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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
Monday, April 30, 2007 — No Region Specified

Making a Profit While Helping the Poor

Source: Seattle Times

During a recent visit to the U.S. from India, Vikram Akula walked into a downtown restaurant to talk to a group of well-heeled Seattle philanthropists about how they could help end poverty. Confident and articulate, he held a microphone and paced in front of the crowd like a talk-show host. As one of the new mavericks bringing banking to the poor, Akula didn't mention Mother Teresa, the World Bank or the U.N. His guiding lights are Starbucks, Coke and McDonald's.
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Saturday, April 28, 2007 — No Region Specified

Bottom of the pyramid market stands at $1.2 trillion

Source: Economic Times of India

The base of the economic pyramid (BOP) in India representing the masses is an over $1.2-trillion market, making up the biggest chunk of the global $5-trillion BOP market excluding China, says a study by IFC and World Resources Institute (WRI). The term ?bottom of the pyramid? was coined by management guru CK Prahalad to describe the poor and the underserved section of the market. The BOP market in India, about $1.205 trillion, in purchasing power parity terms, makes up 84.8% of the to...
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Thursday, April 26, 2007 — No Region Specified

Green Business Attracts Rs. 100 Crores Investment From Venture Capitalists

Source: New Kerala

There is a need to get a structured plan in a sustainable ecological mode to attract venture capitalists to India, said Dr. Nachiket Mor, Chairman, New Ventures India Steering Committee and Deputy Managing Director, ICICI Bank at a seminar on Emerging Business Opportunities in India and Venture Capital Finance. Dr. Mor also announced Rs.100 crore investment towards the innovation and development of green businesses in India. The burden of climatic changes ...
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Thursday, April 26, 2007 — No Region Specified

Source: Medical News Today

Toronto will host a conference May 2-4 of 30 leading North American health biotechnology firms with over 30 counterparts from developing countries - the biggest-ever known assembly of emerging market biotech companies to focus on global health problems. The goals are to: * Foster potential collaborations between the North American and emerging market health biotech industries through company presentations and partnering events; and * Help global health community ...
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Thursday, April 26, 2007 — No Region Specified

Entrepreneurs Can Earn Their Stripes in the Minor Leagues, Too

Source: The New York Times

It became a model for Thomas S. Lyons, a professor of entrepreneurship at Baruch College?s Zicklin School of Business in New York, and Gregg A. Lichtenstein, a business consultant in Margate, N.J., who were searching for ways to develop entrepreneurial talent. ?We kept coming back to baseball?s farm system,? Professor Lyons said. ?It is one of the best talent-generating systems in the world.? The pair had an ambitious goal: to build a system in underserved and overlooked regions of ...
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Wednesday, April 25, 2007 — No Region Specified

Base of the Pyramid - Where Business Growth and Needs of the Poor Converge

Source: IBLF

The World Resources Institute, working with the International Finance Corporation, has released a study that estimates the 'Base of the Pyramid' (BOP) consumer market - which includes four billion people worldwide with incomes below US$3,000 in local purchasing power - is worth US$5 trillion. Following a recent consultation that IBLF held with support from McKinsey & Co and Unilever, IBLF has produced a set of guidelines showing how companies can develop successful base ...
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Wednesday, April 25, 2007 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Source: Scojo Foundation News

Scojo Foundation and Population Services International (PSI) have signed a five-year pan-Africa agreement to make reading glasses available to the millions of Africans who lack this simple, essential health product and tool for economic development. For most Africans living in poverty, reading glasses are unobtainable due to barriers of cost, access, and awareness. Without reading glasses, people who need to see up close to earn a living, such as weavers, farmers, electricians, and artisans, ...
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Friday, April 20, 2007 — No Region Specified

Measured Progress

Source: Fast Company

It's no secret how Wall Street looks at a stock; most investment banking analysts play some version of the same numbers game. They gin up models of a company's financial drivers, then plug in data based on what they know or can guess about revenue and spending. The spreadsheet spits out projections of future cash flows and profits, which imply a certain valuation. The problem, of course, is that there's much more to corporate performance than what we can glean from traditi...
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Friday, April 20, 2007 — No Region Specified

?Patient? Capital for an Africa That Can?t Wait

Source: New York Times

Africa needs many things, but most of all it needs capitalists who can start and run legal companies. More Bill Gateses, fewer foundations. People grow out of poverty when they create small businesses that employ their neighbors. Nothing else lasts. Last week, I was touring northern Tanzania when our car passed the small town of Karatu and we suddenly came upon an open field splashed with colors so bright and varied it looked from afar as if someone had painted a 30-color rainbow on the landscap...
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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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Thursday, April 19, 2007 — No Region Specified

Microsoft increases software, education for underserved billions

Source: Associated Press

Microsoft Corp. said Thursday it will build on existing efforts to bridge the digital divide worldwide and announced several new ventures, including a $3 software package for governments that subsidize student computers. The software maker said it will sell a Student Innovation Suite, which includes Windows XP Starter Edition and Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, for $3 to governments that subsidize a certain percentage of the cost of PCs for primary and secondary students for u...
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Friday, April 13, 2007 — No Region Specified

Global Social Venture Competition

Source: Exduco.net

Ten social venture finalists from around the world will compete for $45,000 in prizes and exposure to potential funders at the eighth annual Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) at the Haas School of Business on April 13. A record 157 teams from 80 universities in 20 countries entered the competition in 2007. The Global Social Venture Competition, started by Berkeley MBA students in 1999, has expanded this year, with Yale School of Management and Indian School of Busine...
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Friday, April 13, 2007 — No Region Specified

The Race to Build Really Cheap Cars

Source: BusinessWeek

How cheap is cheap? Renault-Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn is betting that for autos, the magic number is under $3,000. At a plant-opening ceremony in India Apr. 4, he was already talking up the industry's next challenge: a future model that would sport a sticker price as low as $2,500?about 40% less than the least expensive subcompact currently on the market. Renault-Nissan is the first global automaker to take up the gauntlet thrown down in 2003 by India's Tata Motors, which plans...
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Monday, April 09, 2007 — No Region Specified

Dollar a Day

Source: Slate

[E]ven the poorest find the resources to let their hair down. Duflo and Banerjee, looking at economic surveys of the very poor from 13 different countries, conclude that about one-third of household income is spent on stuff other than food. The alternatives to simply trying to consume more calories include shelter, of course, but even the poorest find some money to spend on things such as tobacco, alcohol, weddings, funerals, or religious festivals. Radios and televisions are also popular. Looki...
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Monday, April 09, 2007 — No Region Specified

Doing Well, Doing Good

Source: Forbes

And now we have the newest blend of greed and generosity: the high-minded private equity fund. A forerunner in this sector is Good Capital, in formation for the past year. The firm, which operates out of a dingy three-room office in San Francisco's gritty Mission District, has raised one-third of the $30 million it wants to have on hand by December. Classic American philanthropy has the ruthless businessman--Carnegie, Rockefeller, Ford--squeezing every last penny from the marketplace and the...
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Monday, April 09, 2007 — No Region Specified

The Next People's Car

Source: Forbes

An Indian car may soon earn a parking place in history alongside Ford's Model T, Volkswagen's Beetle and the British Motor Corp.'s Mini, all of which put a set of wheels within reach of millions of customers after they rolled onto the scene. Tata Motors? (nyse: TTM -? news? -? people ) is developing a car it aims to sell for about $2,500--the cheapest, by far, ever made. There is a lot riding on its small wheels. If the yet-to-be-named car is a success when it goes on sale...
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Monday, April 09, 2007 — No Region Specified

Prahalad Lecture: Democratizing Commerce: The Challenge for the 21st Century

Source: University of Michigan Press Release

Business guru touts standards and locally responsive solutions for globalization. ANN ARBOR, Mich.?People should not shy away from globalization, but harness it to the benefit of all, C.K. Prahalad said this week during his Distinguished University Professorship lecture---the highest honor accorded faculty members by the University of Michigan. Prahalad, the Ross School's Paul and Ruth McCracken Distinguished University Professor of Corporate Strategy, said tha...
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Monday, April 09, 2007 — No Region Specified

Venezuela's Poor Vastly Underserved

Source: El Universal

Only 11 percent of Venezuelans in social stratum E can afford home and personal care expenses, while 54 percent manages to afford the most important things. As a matter of fact, social stratum E comprises the most important consumption market niche in the country. The poor are increasing in number, but their income has improved significantly since 2004. Benjam?n Tripier, representative of Nueva Tecnolog?a de Negocios (New Business Technology), during...
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Monday, April 09, 2007 — No Region Specified

Philips-Manipal BOP Portal Launched

Source: Chennai Online

A new Philips-Manipal Base of the Pyramid (BOP) portal was launched here on Friday with the main objective to build fundamental knowledge in BOP domain while supporting projects with specific goals. Launching the BOP, Alexius Collette, the CEO, Philips Innovation Campus (PIC), Bangalore, said partnering with Manipal University for the BOP programs had its unique significance with respect to accessibility to BOP market to bring about an ideal integration of research, medicine, manageme...
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Monday, April 09, 2007 — No Region Specified

When a Cell Phone is Like a Cow

Source: The Financial Express (India)

Grameen Bank has an impact on the poor, GrameenPhone on the entire economy,? says Muhammad Yunus. The idea of GrameenPhone was conceived by 36-year-old Manhattan-based venture capitalist Iqbal Quadir in 1993. It was triggered when his computer network crashed, leaving him unproductive. Concluding that connectivity is productivity, the Wharton business graduate returned soon after to Bangladesh to launch a phone service. At that moment the country had one of the lowest teledensities in...
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Friday, April 06, 2007 — No Region Specified

China Mobile Subscribers Surpass Total US Population

Source: eMediaWire

China Mobile, the world's largest mobile operator, recently announced that its subscriber base grew to 301 million, surpassing the total population of the United States. Julie Pohlig, senior analyst at Vital Wave Consulting, a research and consulting firm focusing exclusively on emerging market business growth, says the 300-million-person milestone provides perspective on the sheer size of the Chinese market, and illustrates the perceived value of information and communications te...
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Friday, April 06, 2007 — No Region Specified

Social Entrepreneurship: The Case for Definition

Source: Stanford Social Innovation Review

The nascent field of social entrepreneurship is growing rapidly and attracting increased attention from many sectors. The term itself shows up frequently in the media, is referenced by public officials, has become common on university campuses, and informs the strategy of several prominent social sector organizations, including Ashoka and the Schwab and Skoll foundations. The reasons behind the popularity of social entrepreneurship are many. On the most basic level, there?s something ...
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Sunday, April 01, 2007 — No Region Specified

Unitus Equity Fund Closes Largest Private Global Equity Fund Targeting Microfinance

Source: PR Web

The Unitus Equity Fund L.P. (UEF), an equity fund investing in microfinance institutions in Asia and Latin America, today announced that the Fund closed with $23.4 million in committed capital. This makes UEF the largest global equity fund in the microfinance industry to be fully funded with private capital. UEF is an affiliated organization of Unitus, Inc. ( www.unitus.com ), a social enterprise which dramatically accelerates the growth of microfinance inst...
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Sunday, April 01, 2007 — No Region Specified

Sequoia leads $11.5 million financing for microfinancier

Source: San Francisco Business Times

Sequoia Capital led an $11.5 million investment in SKS Microfinance , a fast-growing microfinance institution in India. It is wonderful to be an invest...
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