launches Its Cross-Border P2P Lending Platform in Haiti

Source: The Next Web

Y Combinator non-profit alum Zidisha is launching its cross-border P2P lending platform in Haiti, its first Latin American market, its founder Julia Kurnia told TNW in an exclusive interview.
Thursday, April 30, 2015 — Latin America

Latin American Organizations Campaign to Ban Monsanto

Source: TeleSUR

Doctors, scientists and environmentalists in Argentina, and across Latin America, are demanding a ban on Monsanto products.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015 — Latin America

What Latin America Will Look Like in 2020

Source: Fast Company

Leaders from some of the most innovative companies in Latin America offer their predictions on what the future of the region holds.
Monday, April 27, 2015 — Latin America

Interview: Infonavit CEO, on Reshaping Mexico’s Mortgage Market

Source: World Finance

Mexico is transforming its urban housing policy, and with the help of key names such as Infonavit and its CEO Alejandro Murat Hinojosa, the country is seeking to implement more sustainable solutions.
Friday, April 24, 2015 — Latin America

Brazilians Spraying and Praying for Dengue Vaccine Breakthrough

Source: Bloomberg

A cup of cloves, a half-liter of alcohol and a dollop of body oil: You won't find this homemade mosquito repellent in Brazilian drugstores, but the recipe went viral after a worried sanitarian posted a cell phone video on Facebook last week.
Thursday, April 23, 2015 — Latin America

Assured Labor Raises $6.75M, Has Connected Workers With 100K Jobs In Latin America’s Informal Sector

Source: Tech Crunch

Long before LinkedIn went public or before a plethora of on-demand startups began washing the Bay Area and other U.S. cities with services at the click of a button, there was this startup from an MIT grad called Assured Labor.
Friday, March 27, 2015 — Latin America

Inter-American Development Bank Creates New Institution for Private Sector Operations

Source: Devex

The Inter-American Development Bank is in the process of forming a new entity to handle its private sector activities, according to a bank employee with knowledge of the plans.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 — Latin America

Argentina Challenges HSBC to Condemn 'Financial Piracy' As It Demands $3.5bn From Swiss Accounts

Source: The Telegraph

Argentina has challenged HSBC to publicly denounce alleged tax evasion at the bank's Argentine subsidiary, saying not doing so would be an act of "financial piracy".
Friday, March 6, 2015 — Latin America

MasterCard and Microsoft partner to promote financial inclusion in Mexico

Source: FinExtra

MasterCard and Microsoft announced a partnership to promote economic development in Mexico by supporting the base of the economy, the micro merchant, through comprehensive projects and innovative solutions in information technology, communication and payments
Wednesday, March 4, 2015 — Latin America

Drought-Stricken São Paulo Battles Dengue Fever Outbreak

Source: Wall Street Journal

Inhabitants of this megacity, suffering through the worst drought in decades, have unwittingly contributed to an outbreak of dengue fever by storing scarce water in open containers.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015 — Latin America

Bitcoin Startups Bring 'Rebittance' Service to Argentina and Mexico

Source: Coindesk

Bitcoin startups Volabit and SatoshiTango have opened a money transfer service between their respective countries through a collaboration called Coinnect.
Monday, March 2, 2015 — Latin America

Move Over, Doctors—Plumbers Without Borders Are Coming to the Rescue


For Florida plumber Frederick Schilling Jr, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which killed at least 45,000 people, was a pivotal moment in his life, transforming how he looks at the world. His view today? “We in America have absolutely no idea how good we have it and how easy our lives are,” he said.
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 — Latin America

Citi and IBM Align to Accelerate Digital Banking Innovation Through Citi Mobile Challenge

Source: Market Watch

Citi® and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a collaboration to work with developers and build the next generation of financial technology (FinTech) through the Citi Mobile Challenge. IBM will offer mentorship tutorials, and access to Bluemix, IBM's digital innovation platform, to help developers participating in the Citi Mobile Challenge build, test and deploy their FinTech solutions. Citi Chief Client Experience, Digital and Marketing Officer for Global Consumer Banking Heather Cox and IBM Fellow and CTO Jerry Cuomo made the announcement at IBM InterConnect 2015, IBM's major cloud and mobile conference.
Monday, February 16, 2015 — Latin America

Mexican Banks Using Mobile Payments Technology to Enable Digital Transactions at Mom-and-Pop Stores

Source: Mobile Payments Today

In a bid to increase card payments and financial inclusion, Mexican banks are collaborating with mobile payments technology vendors to deploy mPOS solutions at mom-and-pop stores. The Mexican government encourages these initiatives, as around 70 percent of all purchases in Mexico are made with cash and the informal economy represents 30 percent of GDP.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015 — Latin America

Press Release: Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion and HelpAge Int'l Report - Aging and Financial Inclusion: An Opportunity

Source: PR Newswire

Today, the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) and HelpAge International released Aging and Financial Inclusion: An Opportunity, a report that examines the unmet financial needs of the rapidly growing global aging population, particularly in the developing world. The purpose of this report is to highlight the barriers and opportunities related to financial services in older age and throughout the aging process, a relatively neglected area of study.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015 — Latin America

Viewpoint: Profit Is Not a Dirty Word

Source: PSI Impact

Sustainability is an all too overused word that is rarely linked to the word profit. Yet sustainability and profit go hand in hand. When it comes to building a network of health facilities in a developing country using a social franchising model similar to how business franchises operate; the link between profit and sustainability is imperative. Without one we cannot hope to have the other.
Monday, February 9, 2015 — Latin America

Study to Offer Microloans to Tijuana Sex Workers

Source: U-T San Diego

A study that looks at links between poverty and high-risk behavior among Tijuana sex workers will offer loans to a group of 60 women this year. The dollar amount is small— initially about $200 per participant — and the researchers hope that the women will use the money to launch small businesses and find an additional source of income.
Thursday, February 5, 2015 — Latin America

IDB to support BoP families in the Dominican Republic with access to credit for home improvements

Source: Inter-American Development Bank

Loan of up to $5 million has mobilized an additional $5 million through a B-loan syndication.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015 — Latin America

Brazilian Development Bank Loans $100m to Banco do Nordeste do Brasil to Expand Microcredit

Source: MicroCapital

Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES), the Brazilian government’s development bank, reportedly has announced that it will loan USD 100 million to Banco do Nordeste do Brasil (BNB), a public bank operating in Brazil’s Northeastern Region. The investment will be made from the microcredit program of BNDES, and BNB will commit an additional BRL 42.8 million (USD 16.6 million) to the effort. The proceeds will be used to fund individual entrepreneurs as well as micro- and small enterprises (MSEs). The interest rate of the wholesale loan will be set according to the country’s Long-term Interest Rate (known as TJLP in portuguese), which currently stands at 5.5 percent, plus 1.1 percent [1].
Wednesday, January 28, 2015 — Latin America

Press Release: Better Than Cash Alliance Study Shows Colombia's Digital Payment Tool for Coffee Farmers Is a Model to Replicate

Source: Market Wired

The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) Smart Coffee ID Card (CCI), launched in 2006, has become a vital tool for financial inclusion and change in the productive dynamics of Colombia´s rural sector, according to the Better Than Cash Alliance (BTCA), a United Nations alliance of governments, companies and the development community committed to the global transition from cash to electronic payments.
Thursday, January 15, 2015 — Latin America

MasterCard and Movistar Launch Peru's First Mobile Money Service

Source: Finextra

With the goal of promoting financial and social inclusion in Peru, Movistar, in alliance with MasterCard, has announced the launch of “Your Mobile Money” (Tu Dinero Movil), the first electronic money service in Peru, which will offer users significant savings in their money transfers.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015 — Latin America

Absolute Portfolio Management Invests $8.5m in Microfinance Institutions in Cambodia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru

Source: MicroCapital

Absolute Portfolio Management (APM), an arm of Austria-based asset management group C-Quadrat, recently informed MicroCapital that it disbursed credits totaling the approximate equivalent of USD 8.5 million from its two Vision Microfinance funds, the Dual Return Fund-Vision Microfinance and the Dual Return Fund-Vision Microfinance Local Currency, to unspecified microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Cambodia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peru.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015 — Latin America

Where Cellular Networks Don’t Exist, People Are Building Their Own

Source: Wired

Inside the cloud that is perpetually draped over the small town of San Juan Yaee, Oaxaca, Raúl Hernández Santiago crouches down on the roof of the town hall and starts drilling. Men wearing rain gear of various impermeabilities cluster above him, holding a 4-meter-tall tower in place. Braided wires trail from four small circles welded near its midpoint; eventually those will be bolted or tied down in order to hold the tower steady during the frequent storms that roll through this part of Mexico’s Sierra de Juárez mountains. They don’t want it falling over every time it rains. Ninety thousand of the town’s pesos—a bit over $6,000—are invested in the equipment lashed to the top of the tower, in a town where many residents get by on subsistence agriculture.
Monday, January 5, 2015 — Latin America

Bolivian Women Bank on Sweet Success of Quinoa Bars

Source: The Guardian

Women in a Bolivian cooperative hope to boost income by adding value to their quinoa crop through making chocolate-coated energy bars.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014 — Latin America

How Gravity (And a Little Coagulant) Could Transform How Communities Clean Water

Source: This Big City

Purifying water is a problem as old as civilization. When people started living together in anything bigger than traveling bands of shepherds and hunters, potable water became a shrinking resource. The rotating belt of local oases or springs could satisfy you while you were constantly on the move but once you started needing the communal watering hole to keep your animals upright or your crops alive, cooperation became more tenuous and waterborne diseases became sundry. Getting sick from your drinking water was the tradeoff for settling down, and we’ve been repaying the debt ever since.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014 — Latin America

SunEdison, IFC, OFID, and CABEI Close $146M Financing for Solar PV Projects in Honduras Totaling 81.7 MW

Source: Solar Server

SunEdison Inc. (Belmont, CA, US) on December 15th, 2014 announced the closing of an approximately USD 146 million non-recourse debt financing arrangement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID).
Thursday, December 4, 2014 — Latin America

PRESS RELEASE: Roundtable on Aging and Financial Inclusion in Latin America

Source: 3BL Media

Over 40 leaders from across Latin America, including the banking, microfinance, academic, and aging advocacy sectors, joined together in Bogota, Colombia for a roundtable on the topic of Aging and Financial Inclusion. This meeting focused specifically on aging demographics in Latin America and the increasing need for access to quality financial services—including pensions, savings, insurance, loans, and payments.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014 — Latin America

Narayana Health Opens Hi-Tech Hospital in the Caribbean

Source: India West

Famed heart surgeon Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty, Mother Teresa's personal physician and founder of Narayana Health — an Indian hospital network that is internationally regarded as one of the world's lowest-cost, highest-quality healthcare providers — is bringing his mission of providing affordable, accessible healthcare to America.
Tuesday, December 2, 2014 — Latin America

Mercario Partnering With Mimetic Markets to Launch First Bitcoin Exchange in Honduras

Source: CoinTelegraph

Honduran Mercario partners up with American Mimetic Markets to launch the first Bitcoin exchange in Honduras. Hosted by Mimetic Markets, freshly announced trading platform Mercario will allow users to trade Honduran lempiras, Brazilian reals and bitcoins on a robust and scalable system. In a company's announcement, Mimetic Markets CEO Sameer Parekh Brenn stated:
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 — Latin America

Tunnel Lab: A Social Enterprise that Equips Impoverished Brazilian Youths With Technological and Entrepreneurial Knowledge

Source: Digital Journal

Brazil is the largest country in South America and the fifth most populous in the world, but it provides only a minor fraction of the technological innovation that drives economic growth in other countries. A new social enterprise called Tunnel Lab is trying to change this dynamic by introducing a love for technology in many of the country’s poorest favelas.
Friday, November 7, 2014 — Latin America

WorldRemit expands mobile money transfer services to Latin America

Source: Mobile Payments Today

WorldRemit, an online and mobile money transfer company, has announced a partnership with Bancomer Transfer Services Inc. to offer money transfers to Latin America.
Thursday, October 30, 2014 — Latin America

PRESS RELEASE: Institutions from Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay win the IDB’s Inter-American Awards for Innovation

Source: WebWire

Banco do Nordeste of Brazil, Tigo from Paraguay, and FOODSANU from Ecuador have won this year’s Inter-American Awards for Financial andEntrepreneurial Innovation for their excellence in supporting financial inclusion, digital finance, and microenterprise in Latin America and theCaribbean.
Thursday, October 30, 2014 — Latin America

US sends health official to Cuban Ebola meeting

Source: UT San Diego

U.S. and Cuban health officials sat together in Havana on Wednesday to discuss Latin America's response to Ebola, the most concrete sign so far of the nations' desire to cooperate against the epidemic despite decades of tense relations.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 — Latin America

Could reforms unlock Mexico's "huge" microfinance potential?

Source: BNamericas

Mexico's financial reforms could help the country's microfinance industry fulfill its "huge potential" for growth, rating agency S&P said in a report.
Friday, October 24, 2014 — Latin America

Thompson Funded to Study Household Air Pollution Among Low-Income Communities in Guatemala

Source: UCSF

A new project aims to train women entrepreneurs to sell liquid petroleum gas (LPG) stoves and provide education about reducing exposures to household air pollution.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 — Latin America

Ecuador backs national mobile wallet

Source: Mobile World Live

In an unusual move, Ecuador is reportedly building its own mobile wallet to boost financial inclusion, without the involvement of the country’s operators or banks.
Thursday, October 16, 2014 — Latin America

IDB and PepsiCo Foundation Launch Innovative Program to Prevent Undernutrition and Obesity in Latin American Infants

Source: Inter-American Development Bank

On the eve of World Food Day, the IDB and the PepsiCo Foundation announce $5 million grant for nutrition program to help children in Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru
Tuesday, October 7, 2014 — Latin America

Entrepreneur aims to eliminate blindness in Mexico

Source: CCTV America

Poor physical health and poverty can go hand-in-hand. When those without money suffer from a disability, they either cannot afford to get the medical attention to get better or go deeper into poverty trying to become healthy. In Mexico, two million people suffer from cataracts and even more from other eye-related health issues, making it the second leading cause of disability in the country. Most of them are poor or working class people.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014 — Latin America

Latin American Business Schools Rise With Social Entrepreneurship

Source: Business Because

Latin American business schools are drawing more international students and launching more MBA programs with a unique focus on entrepreneurship and social responsibility.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 — Latin America

PRESS RELEASE: Accion Acquires 10 Percent Stake in Peruvian Microfinance Institution Credinka

Source: Accion

Boston, MA and Lima, Peru, September 24, 2014 – Accion, a leader in microfinance, today announced its purchase of a 10 percent stake in Peruvian microfinance institution Credinka from majority stake holder Diviso Grupo Financiero.
Friday, September 19, 2014 — Latin America

MasterCard and Bansefi to drive financial inclusion in Mexico

Source: Finextra

MasterCard and BANSEFI, the social bank of Mexico, announced a partnership to foster financial inclusion in Mexico through the disbursement of social benefits using electronic payments.
Thursday, September 18, 2014 — Latin America

IDB Launches USD $500 Million Education, Youth and Employment Bond

Source: 3BL Media

Citi priced a $500 million four-year Education, Youth and Employment (EYE) bond on behalf of The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB or IADB) on Tuesday – a first-of-its-kind investment vehicle, created with the support of Citi Microfinance.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 — Latin America

Philip Morris Sues Uruguay Over Graphic Cigarette Packaging

Source: NPR

Shopping for cigarettes in Uruguay isn't a pleasant experience. Photos of decaying teeth, premature babies and gruesome hospital scenes wrap around every pack. In fact, the country requires manufacturers to cover at least 80 percent of the packaging with medical warnings and graphic images.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 — Latin America

Coca-Cola Life Markets As 'Healthy Coke' In South America: Is It Really Better For You?

Source: Latin Times

Coca-Cola Co. is introducing Coca-Cola Life -- a mid-calorie cola that was released in Argentina and Chile last year -- to the Mexican market in September. Each 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola life contains half the calories of a regular Coke, with 64 calories and 16 grams of sugar. According to the Wall Street Journal, the product has tested well (in both flavor and concept) with Mexicans.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 — Latin America

Dengue fever vaccine shown to be significantly effective in Latin America clinical studies

Source: Vaccine News Daily

Sanofi Pasteur announced last week that it has completed the third phase of its clinical study for a vaccine candidate in Latin America aimed at eliminating dengue fever.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 — Latin America

Mexico summit pledges to serve microfinance clients better

Source: The Daily Star

The 17th Microcredit Summit held in Merida, Mexico, last week discussed ways to better serve the next generation of clients and promote client-centred microfinance.
Thursday, September 4, 2014 — Latin America

Final trial confirms efficacy of Sanofi's dengue vaccine

Source: Reuters

French drugmaker Sanofi, developing the first vaccine against dengue fever, said its product reduced disease cases by 60.8 percent in a large final clinical trial.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014 — Latin America

PRESS RELEASE: PepsiCo Unveils New Water-Modeling Tool at World Water Week

Source: Press release

Wednesday at the Stockholm International Water Institute's annual World Water Week, PepsiCo announced the company's latest Water Report and unveiled Hydro-BID, a ground-breaking data management and modeling tool developed in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) that estimates the availability of freshwater in water-scarce regions throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
Thursday, August 28, 2014 — Latin America

Artisanal chocolate shop focuses on education

Source: The Globe and Mail

Introducing Michael Sacco, the founder of ChocoSol, a learning community/social enterprise that focuses on making the ‘food of the gods’ – commonly known as cacao – into fresh, whole food, stone ground chocolate on an artisanal scale.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 — Latin America

Ericsson to power Mobile Money project for ASBANC in Peru

Source: Telecom Lead

Telecom equipment vendor Ericsson will design and implement the mobile money project, Peru’s largest private initiative for financial inclusion for the National Bank Association in Peru.
Monday, August 18, 2014 — Latin America

Renewable Energy Companies to Invest $7 Billion in Chile Power

Source: Bloomberg

Renewable-energy developers plan to invest $7 billion for wind and solar projects in Chile. The government awarded 70 concessions for solar power projects and six for wind farms, the country’s Energy Minister Maximo Pacheco told reporters today in Santiago. There were more than 30 recipients.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 — Latin America

Economic growth and 'something else' to address inequality

Source: Devex

How can fast-growing developing economies close the inequality gap and ensure that economic growth is followed by structural transformation that not only reduces poverty but also improves access to opportunities, promotes mobility and enhances social capital? They need to find ways to provide growth and “something else” or opportunities for social cohesion and mobility for those at the bottom of the pyramid, Julie T. Katzman, executive vice president and COO at the Inter-American Development Bank said during an interview with Devex on the sidelines of the event in Paris.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 — Latin America

Genius in Microfinance - Reflections on Pancho Otero

Source: Huffington Post

In a recent retrospective, Rich Rosenberg called Pancho Otero, the founding leader of Bolivia's Prodem and BancoSol, a genius. Elisabeth Rhyne tell the story of who Otero was and what he accomplished.
Thursday, July 31, 2014 — Latin America

OPINION: Brazil's Unaffordable Homes

Source: The New York Times

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — I live in Mandaqui, a district six miles from downtown. The nearest subway station is roughly two miles away, or about 30 minutes by bus, since they’re slow and scarce. It’s not the best place to live if you don’t have a car. Even so, the average price per square foot here recently soared to $250. Real estate in prime areas of the city can now cost as much as $465 per square foot.
Monday, July 28, 2014 — Latin America

PRESS RELEASE: President Peña Nieto of Mexico Expected to Attend 17th Microcredit Summit

Source: Digital Journal

The Microcredit Summit Campaign announced today that President Enrique Peña Nieto is expected to join the delegates of the 17th Microcredit Summit on September 3, 2014, in Merida, Mexico.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 — Latin America

Financial Inclusion in Paraguay: New Mobile Money Regulation

Source: GSMA

The opportunity to increase financial access in Paraguay is massive.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 — Latin America

Prudential Funds NCLR Research that will build on The Hispanic American Financial Experience

Source: Market Watch

The $850,000 grant will focus on the financial education needs of U.S. Hispanic population and dig deeper into Hispanics’ knowledge, access and use of financial products to achieve long-term financial security
Monday, July 7, 2014 — Latin America

Social Enterprise In Haiti Transforms The Lives Of Peanut Farmers

Source: Forbes

The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership recently announced the launch of its latest social enterprise. Called Acceso Peanut Enterprise Corp., it’s aimed at the more than 12,000 small holder peanut farmers in Haiti.
Wednesday, July 2, 2014 — Latin America

TriLinc Global Impact Fund Makes Impact Investment in Argentina

Source: Fort Mill Times

TriLinc Global Impact Fund approves a new $5.0 million revolving trade finance facility to an Argentine beef company, bringing total financing commitments as of June 30, 2014 to $28.7 million for business expansion and socioeconomic development in Latin America
Thursday, June 19, 2014 — Latin America

OPINION: Latin America's Silicon Valley: That would be Colombia

Source: Mercury News

Today, nearly half of the world lives in poverty, including nearly a quarter of Californians. The United States, like every nation, grapples with the challenge of income inequality. Colombia is no different.
Friday, May 2, 2014 — Latin America

Microfinancing Mexico Via Responsible Tourism Activities

Source: Travel Weekly

Fundacion En Via aims to empower women in Mexican villages with interest-free loans and business coaching.
Thursday, May 1, 2014 — Latin America

Brazil Approves GM Mosquito That Could Cut Dengue

Source: SciDevNet

The approval was made last week (10 April) by the National Technical Commission on Biosecurity, the organisation that regulates transgenic organisms in Brazil.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 — Latin America

Incofin Investment Management’s Rural Impulse Fund Acquires Equity Stake in FIELCO From Accion Gateway Fund

Source: MicroCapital

FIELCO expects to use Incofin IM’s expertise in international microfinance to “strengthen its governance, focus on social performance and overall structure”
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 — Latin America

Sustaining Recent Social Progress May Require a Squeeze on the Rich

Source: The Economist

Latin Americans, the past dozen years have been remarkable. The region has seen a magical combination of faster economic growth, falling poverty and declining income inequality. Is this unprecedented period of progress over?
Thursday, March 27, 2014 — Latin America

Claro to Launch 'First' Commercial NFC Mobile Payments in Latin America

Source: Mobile World Live

The NFC-based service will work at more than 200,000 payment points in retail outlets when it launches in the first half of this year, according to the project’s vendor Giesecke & Devrient (G&D).
Thursday, March 27, 2014 — Latin America

TriLinc Global Impact Fund Makes Impact Investments in Peru, Indonesia, Brazil and Chile

Source: Business Wire

TriLinc Global Impact Fund approves a $576,000 loan on March 25, 2014 to an agro-business company in Peru, bringing total loans funded in 2014 to $5.741 million for business expansion and socioeconomic development in Latin America and Southeast Asia
Thursday, March 27, 2014 — Latin America

Brazil Just Became The First Country Ever To Pay Reparations For A Maternal Death

Source: BuzzFeed World

Three years after a landmark human rights ruling, Brazil offers reparations and public commemoration. But the structural inequalities that led to a 28-year-old’s death remain.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 — Latin America

Haiti launches anti-cholera vaccination campaign

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

The Haitian government along with international partners including the World Health Organization launched a vaccination campaign against cholera on Saturday targeting 100,000 people in vulnerable areas of the impoverished Caribbean country.
Thursday, February 6, 2014 — Latin America

Mobile Money Initiative Orange m-peso launches in the Dominican Republic

Source: Banking Services Payments

The first mobile wallet was launched in the Dominican Republic by prepaid telco operator Orange and Banco Popular Dominicano.
Thursday, January 9, 2014 — Latin America

Latin America catches entrepreneurship fever

Source: BBC News

Latin Americans just don't invent much. The region is home to 8% of the global population and yet, in 2010, just 2.6% of the world's applications for patent registration were filed from here.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013 — Latin America

Haiti's new generation of doctors hope to revive ailing health sector, rebuild country

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

A cholera epidemic, one of the highest malnutrition and maternal mortality rates in Latin America and an ill-equipped health sector are not putting off a new generation of Haitian doctors born and trained in the Caribbean nation.
Thursday, December 12, 2013 — Latin America

Latin American Nations Increase Usage of Bank Card and Mobile Payment in Online Commerce


Research and Markets' new Latin America Online Payment Methods 2013 - Second Half 2013 report indicates that online payment continues its growth in the emerging markets of this dynamic region.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 — Latin America

Bank of Mexico opens the way for money transfers via mobile devices

Source: Global Post

The goal is to give bank customers the ability to move funds "with greater ease and safety via cellular phones or other devices that have a linked mobile telephone line," the central bank said in a statement.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 — Latin America

How a $16M Nike-led effort could reshape Brazil's health and economy

Source: Biz Journals

A three-year, $16 million initiative led by Nike Inc. to get more Brazilian children involved in physical activity could ultimately help the World Cup host nation avert an economic catastrophe.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013 — Latin America

Coffee shops, farmers and a banker team up to save Latin American coffee

Source: PRI - The World

Coffee trees in Central and South America are in danger. They have always been vulnerable to a disease called leaf rust, or la roya in Spanish. But now a warmer, wetter climate is creating the worst outbreak in a generation.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013 — Latin America

Duke Global Health Institute brings pediatric care to Guatemala

Source: The Duke Chronicle

A multidisciplinary team from Duke is providing pediatric surgical care and research in Guatemala, where access to medical services is limited.
Thursday, November 7, 2013 — Latin America

ADB, IDB Presidents discuss interregional partnership and shared challenges

Source: Press Release

Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) President Luis Alberto Moreno met today to discuss how the two regions can step up joint efforts to tackle shared opportunities and challenges, such as increased economic integration, private sector development, rising inequality, and a lack of opportunities for the poor.
Thursday, November 7, 2013 — Latin America

Joining Forces to Fight the Leaf Rust Epidemic Devastating Latin American Coffee

Source: News Release

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR), the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the InterAmerican Development Bank and Skoll Foundation announce today support for the non-profit agricultural lender Root Capital ‘s Coffee Farmer Resilience Initiative. The initiative is a collaborative venture designed to stabilize supply chains by investing in coffee farmers at the base of the value chain, who are on the front lines of battling the leaf rust epidemic in Latin America.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013 — Latin America

Project in Sergipe, Brazil, Deploys Telemedicine in Pediatric Care

Source: Hispanic Business

Cisco technology will be used in the care of children in Brazil´s northeastern region, in the towns of Lagarto and Tobias Barreto, connecting local clinics to hospitals and specialists from the capital of the state and the Federal University of Sergipe, improving medical assistance.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013 — Latin America

Why social enterprises can help heal Haiti's post-earthquake wounds

Source: The Guardian

It's been nearly four years since the Haiti earthquake and despite the billions of dollars that have been pumped into aid relief projects, the country is still recovering. "Since the earthquake, there has been a lot of short-term aid in Haiti, but creating sustainable and long-term jobs is a different story" explains Rebecca Troxler from 3 Cords, a social enterprise whose workforce includes a number of amputees and members of a local deaf community, who otherwise would likely be unemployed.
Friday, November 1, 2013 — Latin America

Mexico nears junk food tax, sets anti-obesity plan

Source: Bradenton Herald

Mexico's congress approved a new tax on junk food Thursday as the government announced a campaign to fight obesity in a country with one of the world's highest rates of overweight people.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 — Latin America

Brazil to produce measles and rubella vaccine for poor countries

Source: The Baltimore Sun

Brazil's top biomedical research and development center announced plans on Monday to produce a combined measles and rubella vaccine for developing countries, mainly in Africa.
Monday, October 14, 2013 — Latin America

First Microfinance Institutions in Latin America Certified for Strong Client Protection Practices

Source: Smart Campaign

The Smart Campaign, a global initiative to incorporate strong client protection practices across the microfinance industry, announced the first three microfinance institutions in Latin America to become Client Protection Certified.
Monday, October 14, 2013 — Latin America

Small loans, big smiles in Mexico’s Oaxaca

Source: Seattle Times

A microfinance nonprofit offers tours to meet Mexican women in their small businesses — and your tour dollars go to new loans.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013 — Latin America

Pfizer’s Adele Gulfo on the benefits of working with women-owned businesses

Source: Devex

As women’s empowerment gains more visibility as a part of the global development agenda, companies are realizing that working with women-owned businesses pays off. Pfizer has discovered that working with women-owned businesses both benefits its business and helps achieve its goals of empowering women, said Adele Gulfo, president of Pfizer Latin America.
Friday, October 4, 2013 — Latin America

Colombia to improve capital city’s public transport system with IDB loan


Colombia will improve its public transportation system in Bogota with a $40 million loan approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), making its hallmark bus system better as well as cleaner.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013 — Latin America

Healthy Connections: Technology Promoting Family Health

Source: The Herald

During the Healthier Futures plenary at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, Chelsea Clinton was joined onstage by Pro Mujer's President and Chief Executive Officer, Rosario Perez; Mayo Clinic's President and CEO, John Noseworthy, M.D.; the President of Pfizer Latin America, Adele Gulfo; Sesame Workshop President and CEO, H. Melvin Ming, along withSesame Street Muppet, Rosita, to announce a unique CGI Commitment to Action that will promote healthy behavior and disease prevention among poor women and children in Bolivia, Nicaragua, Peru, Mexico and Argentina. The commitment will use a new technology platform integrating mobile, web, and video technology along with remote training and access to specialists.
Monday, September 23, 2013 — Latin America

Latin American link-up aims for US$1 syphilis test


Paraguayan and Uruguayan scientists are working together to develop a US$1 diagnostic test for syphilis, which they hope could be launched as early as next year. The early-detection kit for a disease that affects three million people in Latin America would be used alongside pregnancy tests to cut cases of congenital syphilis, say the researchers, who have linked up through the UN University's Biotechnology Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNU-BIOLAC), based in Venezuela.
Thursday, September 19, 2013 — Latin America

Unequal Access to Health Care in Latin America No. 1 Killer of Moms & Kids

Source: Hispanically Speaking News

An international delegation recently concluded their meeting on infant and maternal health in Latin America. The conclusion – unequal access to health care is still the number one killer for mothers and their children. While child mortality has more than halved in the region according to the World Bank, children from impoverished homes are five times more likely to die before they turn five years old. The majority of those deaths deemed preventable. Over the past 20 years significant improvements have been made on maternal health and mortality rates have dropped by 40 percent.
Thursday, September 5, 2013 — Latin America

Brazil, facing health-care crisis, imports Cuban doctors

Source: The Washington Post

Since the 1960s, Cuba has deployed an army of doctors by the tens of thousands to the world’s most inhospitable corners, from Haiti to Africa’s killing fields to the ultra-violent barrios of Venezuela. Now, thousands of Cubans are heading to relatively affluent Brazil to shore up a decrepit health-care system that has become a national embarrassment.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013 — Latin America

Mortality rate in Latin America and Caribbean drops

Source: Breaking News Trinidad and Tobago

With the exception of young men, most people in Latin America and the Caribbean are living much longer today than 40 years ago. The mortality rate has dropped by at least 80 percent for children 4 years old or younger and by more than 50 percent for women between the ages of 20 and 44. For men between the ages of 15 and 19, however, the mortality rate has increased by 1 percent, largely due to deaths from road injuries and rising violence.
Friday, August 23, 2013 — Latin America

Bringing Solar To Impoverished Towns, With A Model Straight From The Corporate World

Source: Fast Company's Co.Exist

Disillusioned by corporate life, Manuel Aguilar and Juan Rodriguez started Quetsol, an organization that uses business acumen to supply rural Guatemalans with solar power.
Thursday, August 1, 2013 — Latin America

Breast-feeding woes: Mexico sees dramatic drop of moms nursing, raising concerns over health

Source: The Star Phoenix

Despite the well-known advantages to breast milk and vigorous campaigns around the world championing breast as best, Mexican mothers say the bottle is better.
Thursday, August 1, 2013 — Latin America

Colombia is world's first country to wipe out river blindness - WHO

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

Colombia has become the first country in the world to eradicate river blindness through the distribution of an anti-parasitic drug in affected parts of the South American nation and a sustained health education campaign in local communities, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.
Thursday, July 25, 2013 — Latin America

Brazil's eco-tourists keep social enterprises successful and sustainable

Source: The Guardian

The three–part series closes with an investigation into Brazilian ecotourism and social entreprise success by Iguazu Falls.
Thursday, July 25, 2013 — Latin America

Goizueta MBAs Help Fix the Bolivian Recycling Business

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

On Aug. 3, seven MBA students from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School will travel to Bolivia as part of a project designed to put their skills to work solving a waste problem in the nation’s capital in Santa Cruz. The students will help determine the feasibility of building a more efficient recycling plant and creating jobs in the process.
Monday, July 22, 2013 — Latin America

Entrepreneurship a way out of poverty in Guatemala

Source: Cincinnati Enquirer

Javier Villatoro grew up without a mom and dad in Guatemala City. He dropped out of school in his late teens to learn to cut Guatemalan jade and other precious stones and to work silver with Argentinean jewelers. He used his earnings to buy drugs, alcohol and snuff. He struggled with thoughts of suicide.
Friday, July 12, 2013 — Latin America

Brazil's social entrepreneurs are making the most of safer favela conditions

Source: The Guardian

On a five-week journey exploring all five regions of Brazil, social enterprise specialist Richard Brownsdon investigates what opportunities are available for social entrepreneurs in the fifth largest country in the world.
Wednesday, July 3, 2013 — Latin America

How Brazil can win back investors

Source: Fortune

Investors will be waiting on the sidelines until they see that Brasilia is making a true and concerted effort to stamp out corruption and govern in a way fitting for the world's seventh-largest economy.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013 — Latin America

Telling a very happy story: enterprise from Brazil's point of view

Source: The Guardian

Social enterprise is becoming a part of the norm in Brazil, a valid option for starting or growing a business.
Thursday, June 27, 2013 — Latin America

Studies on Mexican microlender shed light on profit, poverty

Source: Reuters

Mexico's microfinancing bank Compartamos, accused by activists of exploiting poor borrowers with exorbitant interest rates, has generally helped people but could cut the interest it charges without hurting its bottom line, a pair of studies has found.
Monday, June 24, 2013 — Latin America

Inclusive economic growth and Brazil's protests

Source: Devex

Brazil’s weeklong protests, which have brought hundreds of thousands of people into the streets across the country, have scored their first victory: Officials in the major cities of Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro have agreed to rescind the 20 cent bus fare hike that sparked the protests in the first place. But this conciliatory move, far from placating the crowds, seems to have energized their demands.
Friday, June 21, 2013 — Latin America

Doctors reap in billions as Cuba’s top export

Source: Business Recorder

Cuba is out to boost its top export, an ever-more critical pillar of its economy.
Friday, June 21, 2013 — Latin America

Colombia Consolidates Itself As A Health Destination In Latin America

Source: Curaçao Chronicle

The country is pioneer in creating its own accreditation systems. There are 16 national Colombian institutions accredited nationally and two accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI).
Friday, June 7, 2013 — Latin America

Argentina builds first-ever solar neighborhood to fight energy poverty

Source: Deutsche Welle

A solar power project in Buenos Aires is providing electricity for some of the city's poorest households. Volunteers are hoping to create Argentina's first green community - one rooftop at a time.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013 — Latin America

How an iPad in a corner store can spell success in Mexico

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

On the outskirts of Mexico City, just past the dusty plateau of a defunct landfill, the cinder block houses of Chimalhuacán crowd a hillside. It’s a city beyond a city, made up of nearly 1 million residents including surrounding areas, yet it lacks many of services and stores one might expect of a city ­– like banks.
Friday, April 26, 2013 — Latin America

Assured Labor Raises $5.5M To Find Jobs For Workers Across Latin America

Source: Tech Crunch

Assured Labor, a New York, Mexico City and São Paulo-based startup that helps low- and middle-income workers across Latin America find jobs through their mobile phones, just closed $5.5 million in funding led by Mexican private equity firm Capital Indigo.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 — Latin America

Looking for a Latin American Seed Fund? Try the Colombian Government

Source: The Atlantic

Grooveshark creator Andres Barreto is placing a bet on Colombia.
Thursday, March 28, 2013 — Latin America

Root Capital Tops $500 Million in Cumulative Lending to Rural Enterprises in Africa and Latin America


The nonprofit agricultural lender Root Capital announces today that it has hit a major milestone, topping $500 million in cumulative lending to more than 425 small and growing businesses providing some 750,000 small-scale farm families (3 million individuals) with better livelihoods in poor, environmentally vulnerable locations in Africa and Latin America.
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013 — Latin America

Questioning the TOMS Shoes Model for Social Enterprise

Source: The New York Times

After visiting Argentina and seeing the impact of poverty on some of its children, Blake Mycoskie was inspired to create a philanthropic “for-profit business that was sustainable and not reliant on donations.” The result was Toms Shoes, which promised that for every pair of shoes it sold, it would give away another pair to a child in need.
Friday, March 8, 2013 — Latin America

From Andrew Square, taking on the UN for Haiti

Source: The Boston Globe

Fights against entrenched and powerful forces are sometimes waged from highly improbable places. As a case in point: Brian Concannon is taking on the United Nations from the sanctuary of a quiet former convent in Andrew Square.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 — Latin America

Brazil's Rousseff says extreme poverty almost eradicated

Source: Reuters

President Dilma Rousseff on Tuesday raised the monthly stipend of 2.5 million people living below the poverty line to make good on her promise to eradicate extreme poverty in Brazil, a nation with enormous income gaps between rich and poor.
Friday, February 15, 2013 — Latin America

If you build it

Source: The Economist

A scheme to promote working-class home ownership is off to a good start
Monday, January 28, 2013 — Latin America

Killer quinoa? Time to debunk these urban food myths

Source: The Globe and Mail

Twenty years ago, quinoa was pretty much unknown. Now, it’s in everyone’s cafeteria. Its price is going through the roof. And that, in the confused minds of Western foodies, is somehow a bad thing.
Thursday, January 24, 2013 — Latin America

SAP Invests in Emerging Entrepreneurs to Drive Innovation

Source: Press Release

SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) today announced an initial three-year, EUR 2 million commitment to Endeavor Global, Endeavor Brazil and India's National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN), organizations with a comprehensive focus on high-impact entrepreneurs. As part of a new emerging entrepreneurs initiative, SAP and its partners will help accelerate job creation and responsible and sustainable business growth for emerging entrepreneurs, who will be selected via the Endeavor and NEN networks. With an initial focus on Brazil and India, SAP and its partners plan to expand into additional emerging markets.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 — Latin America

The unpalatable truth about quinoa

Source: The Guardian

Ethical consumers should be aware poor Bolivians can no longer afford their staple grain, due to western demand raising prices.
Tuesday, January 8, 2013 — Latin America

New Partnership to Develop Business Models for Providing Basic Services to the BoP in Latin America

Source: IDB Press Release

IDB’s MIF, OMJ to provide grants and technical assistance for businesses seeking to provide health care, education, energy and water for poor and low-income communities
Wednesday, January 2, 2013 — Latin America

Paying with 'kisses' as Brazil’s social currencies spread

Source: BBC

Shopkeeper Heraldo Rodrigues da Silva, 55, owns a small store in Sao Benedito, one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Vitoria, the capital of the Brazilian state of Espirito Santo.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012 — Latin America

Ban joins Hispaniola effort against cholera

Source: Devex

Ban Ki-moon has announced a new initiative that will support a 10-year effort against cholera in Haiti. This comes amid mounting calls for the United Nations to take responsibility over the spread of the disease in the country.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012 — Latin America

Bolivia Invests $20 Million in Waste Management

Source: Environment News Service

WASHINGTON, DC, December 10, 2012 (ENS) – Bolivia will improve municipal solid waste management services such as collection, transportation, and disposal, with a $20 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank, the bank announced today.
Thursday, November 1, 2012 — Latin America

In the pipeline: $300M worth of AFD, IDB projects

Source: Devex

The French Development Agency, or AFD, and the Inter-American Development Bank have signed a three-year “action-oriented” agreement that will expand the two agencies’ development efforts in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Thursday, November 1, 2012 — Latin America

QMágico’s co-founder talks social entrepreneurship and education in Brazil

Source: The Next Web

Thiago Feijão was one of the panelists speaking at Entrepreneur Week Brazil, which took place for the first time in Rio de Janeiro last week. As the co-founder of edtech startup QMágico, he talked about social entrepreneurship and education opportunities in Brazil.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 — Latin America

Lessons from Rio: the talking points from SEWF2012

Source: The Guardian

In a converted 1871 grain storage facility near Rio de Janeiro's old waterfront docks, I joined my fellow NESsT staff from 11 different countries to transform an empty historical building to a sustainably designed venue in a matter of days.
Monday, October 15, 2012 — Latin America

Muhammad Yunus announces financing in Haiti

Source: Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Nobel peace laureate Mohammad Yunus announced Saturday that his pro-business development group is financing several endeavors through a mix of loans and equity.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 — Latin America

How Entrepreneurs Can Fight Drug Traffickers

Source: Forbes

There’s nothing like attending the heady, exhilarating Clinton Global Initiative to get me out of the operational trenches of entrepreneurship for social change. But this year, I was distracted by a conversation taking place just down the street at the UN General Assembly—on drug trafficking.
Thursday, October 4, 2012 — Latin America

Accion Invests $3 Million in Mobile Services Provider Tiaxa

Source: Press Release

Accion announced today that its Frontier Investments Group has invested US$3 million in Zonamovil Inc. (“Tiaxa”), a Chilean provider of managed services for the wireless telecom market. For more than 10 years, Tiaxa has provided mobile network operators globally with billing and rating services for prepaid mobile phone users, as well as innovative financial and business intelligence services that increase operator revenues and improve user satisfaction and loyalty.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012 — Latin America

Jeff Skoll's Billion-Dollar Plan To Save The World

Source: Forbes

Four years ago Jeff Skoll arrived via small plane in the depths of the Brazilian Amazon region, just in time for the Waura people’s festival of the pique fruit, where he sipped from a bucket of its bitter, bright-yellow brew.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012 — Latin America

Venture Capital Is Taking Off in Mexico

Source: CNBC

Mexico has a large, stable and growing economy, currently the 14th largest economy in the world and, according to Goldman Sachs, will be the fifth largest economy by 2050.
Monday, September 17, 2012 — Latin America

12,000 Nicaraguan Families to Benefit From Improved Housing Conditions

Source: Hispanically Speaking News

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a loan of up to $5 million to Nicaragua’s Foundation for the Promotion of Local Development (Prodel), paving the way for the non-profit organization serving the base of the pyramid to expand financing for basic community infrastructure and incremental home improvement projects.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012 — Latin America

Haiti insurance firm receives $2 million in equity to expand services to the poor

Source: Montreal Gazette

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - A non-profit set up by former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush after the 2010 earthquake has given $1 million in equity to an insurance firm based in Haiti.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012 — Latin America

Making housing more affordable in Mexico


In many parts of the world, if families outgrow their homes they simply add on to them. They grow 'em, piece by piece, room by room, brick by brick, when they get some extra cash. But, turns out, that's not very efficient. It wastes money, supplies, and lots of time. Alex Goldmark reports from Mexico, on a new way to build affordable housing -- and I mean really affordable.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012 — Latin America

A Look Inside Pipa, Brazil’s First Start-Up Incubator

Source: Fast Company

Pipa (Portuguese for “kite”) is an incubator, or to be more specific an accelerator, focused on supporting entrepreneurs looking to create long-term sustainable value through business. We aim to support these entrepreneurs in their quest to create positive social, environmental and financial impact, something Brazil is engaging with more and more.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012 — Latin America

Digital Money, Mobile Wallets and Latin America

Source: Huffington Post

A recent wave of global and regional announcements regarding mobile wallets and payment systems has casual and close followers alike asking some the same questions.
Monday, July 30, 2012 — Latin America

DBJ pilots mobile solution to microfinancing

Source: The Jamaica Gleaner

In a bid to reduce loan costs for small-scale commercial borrowers, the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) is piloting a mobile money product that was given the green light by the Bank of Jamaica mid-year.
Thursday, July 26, 2012 — Latin America

Mexico experiments with the 'branchless' bank

Source: Marketbplace

Tess Vigeland: The FDIC estimates that somewhere around 18 percent of the U.S. population is what's called underbanked -- Ppeople who turn to payday lenders and check cashing services and the mattress because they don't have good access to the banking system.
Friday, July 20, 2012 — Latin America

Bamboo Finance Invests R$7 Million (US$3.6M) in Bille, To Build 1200 Affordable Houses in Sao Paulo State

Source: Press Release

Geneva, Switzerland, July 19, 2012 – Bamboo Finance, a leading impact investment firm with a pioneering history of funding growth stage business models that drive economic viability in low-income markets, has invested R$7M (US$3.6M) in Bille, a Special Purpose Enterprise (SPE) created by Crinale, a Brazilian housing developer, for building and selling 1,200 houses in the interior of Sao Paulo State. Bille uses an innovative and efficient business model to build and sell affordable standard houses, reducing the time from development to sale by more than 50%. To date, Crinale has completed six affordable housing projects in five towns, delivering more than 1,100 low-income houses in the interior State of Sao Paulo.
Monday, June 18, 2012 — Latin America

Rio+20: Are We There Yet?

Source: Forbes

No, we are not yet there, but we may be getting closer. On Saturday, the Brazilians took over the once again informal negotiations on the outcome document. The world is fortunate in this regard, as Brazil has one of the best diplomatic corps in the business.
Thursday, June 7, 2012 — Latin America

VisionSpring Sells Its One Millionth Pair Of Eyeglasses In The Developing World

Source: PRWeb

For many in the developing world, the lack of access to affordable eyeglasses leads to the unnecessary loss of educational and employment opportunities. VisionSpring works to ensure that everyone in the developing world has access to eyeglasses. Founded in 2001, by Dr. Jordan Kassalow, VisionSpring has developed proprietary distribution channels in India and El Salvador to deliver high-quality, affordable eyeglasses and comprehensive eye care to the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) consumer.
Thursday, May 24, 2012 — Latin America

Brazil's historically poor northeast finally gets its boom

Source: Los Angeles Times

RECIFE, Brazil — The Brazilian state of Pernambuco was once known for its vast plains of parched dirt and roving bandits called cangacos, who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor. For later generations, escaping the widespread poverty of the northeast customarily meant moving to livelier southeastern cities like Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, though many migrants still ended up living in favelas, or slums.
Thursday, May 24, 2012 — Latin America

A Middle Man Could Bring Smartphones to Millions of Mexicans for the First Time

Source: GOOD

After two years of intentionally losing money in a very smart way, a Mexican cell phone company is set to change the way the country’s consumers use mobile phones to access the internet. If their plan works, it could transform not only the Mexican phone industry, but consumer finance systems in developing countries around the globe.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012 — Latin America

First Fund to Help Smallholder Farmers with Long-Term Loans

Source: Microfinance Focus

Incofin Investment Management, Fairtrade International (FLO) and Grameen Foundation will establish a ‘First Fund’ to focus on the unmet demand of smallholder farmers for long-term loans.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012 — Latin America

B Corps Go Global: Sistema B Certifies South American Social Enterprise

Source: GOOD

Last fall, a small group of social entrepreneurs from South America met to discuss how to foster more social enterprise in the region and create more bang for the buck at existing enterprise. The result was Sistema B, the first effort to adapt the American system of B Corporations—which ease operations for companies that combine profit and social good—to a foreign setting.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 — Latin America

Study: OLPC Fails Students as a Tool for Education


The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program of low-cost laptops for developing countries has not led to any measurable impact in academic achievement, according to a recent report.
Monday, April 9, 2012 — Latin America

Daniel Izzo on Brazil's First Impact Investing Venture Capital Firm

Source: Forbes

Recently, the Opportunities for the Majority (OMJ) Initiative of the Inter-American Development Bank hosted Daniel Izzo, co-founder and partner of Vox Capital, Brazil’s first impact investing venture capital firm, which focuses on high potential businesses that serve the Brazilian low income population through products and services with the potential to improve their lives.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012 — Latin America

In Chile’s Slums, A Lesson in How to Make Apps for Social Good

Source: The Washington Post

How many of the hundreds of thousands of mobile phone applications seek to do truly great things, such as lift people out of poverty or improve health care for the poor?
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 — Latin America

Tigo Helps Remittances Go Mobile

Source: Fast Company

In countries like Guatemala, remittances from migrant workers in the U.S. are critical to the economy. Tigo, an international telecom, has a unique plan to use mobile banking to simplify a trying process.
Thursday, March 8, 2012 — Latin America

Tiny Loans, Tremendous Returns: Tales from the Microlending Frontier

Source: DailyFinance

Sometimes, small gestures can make huge differences in people's lives and livelihoods. That's the premise -- and the power -- of microlending.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012 — Latin America

Empowering the Haitian People

Source: UVU Review

Sustain Haiti is a non-denominational, independent group of Haitians, development specialists, students, social entrepreneurs, and concerned citizens based in Provo, UT. It was created and began sending volunteers and aid to the country of Haiti after a 7.0 earthquake rocked the country in January of 2010.
Monday, January 16, 2012 — Latin America

Howard Weinstein Named Social Entrepreneur of the Year

Source: CSRwire

NEW YORK, Oct. 27 /CSRwire/ - Solar Ear founder and CEO Howard Weinstein was selected as social entrepreneur of the year by World Technology Network. The announcement was made at the awards banquet held at the close of the World Technology Summit and Awards in New York City Wednesday night. Weinstein's award was accepted by Nick Laperle, CEO of Solar Ear's technology partner Sonomax. Solar Ear designs and manufactures a solar-powered, battery rechargeable, inexpensive hearing ai...
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Wednesday, January 4, 2012 — Latin America

It's Time for Sustainable Development

Source: The Guardian

Bill Clinton was set to enter the White House, the European Union was born and China had its first taste of a double cheeseburger with fries when McDonalds opened its doors in Beijing. That was 1992. A lot can happen in 20 years. In June 2012, two decades after the groundbreaking Earth summit, which put climate change and biological diversity on the global political agenda, attention will turn once again to Rio de Janeiro for the UN conference on sustainable development, or ...
Thursday, December 8, 2011 — Latin America

Ecuador Expanding Access to Microcredit for Low-Income Women

Source: Hispanically Speaking News

Ecuador will expand access to microcredit, particularly among low-income women, through a $50 million loan approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) aimed at increasing employment opportunities and reducing poverty. The National Program for Finance, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Solidarity (PNFPEES) will be the executing agency for the program, which will contribute to its strategy for fostering economic inclusion with particular emphasis on financing for women entrepreneur...
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011 — Latin America

Mining Proves a Test of Mettle for Peru's Ambitions of Economic Development


The resignation of Peru 's deputy environment minister amid violent protests against the country's largest ever mining project has highlighted how weak institutions, unable to ensure decisions are made on the basis of robust information, undermine green policymaking in Latin America. José de Echave quit in late November, calling environmental impact studies on the $4.8bn (£3.1...
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Monday, November 28, 2011 — Latin America

Rural Peru Gets Connected


The connection was not of crisp video quality, but the chorus of schoolchildren from San José de Huamaní, near Ica in the south, could be heard loud and clear: "Good morning," they chanted. Hundreds of kilometres away, they were greeted with applause, through video link, by a brightly lit conference room full of Peruvian and European Union officials. They were meeting in Lima to announce the completion of an ...
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011 — Latin America

Uruguayan Farmers Tackles Climate Change

Source: Microfinance Focus

The World Bank approved a US$49 million loan to support Uruguayan farmers tackle climate change. In their efforts, farmers are adopting environmentally sustainable practices to improve the resilience of their production systems in response to the effects of climate variability. The program is called the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources and Climate Change. This will benefit 16,000 Uruguayan farmers through co-financing of land projects to improve their production systems, the ...
Tuesday, November 15, 2011 — Latin America

ANDE Releases Report on Social and Inclusive Businesses in Brazil

Source: Press Release

Data from new research coordinated by the Brazil Chapter of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), the AVINA Foundation, and Potencia Ventures demonstrates significant growth for social and inclusive businesses in Brazil. The purpose of the study was to identify which regions and groups are fueling the most economic and social change. The report, released this week in English in time for Global Entrepreneurship Week, reveals a changing lands...
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Friday, October 21, 2011 — Latin America

Trashy TV with a Message: Soap Opera Attempts to Teach Women About Finances

Source: Fast Company

Entertaining as they may be, soap operas are not generally thought of as learning tools--unless you want to learn whose evil twin is having an affair with whose sister. But as parents can attest from hours of sitting through shows like Sesame Street , television is an effective teaching mechanism when used correctly. And where children may be attracted to a learning program by giant yellow birds and monsters living in trash cans, adults can be swayed by dramatic plotlines and engaging...
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Friday, October 21, 2011 — Latin America

Pro Mujer Announces $1 Billion Dollar Milestone at Annual "Giving Women Credit" Benefit

Source: PR Newswire

Pro Mujer, a non-profit, women's development and microfinance organization dedicated to alleviating poverty and empowering women in Latin America, held its annual "Giving Women Credit" Benefit at Cipriani 42nd Street on Wednesday evening in New York City. Kathleen A. Corbet, Founder & Principal of Cross Ridge Capital, was recognized as "Humanitarian of the Year" and Manuel Medina-Mora , C...
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Thursday, October 20, 2011 — Latin America

Green Businesses in Developing World Get $60M Boost, Along With Microfinance


The International Finance Corp. (IFC), a member of the World Bank group, is launching a $60 million equity financing mechanism to "promote homegrown green innovation in developing countries while encouraging the transfer of clean technologies from developed countries to developing countries." The Cleantech Innovation Facility will help small, highly innovative start-up companies that offer products or services that mitigate carbon emissions. It will n...
Wednesday, October 19, 2011 — Latin America

International Medical Corps Helps Haiti in its Long Haul

Source: Fast Company

International Medical Corps is a model for global not-for-profits, with a plan that goes way beyond drop-in disaster relief. In Haiti, IMC is training locals, building communities, and doing everything it can to put itself to pasture. Dan Khodabakhsh doesn't require a whole lot of sleep. It's perfectly normal, in fact, for the 33-year-old doctor to work a double shift bandaging up drunks and pulling bullets from teenagers in the emergency room of UCLA's Harbor Medical Center...
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Thursday, October 13, 2011 — Latin America

Seattle Microfinance Nonprofit Looks Beyond Loans to Education

Source: Puget Sound Business Journal

Global Partnerships , a Seattle-based nonprofit that provides microfinance to the developing world, has shifted its strategy in recent years to expand its focus beyond the traditional microloans that it started with 17 years ago. ...
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011 — Latin America

Peru Has Best Environment for Microfinance in Global Ranking

Source: Andina

Lima, Oct. 11 (ANDINA). Peru has finished atop the Global Microscope on the Microfinance Business Environment 2011 for a third straight year, buoyed by an excellent legal framework, sophisticated regulators and a government commitment to use microfinance to expand financial access to the poor. This annual study, prepared by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), ranks the business environment for microfinance in 55 countries and provides a perspective on both country-sp...
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Tuesday, October 4, 2011 — Latin America

Banmujer: Benefitting Over 300,000 Venezuelan Families Since 2001


One of Venezuela's most important public institutions created to assist impoverished women through micro- credit lending celebrated its 10-year anniversary last week. Banmujer first came into existence on September 21, 2001 as government run bank with the specific purpose of funding socio-productive business initiatives for women in particularly dire economic conditions. Since that time, the women's bank has granted more than 138 thousand micro-credits, benefiting over 300,...
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Monday, October 3, 2011 — Latin America

Global Partnerships Makes First Investments in Colombia

Source: Global Partnerships

Global Partnerships (GP), a nonprofit social investor based in Seattle, Washington, and Managua Nicaragua, announced today that it has made its first loans to two partner organizations based in Colombia: Fundación Amanecer and Contactar. With the addition of these two partners to its portfolio, GP is supporting the work of 33 microfinance organizations and cooperatives in eight countries in Latin America, including Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua an...
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Thursday, September 22, 2011 — Latin America

Loan Ranger

Source: The New York Times

On a hot summer day in Manaus, Brazil, Diana Taylor, the former banking superintendent of New York and longtime companion of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, was strolling through a slum. A city of about two million in the middle of the Amazon, Manaus is where the Boston-based microfinance group Acción International started an ambitious lending operation in February, and Taylor, who is chairwoman of the group's board, had flown down with a delegation...
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011 — Latin America

Grameen Foundation and USAID Providing $3 Million for Peruvian Microfinance Institutions

Source: MarketWatch

Grameen Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today announced that they are jointly providing a $1.5 million credit guarantee to the Peruvian savings and credit cooperative Cooperativa de Ahorro y Credito (ABACO) to support approximately $3 million for local currency financing to two socially-focused Peruvian microfinance institutions (MFIs). Peru has an established microfinance sector, with mature institutions having relatively easy access to internationa...
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011 — Latin America

In Pockets of Booming Brazil, a Mint Idea Gains Currency

Source: The Wall Street Journal

SILVA JARDIM, Brazil-After school and on weekends, Carlos Leandro Peixoto de Abril sells ice cream made by his grandmother from a stoop alongside the family's cinder-block home. Instead of Brazilian reais, though, the 11-year-old prefers payment in capivaris-a local currency emblazoned with the face of a giant rodent. Bills in hand, Carlos then heads to a local grocer and buys ingredients, at a special discount, for another batch of grandma's goods. The capivari circulates...
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Monday, September 19, 2011 — Latin America

A Lesson in Social Entrepreneurship: Fundacion Paraguaya

Source: Forbes

Recently, I interviewed Martin Burt, founder and CEO of Fundación Paraguaya , an NGO devoted to the promotion of entrepreneurship among the world's poor. A pioneer in microfinances and youth financial literacy in Paraguay, Burt developed one of the world's first financially self-sufficient agricultural schools for the rural poor - creating a radical new model for education. In ad...
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Wednesday, September 7, 2011 — Latin America

Omidyar Network and IGNIA Lead $13.75 Million Series B Round in Finestrella

Source: PR Newswire

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Sept. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Omidyar Network and IGNIA announced today they are leading a $13.75 million Series B round of financing in Finestrella, a provider of innovative mobile telephony services to low-income and unbanked populations in Mexico. Finestrella will use the funding to rapidly expand the availability of its current offerings while developing new products and services, including smart phones and data plans that address the needs of its customers. Th...
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Friday, August 26, 2011 — Latin America

How a Pharmaceutical Giant is Battling Malnutrition on the Ground in Haiti

Source: Fast Company

All too often, corporate philanthropy involves dropping a wad of money on organizations that are doing work on an issue that the corporation "cares" about, and then saying goodbye. But sometimes, corporations actually bring their know-how and human capital to bear on a problem, in addition to just giving money. The global pharmaceutical company Abbott is taking the second path, focusing on long-lasting initiatives that can grow local economies in struggling areas. Case in point: Abbott's ...
Monday, August 22, 2011 — Latin America

Funding Sustainable Agriculture in Latin America

Source: Microfinance Focus

Recently, the Inter-American Development Bank Group (IDB) through its Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) approved a loan and technical assistance of $4.9 million to Root Capital, a non-profit social investment fund. Root Capital provides finance for cooperatives, producers' associations, and small and medium-sized enterprises in rural areas producing under sustainable agricultural schemes in Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua. This project is aimed at providing an innovative financin...
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Friday, August 19, 2011 — Latin America

Bolivia's First Crop Insurance Scheme Promises to Empower Farmers


Natural disasters can come with six-digit figures of damage and debt attached, even in Latin America's poorest country. Bolivia 's rural areas, still dependent on rain cycles, are the most financially vulnerable to drought, frost, hail, floods and other weather adversities. Lose your crops, farmers say, and you're left with nothing but your debts. Luis Alvaro Toledo, who's wo...
Friday, August 19, 2011 — Latin America

Microfinance Records Lowest Investment Growth in Six Years ? MicroRate

Source: Microfinance Focus

According to MicroRate's 'The State of Microfinance Investment 2011' report, the lingering effects of the economic crisis led to the lowest microfinance investment growth rate observed in the past 6 years, with total Microfinance Investment Vehicle (MIV) assets growing 12% in 2010. Rating agency MicroRate has been doing annual survey and analysis of MIVs for the last six years and this year it received information from 80 MIVs covering 92% of global assets under management. ...
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Wednesday, August 3, 2011 — Latin America

Haitians Return to Africa, Bringing Solar Energy

Source: IPS

SEATTLE, U.S., Aug 2, 2011 (IPS) - Jean Ronel Noël, a young Haitian engineer, stood in a centuries-old fort on a small island just off Dakar and looked out at the Atlantic through a portal that once led enslaved Africans to the ships of the Middle Passage. "Finally we come to 'the door of the voyage of no return'," he wrote in a blog . "My blood wouldn't stop boiling, wave after wave of...
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011 — Latin America

How a 100-Year-old Tortoise Helped Build a Scalable Social Enterprise


There is no shortage of people with a vision to change the world. But how? Strategy without the proper execution is simply a dream. When met with environmental and societal issues, organisations tend to use linear thinking (give a man a fish) to identify a solution to the problem instead of taking a circular, sustainable approach (teach a man to fish) by investing in the prevention of certain situations. Take Lonesome George for example. As the last surviving tortoise of its kind, many ...
Monday, July 25, 2011 — Latin America

IFC to Invest USD 4.6 Million in Peru?s Microfinance Institution

Source: Microfinance Focus

IFC, a private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is contributing to the capital increase of microfinance lender, Caja Nuestra Gente with an investment of US $4.6 million. The investment will help Caja Nuestra Gente expand its operations in rural areas and among low-income urban communities in Peru. Caja Nuestra Gente is owned by Spain's BBVA Microfinance Foundation (FMBBVA). In addition to this investment, IFC has also opened a medium-term local-currency loan facility to support C...
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011 — Latin America

Root Capital Makes Money By Investing Where Wall Street Won't: Poor, Rural Farmers

Source: Fast Company

Small money, big change. That, in essence, is what William Foote was banking on when he ditched Harvard Business School to start what is now Root Capital , a "nonprofit social investment fund" that lends to small and medium rural businesses in developing countries. Root Capital's business model is to go where other banks will not --the agricultural sector of poor countries --and loan rural businesses as much as $500,000 to expand or improve t...
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 — Latin America

7.5 Lakh Families to Benefit from Cemex?s Housing Microfinance Program

Source: Microfinance Focus

Patrimonio Hoy, the housing microfinance program of CEMEX, is expanding its lending program to low-income families in Mexico and four other Latin American countries with a partial credit guarantee of up to $10 million from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). As many as 750,000 families are expected to benefit over the next five years through this project. Patrimonio Hoy is one of Latin America's social enterprises that provide low-income families earning of less than four tim...
Monday, June 27, 2011 — Latin America

Rio Reborn: The Favela Where Cosmetics Reps Have Replaced Drug Gangs


Miriam Pereira da Lima, 29, sheds tears as she watches her daughter dancing in the square while children ride past on bikes and fly kites. "Until a few months ago kids didn't play out on the streets," she says, still adjusting to life after the pacificação, when the Brazilian army and police moved into the Complexo do Alemão, one of Rio de Janeiro's infamous favelas, and drove out the drug gangs. With peace on the streets, business opportunities are on the r...
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Monday, June 20, 2011 — Latin America

IDB Offers $25 Million Loan to Raise Farmer?s Productivity in Peru

Source: Microfinance Focus

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) recently offered a $25 million loan to increase productivity and exports of farmers in Peru. The program will directly benefit about 14,000 producers participating in the Program of Compensation for Competitiveness, over the next four years, of which an estimated 42 percent are women. The program aims to raise farmers' productivity by 10 percent and increase the value of their products in domestic and foreign markets by 20 percent by the end...
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Wednesday, June 8, 2011 — Latin America

ACCION Brings Microfinance to Manaus, Brazil

Source: Microfinance Focus

ACCION International inaugurated on Tuesday a new microfinance institution, ACCION Microfinancas in Manaus, the capital of the state of Amazonas in Brazil's northern region which is a largely underserved microfinance market. ACCION Microfinancas, which launched unofficially when it began lending operations on February 1st of this year, has Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter-American Development Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) among its co-investors....
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Tuesday, June 7, 2011 — Latin America

Former U-M Students Help Honduran Farming Community Make Coffee More 'Local'


After several service trips to the mountainous villages of La Union, Honduras, former University of Michigan student Andrew Boyd was inspired. He wanted to do more, but wasn't sure how he could make an impact. His passion led to a microfinance organization that focused on something the people of La Union already knew - coffee. And now thanks to his efforts, the Honduran farming community gets a rebirth, and Ann Arbor is d...
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Monday, June 6, 2011 — Latin America

Brazil Launches Drive to Lift 16 Mln from Poverty

Source: Reuters

BRASILIA, June 2 (Reuters) - President Dilma Rousseff launched an ambitious plan on Thursday to eliminate dire poverty in Brazil within four years by lifting more than 16 million people from conditions of "misery." The "Brazil Without Misery" program is the signature policy of the former leftist guerrilla's first term, her advisers said, fulfilling one of the key promises she made in her campaign for ...
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Wednesday, June 1, 2011 — Latin America

Major Microlaboratory Against Poverty


RIO DE JANEIRO, May 31, 2011 (IPS) - Microcredit in Brazil still has huge potential for expansion, even though microloans have already grown much more than traditional credit in the last eight years. Microcredit has formed a successful part of anti-poverty programmes since left-wing former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took office in January 2003 and immediately launched the National Productive Microcredit Programme, targeting low-income households. ...
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Monday, May 23, 2011 — Latin America

IDB Creates SME Lending Facility

Source: Devex News

The Inter-American Development Bank has set up a $100 million facility to strengthen lending to small and medium-sized enterprises in Latin America and the Caribbean. In a May 19 press release, IDB called its SME Financing Facility as the first of its kind. The facility will channel resources through financial institutions in IDB borrowi...
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Monday, May 23, 2011 — Latin America

MIF invests $3 MN in Columbian Fondo de Capital Privado Inversor

Source: Microfinance Focus

The Multilateral Investment fund (MIF) is investing $3 million in the Fondo de Capital Privado Inversor, a venture capital (VC) fund investing in companies with scalable business models that cater to the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) population in Colombia. The fund involves support from 10 founding institutions representing people from the social and financial sector,...
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Friday, April 15, 2011 — Latin America

Empowering Women With Microfinance: From Oxford, England to Lima, Peru

Source: The Huffington Post

One week ago, I was on stage for the opening plenary of the Skoll World Forum in the scholarly, well-ordered university town of Oxford, England. Today, I am in the ramshackle home of an able, but very poor, businesswoman in the impoverished, raggedy outskirts of Lima, Peru. The connection? The Skoll World Forum is the preeminent global gathering of social entrepreneurs. Over 1,200 of the smartest, most...
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011 — Latin America

UNHCR Assists Microcredit Projects for Sex Workers in Ecuador

Source: Microfinance Focus

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR is providing support to a microcredit project in Ecuador to help the country's 'vulnerable' refugees break out of poverty and exploitation. Over the last year, the agency has been working with several organizations to set up self-reliance programmes for Colombian refugees and their hosts in Ecuador, which is home to the largest number of refugees in Latin America. Of the 53,342 recognized refugees, 73 per cent are wome...
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Monday, March 28, 2011 — Latin America

Haitian-made Crafts Land at Macy?s

Source: The Globe and Mail

With its tin roof and tiny façade hemmed in with razor wire, the shambling structure sitting on the edge of Cité Soleil - Port-au-Prince's most notorious slum - is not what you'd imagine a toy factory to look like. The one-room shack doubles as the home of Reggie Jean-François, a muscle-bound Haitian man in his mid-30s who has first-hand experience of a U.S. federal prison, the U.S. deportation system and the rehabilitative power of Jesus Christ. Jean-Fran&c...
Monday, March 21, 2011 — Latin America

PepsiCo Foundation Announces $5 M Grant to IDB's AquaFund

Source: Microfinance Focus

The PepsiCo Foundation recently announced a $5 million grant to the AquaFund, launched by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), to facilitate investment in water supply and sanitation, water resources, solid waste management and wastewater treatment. The AquaFund agreement was signed by Luis Montoya, President of PepsiCo Latin American Beverages, and Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the IDB, at the International Environment Summit in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The grant will fund a...
Thursday, March 17, 2011 — Latin America

Microcredit's Quiet Revolution Takes Root in Brazil

Source: AFP via Google News

SOROCABA, Brazil - When people talk about Brazil's economy, figures numbering in the billions of dollars are usually bandied about to underline the success -- and the potential -- of this vast Latin American market of 193 million people. But for one 25-year-old woman, Alessandra Franca, just a handful of cash is all it takes to make a difference for the 40 percent of Brazil's population who are still poor. A year ago, Franca founded Banco Perola, a lending institution spec...
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Tuesday, March 1, 2011 — Latin America

Patagonia, Adidas, Walmart Join Sustainable Apparel Coalition

Source: Fast Company

What happens when you put executives from Walmart and Patagonia in a room? This isn't the start of a bad joke--it's how the Sustainable Apparel Coalition was born. The seeds of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition were planted in 2009 when Patagonia and Walmart teamed up to help the latter company create a sustainability assessment tool for its supply chain (Patagonia was also working o...
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 — Latin America

For Pepsi, a Business Decision With Social Benefit

Source: The New York Times

SAN GABRIEL, Mexico - In the past, farmers would make the dangerous trek north from this tiny town hidden in the rugged folds of the Jalisco mountain range to the United States, hoping to earn enough money doing odd jobs to cover debts incurred while cultivating the small plots of land that have been in their families for generations. But more recently, many have managed to avoid the trips, staying home as the result of a new venture with ...
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Thursday, February 17, 2011 — Latin America

IDB, Oikocredit, Incofin and Calvert Foundation Back Credit Cooperative in Ecuador


The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has closed a $9 million syndicated loan with Jardin Azuayo, a community-based savings and loan cooperative in Ecuador . The loan will fund the co-op's Credits for Community Development project, which channels funds to municipalities, community organizations and other local entities to finance improvements in social infrastructure such as schools and roads. Th...
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011 — Latin America

With Mobile Technology Vodafone and the U.N. Improve Health in Brazil's Remote Communities

Source: Fast Company

The Vodafone Foundation and the United Nations are working together again on a mobile initiative for social good --this time in Brazil and with an eye on ...
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Friday, February 4, 2011 — Latin America

In A Shift, Cubans Savor Working for Themselves

Source: The New York Times

BAUTA, Cuba - Marisela Álvarez spends much of the day bent over a single electric burner in her small outdoor kitchen. Her knees are killing her. Her red hair smells of cooking oil. "I feel useful; I'm independent," said Ms. Álvarez, who opened a small cafe in November at her home in this scruffy town 25 miles from the capital, Havana. "When you sit down at the end of the day and look at how much you have made, you feel satisfied." Eagerly, warily, Cubans are tak...
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Tuesday, January 25, 2011 — Latin America

Colombia: For the Poor, a New Way to Protect Against Disaster

Source: Global Post

BARRANQUILLA, Colombia - Before a sales team for Liberty Mutual fanned out into a crime-infested slum to sell insurance, the venders bowed their heads, asking god to bless their work and protect them from thieves. A ramshackle neighborhood where horse carts ply the streets and the floors of many houses are made of dirt might seem an odd place to peddle insurance. After all, insurance companies have historically ignored the poor. But the Liberty team was offering something new to l...
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Monday, January 24, 2011 — Latin America

Jamaicans May Bank on a Mobile Future

Source: Jamaica Observer

JAMAICA can choose a mobile phone-based financial services delivery system which targets those persons who currently do not have easy access to the established banking network. Carl Rosenquist, a Chartered Information Technology Professional with the British Computer Society, was one of several industry experts trumpeting the development during the Mobile Financial Services Conference at the Terra Nova All Suites Hotel in Kingston in December, which aimed to develo...
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011 — Latin America

$2.5 Million Prize for Transforming Banking Sector in Haiti

Source: PR Newswire

SEATTLE and PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jan. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), announced today that Haitian mobile operator Digicel won a $2.5 million award from the Haiti Mobile Money Initiative (HMMI). Digicel was recognized for being the first to launch a mobile money service in Haiti, Tcho Tcho Mobile, that meets the competition's stringent criteria. This award,...
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Wednesday, January 5, 2011 — Latin America

To Beat Back Poverty, Pay the Poor

Source: The New York Times

The city of Rio de Janeiro is infamous for the fact that one can look out from a precarious shack on a hill in a miserable favela and see practically into the window of a luxury high-rise condominium. Parts of Brazil look like southern California. Parts of it look like Haiti. Many countries display great wealth side by side with great poverty. But until recently, Brazil was the most unequal country in the world. Today, however, Brazil's level of economic ineq...
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010 — Latin America

Fighting Poverty Can Save Energy, Nicaragua Project Shows

Source: National Geographic

In two small villages on Nicaragua's Mosquito Coast, a project to improve electricity service had a remarkable side benefit-household energy use actually dropped nearly 30 percent. When efficient compact-fluorescent (CFL) lightbulbs were added to the mix, energy savings surpassed 40 percent. The effort cut costs and brought longer hours of daily electricity service to the people of ...
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Friday, November 19, 2010 — Latin America

Brazil's Cash Transfer Scheme Improving the Lives of the Poorest

Source: The Guardian

Rumour has it that when senior civil servants at the Department for International Development (DfID) tried to interest the development secretary Andrew Mitchell in cash transfers, they couldn't get anywhere. One morning he came across a column by my colleague Aditya Chakrabortty and was converted. Within a short space of time the "must rea...
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Friday, November 12, 2010 — Latin America

Brazil bank oversight under fire

Source: Financial Times

Brazil's central bank is being urged to strengthen its oversight of the banking sector after it alleged that Banco Panamericano, a medium-sized bank by assets, had concealed losses of about R$1bn (US$580m), apparently resulting from high rates of customer default at the height of the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009. Shares in Panamericano fell by 30 per cent on Wednesday after the bank's difficulties became public and its management was replaced. But they rallied by 8 p...
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010 — Latin America

IGNIA Fund Invests MX$38.1 million in Barafon, a BoP Public Telecommunications Provider


MONTERREY, Mexico , Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- IGNIA Fund I, LP, the first impact investing fund in Latin America , announced today that it has invested MX$38.1 million ( US$3.1 million ) in Servicios Caseteros S.A.P.I. de C.V. ("Barafon"), a provider of public telephony and related services to low income populations in Mexico through a networ...
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Thursday, July 29, 2010 — Latin America

The New Normal: Haiti After the Earthquake


It's amazing how quickly things can return to normal. You wouldn't know it from watching CNN, but big segments of life in Haiti, including in the capital, Port au Prince, which suffered the greatest damage, have returned to what would have been considered normal in the days and months before the quake. There is plenty of destruction still evident, and tens or even hundreds of thousands of people living in tents or under blue plastic tarpaulins throu...
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010 — Latin America

The Candy Bar at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Should Big Food Be Delivered to the Amazon?

Source: CSR Newswire

Last week, Nestle, the world's largest food company, launched a barge called Nestlé Até Você a Bordo - or Nestlé Takes You Onboard - on an 18-day voyage up the Amazon River in Brazil. This so-called floating supermarket will bring more than 300 well-known Nestlé brands, including Ninho (packaged milk), Maggi (soups and seasonings) and Nescafé (instant coffe...
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Friday, June 25, 2010 — Latin America

IGNIA Completes Closing of Fund I at US$102 Million

Source: PR Newswire

MONTERREY, Mexico, June 22 /PRNewswire/ -- IGNIA Fund I, LP Latin America's first and largest impact investing fund, announced today that after seven rounds, it has concluded its fundraising process having reached US$102 million to serve businesses at the base of the socio-economic pyramid. This last round was led by J.P. Morgan with a US$5 million commitment and by Corporacion Mexicana de Inversiones de Capital (Fond...
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010 — Latin America

Nestle to Sail Amazon Rivers to Reach Emerging-Market Consumers


Nestle SA will begin sailing a supermarket barge down two Amazon river tributaries tomorrow as it competes with Unilever to reach emerging-market customers cut off from branded goods. The world's largest food company will send a boat with 100-square meters (1,076 square feet) of supermarket space on a journey to 18 small cities and 800,000 potential consumers on the Para a...
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010 — Latin America

Slim, Gates Team Up on Health in Mexico, Central America

Source: Forbes

Carlos Slim and Bill Gates are working together to fight poverty in Mexico and Central America. The two richest men in the world announced the $150 million 2015 Meso-American Health Initiative today at a press conference at the Museo National de Antropologia in Mexico City. Slim and Gates, who will each donate $50 ...
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Wednesday, June 9, 2010 — Latin America

Gates Foundation, USAID Announce Innovative Fund for Mobile Money Services in Haiti

Source: PR Newswire

SEATTLE and WASHINGTON, June 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today announced a $10 million incentive fund to jumpstart financial services by mobile phone in Haiti and expedite the delivery of cash assistance to victims of the country's devastating earthquake by humanitarian agencies. This initiative lays the foundation f...
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Friday, May 21, 2010 — Latin America

Chiapas Farms Raises $6.5 Million from IGNIA Fund

Source: peHUB

IGNIA Fund I, LP, the first impact investing fund in Latin America, announced today an investment of US$5 million in Chiapas Organic Holdings, Inc. ("Chiapas Farms"), a leading Mexican producer and trader of export-grade fruits and vegetables. This investment is part of a US$6.5 millionequity financing round that includes a US$1.5 million investment from existing shareholders. "Chiapas Farms integrates the Me...
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Thursday, May 13, 2010 — Latin America

Ambitious Brazil Housing Plan Would Replace Slums

Source: Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Cristina Silva dos Santos is close to realizing a dream she has had for 28 years, since giving birth to the first of six children: a home big enough for her entire family. For now, she and her five youngest are squeezed into a four-room, rough-brick house the size of most garages, where they all sleep in the same room. But a new government housing program, the largest in Latin America aimed at cutting overcrowding in slums, will give Silv...
Wednesday, May 12, 2010 — Latin America

IGNIA Fund Leads US$7 Million Financing of Finestrella

Source: PR Newswire

MONTERREY, Mexico, May 10 /PRNewswire/ -- IGNIA Fund I, LP, the first impact investing fund in Latin America, announced today that it has invested US$4 million in Finestrella S.A.P.I. de C.V. ("Finestrella"), an innovative pioneer in mobile telephony services to the low income and unbanked populations in Mexico. The investment is part of a US$7 million Series A financing round that includes, among others, Silicon Vall...
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010 — Latin America

Microlender Responds Nimbly in Haiti

Source: Globe and Mail

One evening in late January, an armoured car carrying $2-million in U.S. cash packed into non-descript office supply boxes rolled onto an Air Force base in Miami. With the White House's approval, the boxes were loaded on to a C-17 transport plane, which touched down with the load in darkened Port-au-Prince around 3 a.m. A pair of Black Hawk helicopters took over from there, flying in formation to deposit the cash at 10 drop sites spread acr...
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Saturday, March 13, 2010 — Latin America

Private Sector Eyes Opportunity in Haiti Rebuilding

Source: Reuters

Rebuilding Haiti after its catastrophic earthquake should generate major contracts for private companies specializing in construction, logistics, transport and security, but U.S. executives say they need a clear reconstruction strategy to shape their business plans. Private sector firms that focus on post-conflict or disaster relief operations gathered at a meeting in Miami this week to consider the business opportunities offered by Haiti's recovery from the January 12 quake that de...
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Friday, February 5, 2010 — Latin America

IGNIA Fund I Invests MXN$63 Million in MeXvi, Mexican Provider of Self-Construction Solutions

Source: PR Newswire

MONTERREY, Mexico, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- IGNIA Fund I, LP, the first impact investing fund in Latin America, announced today that it has invested MXN$63 million in Mexicana de Servicios para la Vivienda S.A.P.I. de C.V. ("MeXvi"), a leading provider of integral solutions for self-construction of low-income homes in rural and semi-urban settings. "MeXvi provides the end user with accessible construction materials, design and technical assistance, so that the cli...
Tuesday, January 12, 2010 — Latin America

Trinidad and Tobago: SMEs Have Borrowed $225 million

Source: Trinidad and Tobago Guardian

Even as Gerard Talbot-Paul, acting chairman, National Entrepreneurship Development Company (NEDCO), called for a smoother system to be put in place to foster the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), he said they have borrowed $225 million in the last seven years. He said ...
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009 — Latin America

Pioneers of Prosperity Select 2009 Winners

Source: Press Release

The 2009 Pioneers of Prosperity Caribbean program is pleased to announce that Bulkan Timber Works of Guyana has taken the competition’s grand prize. Alternative Insurance Company of Haiti and Totally Male Ltd. of Jamaica were also recognized. On September 11, 2009, ten finalists from seven countries across the Caribbean competed for a grant of US $100,000 to invest in the growth of their company, and the prestigious title of Pioneer of Prosperity. The Honorable Orette Bruce Goldin...
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Monday, July 27, 2009 — Latin America

Three noted businesswomen team up to help microentrepreneurs

Source: Business Mirror

The dynamic troika of Chit Juan, Jeannie Javelosa and Reena Francisco has given a new definition to social enterprise, which is a response to the current conditions. The Environment and Community Hope Organization—or Echo—Store is a business enterprise operating for a profit “but with a social cause,” said Juan, who heads the marketing component of Echo Store. Founded six months ago, the Echo Store has become the hub of product...
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Wednesday, July 1, 2009 — Latin America

IGNIA Fund I Invests US$3 Million in Pro-Organico

Source: Earth Times

IGNIA Fund I, LP announced today that it has committed US$3 million to Pro-Organico S.A.P.I. de C.V. in the Company's first round of equity financing. Pro-Organico is a leading grower and exporter of a broad line of USDA-certified organic produce. Pro-Organico links Mexican farmers to the rapidly-growing North American organic produce market by managing agricultural operations and coordinating logistics with distributors and retailers across the United States, Canada and Me...
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Monday, June 29, 2009 — Latin America

Bolivian Microfinance

Source: RGE Monitor

Bolivia has been the success story in microfinance in Latin America in the last twenty years. I decided to spend one week in La Paz to better understand the business model of the Bolivian microfinance institutions. During the six day stay in La Paz I had the privilege of meeting the Executive Director of Bolivia’s Financial Services Supervisory Authority (ASFI) Ernesto Rivero, the former President of Bancosol and Prodem Fernando Romero Moreno, the President of the Bolivian Academy of Ec...
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Monday, June 15, 2009 — Latin America

Waste disposal in Colombia: Muck and brass plates

Source: The Economist

Entrepreneurs, not scavengers FOR more than 20 years Carmen Lasso has scrabbled a living of sorts for herself and her eight children by scavenging at a rubbish dump in Cali, Colombia’s third-largest city. Her life has brought the occasional pleasant surprise, such as the silver ring crowned with a tiny light-blue stone that she ...
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Thursday, June 4, 2009 — Latin America

Banco Real: Brazilian lender focuses on both profit and growth

Source: Financial Times

Jeronimo Ramos, a director at Banco Real in São Paulo, sounds like a man with a mission. “You have to operate inside local communities. You have to know your customer’s story at first hand. Because by giving people credit, you are creating well-being. About 70 per cent of people that get credit are lifted out of poverty as a result.” Yet as Mr Ramos insists, Banco Real is not in the business of delivering social services. “We are not a philanthropic organi...
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Wednesday, May 13, 2009 — Latin America

Suman Bery: Mexican Surprises

Source: Business Standard

Mexico tends to be in the news for all the wrong reasons: financial crisis, illegal immigration, drug-lords, and most recently as the apparent origin of the H1N1 virus. A recent visit there allowed me the privilege of seeing a very different side of Mexican life. It also stimulated reflection as to what lies ahead for India as it gets richer and urbanises further. Mexico’s population of 105 million makes it the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Its p...
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009 — Latin America

Getting Microfinance Right

Source: Forbes

Forty percent of the world's population lives on less than $2 per day, according to the World Bank. Yet even in the midst of the current economic meltdown, there is reason for new optimism in the fight to reduce global poverty. The optimism starts with the evolution of microfinance, which has proved not only that the poor are credit-worthy, but that banking institutions serving the poor are investment-worthy. In addition, microfinance is tapping into a technological revolution that ...
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Monday, April 6, 2009 — Latin America

MicroPlace Offers 6 Percent Return on Microfinance Investment

Source: Press Release

MicroPlace (, a website that enables everyday people to invest in the world's working poor, announced today the launch of the first microfinance investment opportunity that offers a 6 percent annual return for everyday investors. This investment offering comes at a time when Americans are examining the best ways to use their tax refunds in a tough economy. According to a recent poll by, 58 percent of Americans planned to either save or invest ...
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Monday, March 30, 2009 — Latin America

Root Capital Launches 5-Year, $63M Growth Capital Campaign

Source: Press Release

Root Capital announced today that it has launched a comprehensive Growth Capital Campaign that will significantly increase its capacity to serve rural grassroots businesses in developing countries by establishing a sustainable social enterprise and fully self-sufficient lending program by 2013. The five-year $63 million campaign includes a unique combination of Philanthropic Equity and Debt Capital and will accelerate the organization’s ability to impact global poverty by linking rural ...
Tuesday, March 24, 2009 — Latin America

Qualcomm Backs Game Console for the "Next Billion"

Source: Associated Press

A startup called Zeebo Inc. is betting that people in emerging markets want to play good video games just as much as people in the U.S., Western Europe and Japan do. Zeebo plans to launch its "video game console for the next billion" in Brazil next month for $199 and in other countries later this year for $179. It was developed using the cell phone technology of Qualcomm Inc., the San Diego company best known for its mobile phone chips. The Zeebo unit is light, and a lit...
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Monday, March 23, 2009 — Latin America

Unveiling Latin America's economic success

Source: Knowledge@INSEAD

A lot of attention has been focused on the remarkable economic success of China, India and other Asian countries. So much so that the rise of Latin American companies as major players on the international economic scene has almost gone unnoticed. “Latin American companies have fallen through the cracks,” says Lourdes Casanova, a lecturer in strategy at INSEAD and author of Global Latinas: Latin America’s emerging multinationals. “While other emerging m...
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Friday, March 13, 2009 — Latin America

Root Capital Director Explains His Company?s Lending Role

Source: The Cornell Daily Sun

Financing typically comes in two sizes for businesses: very large or very small. Large-scale financing caters to the needs of large businesses, while small-scale financing answers the needs of tiny enterprises. In a manner reminiscent of Goldilocks' perfect fit, Root Capital - a nonprofit social investment fund based in Cambridge, Mass. - aims to provide much-needed capital to help such medium-sized businesses grow. Last night, students and faculty alike gathered in the Plant Scienc...
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008 — Latin America

IGNIA Completes Second Closing, Bringing Fund I to $34M

Source: Venture Capital News

GARZA GARCIA, Mexico, November 25, 2008-- IGNIA Fund I, L.P., Latin America's first social venture fund, announced today it has reached a total of US$34 million in equity commitments by completing its second closing. Investors include the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), a US family foundation, and European and Latin American individuals. This round of US$13.6 million builds on IGNIA's initial closing of $20.6 million announced in early Jun...
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Saturday, November 15, 2008 — Latin America

Retailer at Home in the Favelas

Source: Financial Times

The live music is by Exaltasamba and, as it pounds out of stacks of loudspeakers, the singer gets -the several hundred people in front of the store dancing, jumping and waving their arms as if there is no -tomorrow. It is 9.30 am and the show has been put on for the opening of a new S?o Paulo outlet of Casas Bahia, a Brazilian retailer of furniture and electrical goods. The store is one of the chain's 550 in Brazil and its first to open in a favela - one of the sprawl...
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Tuesday, July 8, 2008 — Latin America

Mexican microfinance institution Compartamos breaks silence since IPO

Source: Financial Express

Breaking their silence since their April 2007 IPO, Carlos Danel and Carlos Labarthe, co-founders of Compartamos, the leading Mexican microfinance bank, publish an excerpt of their newly released Letter to Our Peers in the latest issue of the magazine Microfinance Insights. The authors, who have been criticized by members of the microfinance community since their IPO brought in extraordinary returns, acknowledge in the letter that social and economic goals can reinforce each other,...
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Monday, June 30, 2008 — Latin America

Doing good by doing very nicely indeed

Source: Economist

For years Muhammad Yunus reigned as the public face of microfinance. It seemed only right when, in 2006, the Bangladeshi economist cum social entrepreneur and his Grameen Bank shared the Nobel peace prize for a micro-lending revolution that has helped millions to earn their own way out of poverty. Yet for the past year or so, microfinance has had another public face, one that troubles people like Mr Yunus. CompartamosBanco argues that the best way for microfinance to help the poor is for it t...
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Thursday, June 19, 2008 — Latin America

Latin America's Poor Provide Rich Pickings

Source: The Guardian

Peruvian housewife Genoveva Airaconda spends her days visiting neighbours around her shanty town on the outskirts of Lima. It might not sound like a profitable pastime, but her visits provide a steady income for her family as well as adding to the bottom line of Swiss-based multinational Nestl?. Airaconda is one of hundreds of door-to-door salespeople that the food giant has recently employed to sell their nutritional products in the Peruvian capital. By usi...
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Tuesday, June 10, 2008 — Latin America

Latin America: Social innovation ? Giving the majority a stake

Source: Ethical Corporation

Latin American companies are getting to grips with ?bottom of the pyramid? business. Illiterate residents across rural Bolivia have never heard of the academic CK Prahalad. And until recently many had never used modern banking services. They still don?t know who Prahalad is, but now they are withdrawing money from a voice-recognition ATM developed by Prodem, a microfinance institution. In addition to understanding verbal instructions, the specially adapted bank ...
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Thursday, March 6, 2008 — Latin America

Grupo Salinas Founder and Chairman Ricardo B. Salinas Addresses FIU Highilighting Opportunities at t

Source: IT Business Net

With a presentation entitled Selling to the Poor: a 100-Year Success Story, Mr. Salinas shared some of the entrepreneurial and social development opportunities of businesses that focus on low-income consumers, a market referred to by University of Michigan Business School Professor C.K. Prahalad as the Bottom of the Pyramid. The best solution to the problem of poverty is to create wealth, argued Mr. Salinas. We need to look for new entrepre...
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Thursday, February 28, 2008 — Latin America

Hacer negocio con los pobres

Source: Expansion

Suena pol?ticamente incorrecto, pero quiz? la manera m?s efectiva de luchar contra la pobreza sea convertir en ?clientes' a los m?s desfavorecidos. Por su parte, las empresas que lo consigan descubrir?n un mercado de 4.000 millones de personas. En tiempos de globalizaci?n, no hay pieza m?s codiciada por una multinacional que descubrir un nuevo mercado. Para muchos, es posible que no haya que rebuscar tanto para encontrarlo y, de paso, ayudar en la lucha contra la pobreza y el s...
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Monday, November 26, 2007 — Latin America

En el Punto de Mira: Somos Pobres, Pero Somos Muchos

Source: Compromiso Empresarial

Spanish language magazine Compromiso Empresarial (Oct. 2007) has two pieces specifically focused on the importance and growth of BOP markets worldwide: En el Punto de Mira: Somos Pobres, Pero Somos Muchos (Spanish only) Entrevista con Rob Katz (Spanish only) See the attached files, or sign up to ...
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Monday, November 26, 2007 — Latin America

The Base of the Latin American Pyramid

Source: RGE Monitor

By Otaviano Canuto Thomas Trebat was right when he remarked here yesterday an enormous share of the Latin American wealth generated in recent years has piled up in the hands of a privileged few that may or may not be playing a useful role in turning the present boom into self-sustained econ...
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Tuesday, October 2, 2007 — Latin America

Business-friendly Reforms Best Way to Advance Latin America Economies

Source: San Jose Mercury News

What irony! When it comes to cutting government red tape and creating a pro-business atmosphere, communist-ruled China, Vietnam and former Soviet-bloc countries in Eastern Europe are moving much faster than most of Latin America. A new World Bank report - Doing Business 2008 - which looks at the ease of doing business in 178 countries around the world, says countries such as Croatia, Georgia, Estonia, China, India and Egypt were the most aggressive last year in adopting pro-business ref...
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Thursday, August 2, 2007 — Latin America

?No es fascinante?

Source: El Universal

LA pobreza es, para algunos agudos analistas socioecon?micos, la riqueza del futuro y empieza a transformarse de problema en oportunidad. Ha empezado a surgir un creciente inter?s alrededor de un tema trascendente para la humanidad: la posibilidad de crear masivamente modelos de negocios rentables que permiten a la vez, generar utilidades y lograr la superaci?n de las comunidades m?s pobres. Lo que es m?s, crear oportunidades de negocio con y para la poblaci?n m?s pobre no ...
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Tuesday, July 24, 2007 — Latin America

P&G's Global Target: Shelves of Tiny Stores

Source: Wall Street Journal

Every day, Martina P?rez D?az spends about five hours sewing 70 pairs of black loafers by hand for a wage of 120 pesos, or about $11. When she wants to wash her hair, she walks to her local tiendita, or small store, to buy a 0.34 ounce, single-use packet of Procter & Gamble Co.'s Head & Shoulders shampoo. The price: two pesos, or about 19 cents. That I usually can afford, she says. [Martina Perez Diaz] Shoppers like Ms. D?az factor heavily i...
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Thursday, April 19, 2007 — Latin America

How Magazine Luiza Courts the Poor

Source: HBS Working Knowledge

Inspiration for a new case can strike at any time. For Harvard Business School professor Frances X. Frei, the time and place was one morning at home while reading The New York Times. An article on the front page of the Business section about an innovative Brazilian retailer prompted an immediate e-mail to Gustavo Herrero (HBS MBA '76), executive director of the School's Latin America Research Center (LARC). Herrero responded promptly, and with the assistance of LARC senior researcher Ric...
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Monday, August 7, 2006 — Latin America

Clinton Speaks on Poverty and Politics in Latin America

Source: IDB America

A highlight of the IDB?s ?Building Opportunities for the Majority? conference in June was a conversation between Luis Alberto Moreno, the Bank?s president, and Bill Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States. Clinton participated in the conference because the IDB?s new initiative dovetails with many of the activities of the William J. Clinton Foundation. Moreno and Clinton discussed a wide range of topics, including inequality, trade, alternative energy, AIDS and the rewards of public serv...
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Monday, July 17, 2006 — Latin America

New business in new markets

Source: World Business Council for Sustainable Development

Excerpt: Despite some progress, the Millennium Development Goals remain elusive. The role of the private sector in helping to deliver these goals is increasingly being recognized, and many are urging the business community to mobilize and strengthen its contribution to poverty-reduction strategies. A partnership between the Netherlands' development organization SNV and the WBCSD aims at helping companies in Central America and the Andean regions do more pro-poor business, especia...
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Friday, June 30, 2006 — Latin America

Peso power brings hope to poor

Source: Financial Times

Excerpt: E very weekend Hilario Amador makes the short journey to the city centre of Zacatecas where he deposits 120 pesos with Patrimonio Hoy, a self-help building scheme run by Cemex, Mexico's largest cement company. The money is equal to about 20 per cent of his weekly wage at a local abattoir and it has allowed the 38-year-old to receive regular supplies of the materials he needs to tile the floor, repair the roof and build two extra rooms...
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Thursday, June 29, 2006 — Latin America

Banco ProCredit looks to boost loan portfolio 57% this year - Ecuador

Source: Business News Americas

Excerpt: Ecuadorian niche bank Banco ProCredit aims to increase its loan portfolio to US$115mn by the end of this year, up 57% on end-2005, CEO Pedro Arriola told BNamericas. The bank's strategy focuses on strong growth in the small and microenterprises segment, a significant increase in its deposits base and development of a wide range of financial products, the executive said. The average loan extended by ProCredit is US$2,500 and its clients typically earn just US$5...
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Monday, June 26, 2006 — Latin America

Development bank seeks new approach to Latin America's problems

Source: Miami Herald

Excerpt: With leftist politicians on the rise throughout Latin America, Washington policymakers are turning their sights on the left-behind majorities fueling the populist surge. It is the latest struggle for the hearts and minds of people in a region swept first by free market reforms favored by the U.S. government and now buffeted by a shift to more home-grown policies that sometimes fly in the face of the United States. Sensing a seismic shift in South American sentimen...
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Friday, June 23, 2006 — Latin America

The World Is Hot

Source: The New York Times

Abstract: New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman writes about climate change and its impact in the developing world. Note: TimesSelect is needed to view this article....
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Tuesday, June 13, 2006 — Latin America

PM to address IDB conference in Washington DC

Source: Radio Jamaica

Abstract: Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller is one of many speakers at the Inter-American Bank's conference, "Building Opportunity for the Majority."...
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Tuesday, June 13, 2006 — Latin America

Too soon to call a turn

Source: Financial Times

Abstract: In an opinion piece, Richard Lapper explores the possibility of shifting political winds in Latin America. He also discusses the BOP and the new agenda of Inter-American Development Bank, which is being pushed ahead in full force by the Bank's new president, Luis Alberto Moreno....
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Monday, May 22, 2006 — Latin America


Mary Jo Foley Cut-rate PC/hardware Windows XP Starter Edition bundles aren't Microsoft's only solution for bringing computing to the masses. Microsoft (MSFT) unveiled a new financing program designed to make PCs more affordable to emerging-market customers on May 22, the day before the kick-off of its annual Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) in Seattle. The new pay-as-you-go program and associated metering technology that enables it are k...
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Monday, May 15, 2006 — Latin America

Nestl?: Corporate Citizenship and the Value Chain

Source: GreenBiz News

Nestl? is traveling its own road with a proposed new corporate social responsibility model. By Ken Stier Nestl?'s recently unveiled Latin America corporate social responsibility report is the food giant's bear-hug attempt to understand its operational impacts across a vast sourcing, production and distribution chain. It is also a stab at defining a new corporate responsibility model, one that sits more comfortably with the firm's defiantly unap...
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Monday, May 1, 2006 — Latin America

Incubating Entrepreneurs

Source: IDB America

In Chile, a novel training program pairs business-school students with low-income entrepreneurs in a mutually enriching partnership. By Nicole Keller When M?nica Civilo decided to start her own business, she felt disadvantaged because she had no access to financing. (Banks generally require businesses to be up and running, or at least to put up collateral for a loan.) Once she did manage to get the money together, the family toymaker found herself in a complicated situation. ?...
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Thursday, April 6, 2006 — Latin America

Source: PC World

Chip maker moves forward with plans to sell an affordable desktop PC in developing countries. Jeremy Kirk Intel has partnered with a Mexican telecoms company to sell an affordable PC designed for first-time computer users in developing countries. It's the latest effort by technology vendors to develop products for emerging markets. Advertisement Intel said the PC would be a small, energy efficient system with full-featured PC technologies. It will be cheaper than...
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Monday, November 21, 2005 — Latin America

Fonkoze Helps Transform Microfinance to Reach the Poorest of the Poor in Haiti


After convening a summit on how to modify microfinance to serve the extreme poor, Fonkoze adapts a model pioneered by the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee. -- Marie and Roland may seem like perfect candidates for microfinance, which extends small loans and technical support to the poor to help lift themselves from poverty. Marie sold items at market in Thomonde, Haiti, and her husband Roland worked as a sharecropper planting millet and corn--until they were diag...
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Tuesday, November 15, 2005 — Latin America

Switch to the Low-Income Customer

Source: Financial Times

?We?ve changed our standard of innovation so we can serve more of the world?s consumers. So it?s now a better brand experience for the target consumer and a lower product cost structure than the competition can deliver.? Gilbert Cloyd, Procter & Gamble?s chief technology officer, unfolds a disposable nappy on a table at the company?s Cincinnati headquarters. With a lightly elasticated edge and a basic inner lining, it is a prototype that, if proven commerciall...
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Monday, November 14, 2005 — Latin America

Pro Mujer Launches Integrated Microfinance Program in Argentina, Targets the Most Impoverished

Source: Yahoo! Finance

Pro Mujer, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Latin America's poorest women help themselves through micro-credit, business training and health care linkages announced today the launch of operations in its fifth Latin American country, Argentina. With financial support from the JP Morgan Chase Foundation, Pro Mujer plans to initiate operations in the province of Salta, Northern Argentina at the beginning of December 2005. An Argentine wine tasting event will be held Nov...
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Wednesday, October 19, 2005 — Latin America

Latin American companies find new business partners in unexpected places

Source: WBCSD News

?We need to provide opportunities all the way down to the base of the pyramid to alleviate poverty? International companies in Colombia and El Salvador are learning what it takes to do business with the low-income communities in their own backyards. Sustainable livelihoods is a practical way to do business in Latin America, sa...
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Monday, October 17, 2005 — Latin America

Source: Finance for Development

Banco Uno Panama and Banco Uno El Salvador are granted a seven-year loan totaling USD 27.5 million by the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO) and its German partner DEG. The loan is to be used to extend Banco Uno's credit card services to lower-income households. This will give many such households in Central America for the first time access to financial services. This will allow them to borrow and save money and thus gain access to the formal economy. Grupo Financiero...
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Wednesday, September 1, 2004 — Latin America

Mexico's Cemex Feeds Kilns A Cheap Refinery Leftover Called Petroleum Coke

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Cemex's success in reducing its energy expense offers an unusual lesson in global business, showing what a developing-world company can do when forced to deal with competition from the developed world. In some cases the difficult operating environments of emerging markets -- economic turbulence, high borrowing costs, creaky infrastructure and corruption -- can act as a rigorous corporate boot camp, breeding the kind of innovation that makes for lean competitors on the world stage."...
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Saturday, March 20, 2004 — Latin America

6 Truths about Emerging-Market Consumers

Source: strategy+business

They?re brand-aware, savvy shoppers who like mom-and-pop shops more than modern markets, a new pan-Latin study shows. Selling consumer products to Latin America?s 250 million low-income consumers ? men and women who constitute 50 to 60 percent of the region?s population and wield some $120 billion in annual purchasing power ? is more than an attractive opportunity: It is a necessity for large corporations trying to accelerate their growth. ...
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