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Saturday, December 29, 2007 — No Region Specified

India's empire builder

Source: Financial Times

After celebrating his 70th birthday yesterday, Ratan Tata would in the normal course of affairs be facing mandatory retirement from the Tata Group. Two years ago, however, India's most respected and acquisitive conglomerate ex-tended to 75 the age until which non-executive directors could serve, giving the man who has transformed it over the past 16 years a new lease at its helm. Although corporate governance purists at the time criticised the change as retrograde, it is a decision that few ...
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Thursday, December 27, 2007 — No Region Specified

A soul-searching business

Source: The Economist

Like Hindu souls, disposable plastic cups are many times reborn in Dharavi. In a spiralling continuum, they are discarded and gathered in, melted down to their polypropylene essence, and re-moulded in some new plastic form. Recycling is one of the slum's biggest industries. Thousands of tonnes of scrap plastic, metals, paper, cotton, soap and glass revolve through Dharavi each day. Location is the key to this. Until two decades ago, the slum was next door to Bombay's biggest r...
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Wednesday, December 26, 2007 — No Region Specified

A flourishing slum

Source: The Economist

Around 6am, the squealing of copulating rats?signalling a night-long verminous orgy on the rooftops of Dharavi, a slum in Mumbai?gives way to the more cheerful sound of chirruping sparrows. Through a small window in Shashikant (?Shashi?) Kawale's rickety shack, daylight seeps. It reveals a curly black head outside. Further inspection shows that this is attached to a man's sleeping body, on a slim metal ledge, 12 feet above the ground. With maybe a million residents, crammed in...
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Friday, December 21, 2007 — No Region Specified

From Riches to Rags

Source: Financial Times

China and India are poorer than we thought; rich countries produce even more than we realised. Those are the obvious conclusions from an unprecedented exercise, carried out by a World Bank-led coalition. The ?International Comparison Program? attempts to compare the size of the world?s disparate economies on the basis of purchasing power. On this basis, China?s output is just 9 per cent of global gross domestic product, down by more than a third from the previous estimate of 14 per...
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Friday, December 21, 2007 — No Region Specified

Tata small car set to offer 25 kmpl mileage

Source: Economic Times

Ratan Tata and the Tata group have for months zealously kept a tight lid on the details of the Rs 1-lakh car that is slated to roll out of Tata Motors' Singur factory in June 2008. But on Tuesday, the shroud came off in singular circumstances. It's an eco-car with a 25 km-per-litre mileage on petrol, meets every international standard and specification, including Euro-4 norms. Acceleration wise, it's the same as a Maruti 800. That's exactly how RA Mashelkar...
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Friday, December 21, 2007 — No Region Specified

Investment in health, education, a must

Source: Hindu Business Line

By G. Chandrashekhar Thani Oruvanukku Unav(u)ilaienil, Jagattinai Azhithiduvom' was the war cry against hunger the celebrated Tamil poet Mahakavi Subramaniya Bharathiar unleashed almost a century ago. Loosely translated, it means, Even if a single person goes without food, we shall destroy the world. One can well imagine the fervour the maverick poet-patriot brought to the subject of poverty and hunger. What has the world come to in the last m...
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Friday, December 21, 2007 — No Region Specified

Let me in!

Source: Forbes

By Ian Callaghan What makes a ticket hot? Novelty and publicity are two essential ingredients, but real incandescence only comes with scarcity. When a United Nations Year of Microfinance in 2005 was followed in 2006 by the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the Grameen Bank and its founder, Dr. Muhammed Yunus, the world got to know about the supposedly esoteric business of providing financial services to the poor. By the time Mexican microfinance bank...
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Friday, December 21, 2007 — No Region Specified

The Changing Face Of Microfinance Funding

Source: Forbes

By Elizabeth Littlefield In the three decades since Muhammed Yunus gave his first $27 loans to women in Chittagong, Bangladesh, the microfinance industry has come a long way. What began as a collection of individual non-governmental organizations funded by development donors has become a professional business offering not just credit, but a full range of banking services to poor people. Hundreds of microfinance institutions have matured and become profitable. Local...
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Friday, December 21, 2007 — No Region Specified

Profit and Poverty: Why It Matters

Source: Forbes

By Michael Chu Through the ages, we have come to associate profit with greed and serving the poor with self-sacrifice. Accordingly, now that the outstanding performance of leading microfinance banks has inserted banking at the base of the pyramid as an integral part of emerging-markets finance, socially conscious investors are starting to agonize over earning returns while serving the poor. By focusing on their motivations in helping the poor rather than on poverty itself, th...
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Friday, December 21, 2007 — No Region Specified

Microfinance Fever

Source: Forbes

A lot of people are chasing returns in barefoot banking. Here's what you should know before you follow. Maria Guadalupe Licona, of Tulancingo, Mexico needed to expand her herd. So she borrowed $100 for six months from a microlender that charges on average 40% interest and purchased additional sheep and pigs. The money came from somebody like J. Alex Hartzler. He and his partners sold their Web Clients ad business to online marketing firm ValueClick (nasdaq: ...
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Friday, December 21, 2007 — No Region Specified

Businesses Have Designs for the Poor

Source: CNN

So, given the stakes, it's understandable why top product designers are a hot commodity in the high-tech arena. But for an increasing number of designers, the stakes are even higher elsewhere: global poverty. Imagine taking the industrial design smarts behind the iPod and applying it to the far more basic technology needs of the extremely poor. In the past, few top designers would have bothered. But that's changing. At MIT, Stanford, and other universities, youn...
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Thursday, December 20, 2007 — No Region Specified

ILO and Gates foundation join forces to develop range of insurance products in developing countries

Source: Press Release

The International Labour Organization (ILO) today announced a partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that aims to develop new kinds of insurance and improve existing products to promote decent work for tens of millions of low-income people in the developing world. The US $34 million Gates Foundation grant will help create the Microinsurance Innovation Facility, a one-of-a-kind, five-year initiative that will provide grants and technical assistance to dozens of organiza...
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Wednesday, December 19, 2007 — No Region Specified

Strengthen the 'bottom of the pyramid'

Source: The Hindu Business Line

By Anand Kumar Jaiswal The bottom of the pyramid (BOP) has become one of the dominant ideas of discussion among practising managers, academicians and policymakers. Prof. C. K. Prahalad and other proponents of BOP argue that, instead of disregarding low-income consumers as inaccessible and unprofitable, multinational corporations (MNCs) should view them as an unexploited business opportunity. Moreover, through this, MNCs can help improve the living conditions of the world?s po...
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Wednesday, December 19, 2007 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The fatal cost of illness in Africa

Source: Financial Times

When friends carried Jennifer Uduma, bleeding from a gunshot wound to the head, to a government hospital in Lagos, staff turned her away because she could not afford to pay. She ended up at the private R-Jolad clinic in the gritty Gbagada neighbourhood, where doctors removed the bullet without asking for cash up front. Two years later, she returned to give birth to a baby girl. R-Jolad saved my life, says Ms Uduma, a 24-year-old student, nursing her day-old d...
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Tuesday, December 18, 2007 — No Region Specified

Excavating Prahalad?s pyramid

Source: Ethical Corporation

Profitable Business Models and Market Creation in the Context of Deep Poverty: A Strategic View, by Christian Seelos and Johanna Mair, IESE, published in Academy of Management Perspectives, November 2007. It?s vast, it?s untapped and it could just be what fuels 21st century market growth. But it will require a radical rethink of exi...
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Tuesday, December 18, 2007 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Fortuitous pairing has been life-transforming

Source: Financial Times

The concept of microfinance - small loans to the entrepreneurial poor - is not a new one on US business school campuses. Indeed, as they expand their globally minded curricula, many business schools have devoted more time and money, and sometimes even entire courses, to the subject. Other schools have gone a step further: the UCLA Anderson School of Management in California helps young female entrepreneurs in Kenya transform their poverty-stricken lives by starting homegrown busine...
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Monday, December 17, 2007 — No Region Specified

Online Extra: Microlending: It's No Cure-all

Source: BusinessWeek

The initial public offering in April that earned $467 million for the owners of a Mexican lender to the poor, Banco Compartamos (BMOSF), provoked a passionate protest from nonprofit traditionalists around the world. Veteran development experts have argued for years that commercialized microlending inevitably means favoring investors ahead of vulnerable borrowers. They're money lenders. They're not microcredit, says Muh...
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Monday, December 17, 2007 — No Region Specified

Online Extra: Yunus Blasts Compartamos

Source: BusinessWeek

Muhammad Yunus , who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his pioneering work in extending credit to the working poor in Bangladesh, is aghast at the business strategies employed by a onetime charitable microlender that has become Mexico's most profitable bank, Banco Compartamos (BMOSF). They're absolutely on the wrong track, says Yunu...
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Monday, December 17, 2007 — No Region Specified

Compartamos: From Nonprofit to Profit

Source: BusinessWeek

Banco Compartamos portrays itself as the gentler lender to Mexico's poor. Compartamos means let's share, reflecting the philosophy of its founder, Jos? Ignacio Avalos Hern?ndez. The scion of a cosmetics business family, Avalos, 48, is a devout Catholic who in 1990 converted a nonprofit donating food and clothing to the deprived into one that made loans guaranteed by borrowers' neighbors. Clients, mostly women, gather weekly in groups of 12 or more. They can bor...
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Monday, December 17, 2007 — No Region Specified

Wal-Mart Banks on the 'Unbanked'

Source: BusinessWeek

Every day 2.5 million people walk through the doors of a Wal-Mart (WMT) store in Mexico, generating nearly $20 billion in sales last year. Now they are potential customers of Banco Wal-Mart, the chain's new lending operation. So are the company's 12,000 Mexican suppliers, as well as its 155,000 employees. We want to leverage this traffic we have in our stores, says Julio B. G?mez, Banco Wal-Mart's chief executive. As in the U.S., Wal-Mart is Mexico's larges...
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Monday, December 17, 2007 — No Region Specified

The Ugly Side of Microlending

Source: BusinessWeek

In a gleaming office tower in Mexico City secured with retinal scanners, bulletproof glass, and armed guards, dozens of workers in white lab coats dart around a large operations center monitoring long rows of computers. Along one wall, 54 enormous screens flicker dizzyingly with numbers, graphs, and fever charts: a relentless stream of data. You'd think the urgent mission involved tracking the trajectory of a spacecraft or the workings of a national power grid, not tiny amounts of cash and c...
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Friday, December 14, 2007 — No Region Specified

India?s dismal record on many fronts

Source: Sify

By Rasheeda Bhagat Even as we get ready to cheer the 20-K mark the BSE Sensex might once again breach sometime soon, and do a lot of back-slapping on how India continues to remain an investment destination of choice, details in the 2007 Human Development Report released on November 27, highlighting some stark realities, should sober us up. On the Human Devel...
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Friday, December 14, 2007 — No Region Specified

MicroPlace Adds India to Roster of Microfinance Investment Opportunities

Source: BusinessWire

MicroPlace ( www.MicroPlace.com ), a wholly-owned subsidiary of eBay Inc. , today announced that it now offers investment opportunities in India through Oikocredit , the world's largest private financier of the microfinance sector. For the first time, everyday people can make investments in India's working poor by leveragin...
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Thursday, December 13, 2007 — No Region Specified

Putting a Different Face on Africa: Hope for an Economic Turnaround

Source: Knowledge@Wharton

Africa's stunning lack of basic services, such as electrical and telephone grids and Internet connectivity, might cause many to despair, but Euvin Naidoo -- a leading advocate for Western investment in the underdeveloped continent -- looks at the map and sees something different: hope. Naidoo, president and CEO of the South African Chamber of Commerce in Ame...
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Wednesday, December 12, 2007 — No Region Specified

How the Mobile Phone Is Becoming a Wallet

Source: Credit Suisse

The Credit Suisse Thought Leadership Conference 2007, organized by ISP for key clients, took place on November 20 in Zurich under the slogan Entering the Next Level. One of the speakers was Professor C. K. Prahalad from the University of Michigan, USA. In an interview he talked about microfinance and market potential at the bottom of the income pyramid. Cornelia Stauffer: Why are you campaigning for the market at the bottom of the income pyramid? Pro...
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Tuesday, December 11, 2007 — No Region Specified

Bottom-of-Pyramid entrepreneurship should get due attention: Montek Singh Ahluwalia

Source: MBA Universe

If the benefits of economic growth and entrepreneurial activity have to spread to the nation at large for inclusive growth, focus on Bottom-of-Pyramid (BOP) business ideas is important, said Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman, planning commission While delivering his keynote address at the TiE Entrepreneurial Summit in the capital on December 11, Mr Ahluwalia said, Our growth should be inclusive and for that entrepreneurs shoul...
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Tuesday, December 11, 2007 — No Region Specified

Cashless in the Hinterlands

Source: Newsweek

Mobile phones are making life better for people in remote, underserved areas of India . They no longer have to walk kilometers to public call offices to use a telephone-an essential tool for buying and selling goods based on the latest market data, getting credit from lenders and other commonplace activities. So far, most of the benefits have come from one of the phone's simplest features: voice calls.
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Monday, December 10, 2007 — No Region Specified

HBS Cases: One Laptop per Child

Source: Working Knowledge (HBS)

Drop it on the ground. Sprinkle water on its surface. Let it sit in the sun and expose it to swarms of dust?the XO laptop is designed to handle most any abuse from a child. But the journey of the XO laptop from concept to the educational tool for the world's poorest children is turning out to be a bit more complicated than originally anticipated. A new Harvard Busines...
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Monday, December 10, 2007 — No Region Specified

Is Micro Lending The Future Of Giving?

Source: The Huffington Post

I met Emily Stenning while we were both studying at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. From the moment I met her, she was constantly working on something: a committee, a foundation, a charity. To me, she is the epitome of the youth movement that we here at Living admire and believe is the future of global activism and philanthropy. Emily recently moved to India (after founding the Timau Children's Foundation...
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Monday, December 10, 2007 — No Region Specified

Rural Health Clinic in a Box

Source: BusinessWeek

Nestled among residential homes on a quiet, leafy street just steps from Bangalore's busy BTM Ring Road stands the single-story office of Neurosynaptic Communications . The five-year-old company still has the feel of a startup: bare red and yellow walls, empty desks, and 20 or so young techies huddled over their PCs in the research and development lab. The simplicity of the office is deceptive. Neurosynaptic's product ...
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Friday, December 7, 2007 — Sub-Saharan Africa

They're behind you

Source: The Economist

WE STARTED out abroad as ?accidental tourists?,? says Anand Mahindra, managing director of Mahindra & Mahindra, an Indian maker of tractors and off-road vehicles. Owed money by a Greek manufacturing plant, it took an equity stake instead, and so Mahindra Hellenic was born in 1984. Mahindra & Mahindra is now one of 100 companies from the developing world that Boston Consulting Group (BCG) thinks have the clout and ambition to upset the world's multinationals. The cons...
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Friday, December 7, 2007 — No Region Specified

The utopian myth of India?s double dividend

Source: Financial Times

Sheila Dikshit, chief minister of the Indian capital territory of Delhi, looks neither fat nor nervous, but she was disarmingly frank this week about the difficulties of coping with an annual influx of half a million migrants into her metropolis of 16m. ?I?ve put on some weight merely because I want to drown my anxiety by eating,? she told a conference of the World Economic Forum and the Confederation of Indian Industry. If her administration did not meet the needs of Delhi?s inhabi...
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Friday, December 7, 2007 — No Region Specified

GOOD Q&A: Jacqueline Novogratz

Source: Good Magazine

Here at GOOD , we're fortunate to work with some amazing nonprofit partners. But, to borrow a line from the indelible Reading Rainbow , don't take our word for it. We caught up with Acumen Fund Founder and CEO Jacqueline Novogratz to learn about Acumen, finding solutions to global poverty,...
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Friday, December 7, 2007 — No Region Specified

Market Power: Mobile phones empower the base of the pyramid

Source: World View Magazine

By Robert S. Katz & Ana P. Escalante For Babu Rajan, a fisherman in Pallipuram, India, a new mobile phone brings substantial improvements to his daily existence. Rajan used to arrive at port with his daily catch and take whatever price the fish dealers were offering, according to Washington Post reporter Kevin Sullivan. If he tried to find another buyer with a better price it would take too long, and his fish would spoil. Local buyers knew these fishermen had no choice...
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Friday, December 7, 2007 — No Region Specified

Full-spectrum dominance

Source: The Economist

MUMBAI's trains are famous for carrying what is officially called a ?super-dense crush load? of passengers during rush hour. Judging by the complaints of some of India's mobile operators, its airwaves are just as overcrowded. The operators added more than 8m mobile-phone subscribers in October, bringing the total to over 217m. India has met its ambitious target, set two years ago, of 250m fixed and mobile-phone connections. But the government is sadly unprepared. It has not given Indi...
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Thursday, December 6, 2007 — No Region Specified

IBM Advances with SME Expansion Plan in Bhubaneswar

Source: India Infoline

As part of its ongoing expansion strategy to Tier 2 cities throughout the country, IBM India announced the launch of its SMB operations in Bhubaneswar. This expansion will enable IBM to provide better support to SME clients in and around Bhubaneswar and help IBM's customers leverage IT for business growth. In addition, mid-market ...
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Thursday, December 6, 2007 — No Region Specified

?Half of the world?s population will have mobile phones by 2008?

Source: Punch on the Web

The current global revolution created by mobile telephony use has been predicted to continue with over 50 per cent global penetration expected in 2008. According to a new report from a United Kingdom-based research firm, Portio Research , a further 1.5billion mobile phone users are expected over the next four years to bring the overall penetration rate to 75 per cent by 2011. Current global population figures is cu...
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Thursday, December 6, 2007 — No Region Specified

Small business bank proposed

Source: Yemen Observer

The fourth Arab Meeting for Small and Medium Industries, which was held in Sana?a from 25-26 November, has recommended establishing an Arab Investment Bank to finance small and medium industries, to be approved at the next pan-Arab summit. The meeting called on Arab countries to set up a legal framework to organize small and medium industries and to unify government efforts to assist this sector. It was recommended that Arab countries should create financial mechanisms which cover th...
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Thursday, December 6, 2007 — No Region Specified

Endeavor (www.endeavor.org) invited 12 high-impact entrepreneurs from South Africa, Brazil, Chile an

Source: Endeavor

Endeavor ( www.endeavor.org ) invited 12 high-impact entrepreneurs from South Africa, Brazil, Chile and Egypt to join its network last week at an International Selection Panel in Cape Town, South Africa. These entrepreneurs represent nine companies operating in fields ranging from voice-over IP mobile telecommunications and broadband communications from South Africa, affordable dialysis care in Brazil, yarn production in Chile and wireless techn...
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Thursday, December 6, 2007 — No Region Specified

Face to Face - Endeavor

Source: BusinessDay

Summit TV speaks to Endeavor managing director Greg Durst about the role the organisation is playing in fostering entrepreneurs and job creation in South Africa DAVID WILLIAMS: Welcome to Face to Face. We are talking about entrepreneurship, and with me is Greg Durst managing director of the ...
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Wednesday, December 5, 2007 — No Region Specified

Can Greed Save Africa?

Source: BusinessWeek

By Roben Farzad It isn't easy for Masoud Alikhani to check on his investment. The Iranian-born Briton owns a facility in Mozambique that turns jatropha, a hardy, drought-resistant plant, into biodiesel. An October visit starts with an 11-hour flight from London, his home base, to Johannesburg. From there he jumps into a four-seat Piper Seneca II for a wobbly three-hour flight to Maputo, Mozambique's capit...
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Wednesday, December 5, 2007 — No Region Specified

Not quite as stellar as it looks

Source: The Economist

AS a shining example of a happy transition from war to peace, Mozambique has won a lot of plaudits. In October Joaquim Chissano, the country's former president credited with much of its recent success, won the first Mo Ibrahim prize for retired African rulers. In November the accolades came from the World Bank, which praised Mozambique for being among the region's top business reformers. Enthusiastic donors poured $1.3 billion into the country in 2005?about a fifth of its
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Wednesday, December 5, 2007 — No Region Specified

No silver bullets? The online funding revolution and micro-finance sector

Source: Media For Freedom

By Irin When Muhammad Yunus , founder of Grameen Bank , which revolutionised credit for the poor, won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, micro-finance became a household concept. Now, online lending sites such as Kiva and NamasteDirect , give ev...
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Tuesday, December 4, 2007 — No Region Specified

How to Help the World's Poor Get a Foot Inside the Bank Door

Source: CGD

On November 29-30, 2007 the Center for Global Development (CGD) and the Spanish Ministry of External Relations and Cooperation convened a high-level workshop titled, Policies and Innovations for Improving Access to Financial Services: A Global Challenge. The workshop drew a crowd of over 50 distinguished participants, including officials from indu...
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Monday, December 3, 2007 — No Region Specified

CNN Heroes: Duvall shines spotlight on cause

Source: CNN Heroes

Robert Duvall's heroes are Carmen Velasco and Lynne Patterson -- two women who are changing the lives of other women throughout Latin America one loan at a time. Their foundation, Pro Mujer , has created a growing network of microfinance institutions that help the most impoverished women and their families. These two ladies are true heroes to everybody that comes in contact with them, the Oscar- and Emmy...
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Monday, December 3, 2007 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Acumen Fund Honored with Social Capitalist Award by Fast Company & Monitor Group

Source: PRWeb

Acumen Fund , a leading catalyst for sustainable, scalable solutions addressing poverty in South Asia and East Africa, announced today that it has been honored with the 2008 Fast Company/Monitor Group Social Capitalist Award . The award recognizes outstanding organizations whose social impact and organizational effectiveness make them unrivaled leaders of social entrepreneu...
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Monday, December 3, 2007 — No Region Specified

New Ventures M?xico Launches Las P?ginas Verdes ("The Green Pages")

Source: New Ventures

On November 28, New Ventures M?xico celebrated the launch of its sponsorship phase of Las P?ginas Verdes , or The Green Pages, Mexico?s first directory of environmentally and socially sustainable products and services. Las P?ginas Verdes has quickly become recognized as Mexico?s most valuable green marketing tool because it brings together all sustainable alternatives ava...
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