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
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 — South Asia

Foreign investors chasing bigger gains by investing in Indian microfinance institutions

Source: Economic Times

Instead of raising their holdings in companies such as HDFC Bank and IDFC, the infrastructure lender which is turning into a bank, investors are chasing India's profitable microfinance institutions.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 — South Asia

Climate smart farmers get tech savvy to save India's bread basket

Source: Reuters

Erratic weather, rising temperatures, declining water resources and labour shortages are threatening India's bread basket state of Haryana, forcing farmers to abandon age-old practices and adopt technology to ensure food supplies for millions.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 — South Asia

Reserve Bank of India governor cautions Modi government on speed of financial inclusion scheme

Source: FirstBiz

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan’s warning to sarakari banks, on a hunt to win maximum number of bank accounts in minimum days to make Narendra Modi government’s flagship financial inclusion scheme Jan Dhan Yojana a success, reflects the regulator’s concern on the way government using state-run banks to push its populist agenda overlooking prudential norms.
Monday, September 15, 2014 — South Asia

USAID is incubating start-ups to tackle poverty problems

Source: The Los Angeles Times

With his nifty PowerPoint slides and carefully crafted pitch, Yashraj Khaitan might be mistaken for any other fast-talking, code-savvy Bay Area millennial boasting that he has hit on the idea to solve a vexing world problem. Yet, in Khaitan's case, some very influential people in Washington think he may be right. The federal government agency charged with easing world hunger and poverty has bet a million dollars on Khaitan's tiny start-up. It is among a handful of companies that the US Agency for International Development is looking to as it seeks to upend the way aid agencies go about trying to improve living conditions in some of the world's most deeply impoverished places.
Friday, September 12, 2014 — South Asia

Card payment network RuPay sees boost from Indian government's financial inclusion scheme

Source: Business Today

The Indian government's financial inclusion drive to expand banking services in the country is giving a boost to home-grown card payment network RuPay.
Thursday, September 11, 2014 — South Asia

Next generation of microfinance: Leveraging Indonesian experience

Source: The Jakarta Post

The history of microfinance institutions in Indonesia dates back more than 100 years.
Thursday, September 11, 2014 — South Asia

Uber in talks with firms to integrate digital wallet in India

Source: Economic Times India

Global taxi-hailing company Uber is in talks with firms providing digital wallets and payment gateways in India as it looks to become compliant with local regulations.
Thursday, September 11, 2014 — South Asia

The Man Who Feeds 1.2 Million Kids A Day

Source: Fast CoExist

Running a massive school meals program that feeds malnourished kids, Manoj Kumar is on a mission to show how entrepreneurs can make real inroads in tackling India's age-old social problems.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 — South Asia

Nepal's entrepreneurs healing blindness among poor


Many villagers are not aware of how easily cataract can be treated or cured," said Suraj Shrestha, CEO at Anthropose, a Nepal-based enterprise. "The thing that appalls me the most is how people superstitiously believe that cataract is a curse from God. This needs to change," the entrepreneur told Xinhua on Sunday.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 — South Asia

Four reasons why Modi's toilet obsession is good for India


Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swach Bharat scheme aims to eliminate open defecation by constructing toilets in every household by 2019. No one doubts the need for the programme. Close to 48% of India’s urban population has no access to toilets. In rural areas, the number stands at 60%.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 — South Asia

India's Bandhan Bank's plans to usher in a new model in financial inclusion

Source: The Hindu Businessline

Bandhan will start its journey with 600 branches. The microfinance company’s existing 2,016 offices will operate as sub-branches, each having an army of salaried field staff to take banking to the villages.
Monday, September 08, 2014 — South Asia

Social enterprise Incubator Villgro invests in three start-ups

Source: Economic Times

Social enterprise Incubator Villgro has invested in three startups, marking its first set of funding this fiscal year. It is targeting to invest in 25-30 more startups by the end of the fiscal year. Ujjeewan Healthcare, Aindra Systems and Scholowiz Educational Solutions, all early-stage companies, have secured funding from Villgro.
Tuesday, September 02, 2014 — South Asia

Is India’s new financial inclusion strategy already outdated?

Source: The Guardian

Plans to extend the reach of traditional banks seem so old-fashioned. Wouldn’t mobile money be quicker and cheaper?
Tuesday, September 02, 2014 — South Asia

PRESS RELEASE: At SOCAP 14, Unitus Seed Fund launches its India Impact Acceleration Program

Source: Press Release

September 2, 2014: San Francisco. Today at SOCAP 14, Unitus Seed Fund launched its India Impact Acceleration Program to help improve and accelerate the early-stage impact startup ecosystem across India in three ways: by increasing connections facilitated through “startup scouts” operating across India, working with leading incubators to help create more “venture capital-ready” startups that target low-income populations, and offering financial assistance to startups that make use of our existing Venture Advisor and Catapult Partner networks.
Tuesday, September 02, 2014 — South Asia

Unitus Seed Fund Has Raised USD 20 Million From Investors

Source: Press Release

New investors in India’s most active Micro VC impact fund demonstrate that commercial and philanthropic investors are drawn to impact investing
Tuesday, September 02, 2014 — South Asia

Unitus raises funds for India from global foundations

Source: Times of India

BANGALORE: Seed-stage impact investor Unitus Seed Fund has raised $7 million in fresh funding from a clutch of institutional and individual investors taking the total fund size to $20 million.
Tuesday, September 02, 2014 — South Asia

Indian-American doctor's formula gives expert AIDS care in rural areas

Source: Times of India

When AIDS first struck, patients simply died as there were no drugs to treat it. Now, drugs bring down the spread of virus but still a large section of rural India is left untreated. The reasons: High costs of treatment and travelling.
Tuesday, September 02, 2014 — South Asia

OPINION: Taking healthcare to India’s remote tribes

Source: The Hindu

The right to good healthcare must be addressed using modern technology, innovative approaches and by involving tribals in developing solutions for their problems