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Wednesday, May 30, 2007 — South Asia

Micro-finance firms turn into delivery boys

Source: The Economic Times

India?s microfinance, which is perhaps the ruling flavour of private equity players, is actually turning out to be a distribution highway for a variety of goods and services given the huge outreach of over one million customers each that large entities like Share, SKS, Basix and Spandana have managed to create. Fuelled by private equity investment and expansion, many of these entities are looking at reaching as ma...
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Tuesday, May 29, 2007 — No Region Specified

Who in the world is entrepreneurial?

Source: CNN Money

So what are the best countries for entrepreneurs now? Where might American entrepreneurs think about setting up overseas? And where should they keep an eye out for global competitors? Some of the stars - such as Iceland and Denmark - might surprise you. Laggards include India. When Rodrigo Veleso launched ONE World Enterprises in Los Angeles last year, he quickly grasped why entrepreneurship was surging in the U.S. Within a week I had formed an LLC, incorporated in Delawar...
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Tuesday, May 29, 2007 — No Region Specified

Editorial - Lighting the Way

Source: New York Times

Sometimes thinking small can get things done. To bring artificial light to an isolated village or refugee camp could require building an enormous hydroelectric dam, followed by laying hundreds of miles of cable. Or it could take the donation of a $10 solar flashlight. As Will Connors and Ralph Blumenthal reported in The Times recently, the entrepreneur Mark Bent, through his company SunNight Solar, has developed and manufactured a solar-powered flashlight that gives up to seven hours ...
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Wednesday, May 16, 2007 — No Region Specified

Web Kiosks Lure Indian Farmers as Retailers Target Rural Market

Source: Bloomberg

Chander Singh and six other farmers huddle around a computer in the village of Bhaukhedi watching soybean prices rise. While the nearest road is a kilometer away, a portable satellite receiver connects them to the Internet. Singh tripled his income over the past six years by selling beans to ITC Ltd., a 96-year-old tobacco and food company that has built a network of computers to provide information to farmers and convince them to buy the company's products. Growers who use the se...
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Wednesday, May 16, 2007 — South Asia

Dubai's Legatum invests Rs125 cr in Share Microfin, picks 51% stake

Source: Live Mint

In the second major investment by a foreign investor in an Indian microfinance firm, Legatum Capital, a Dubai-based privately-owned finance firm, committed a $25 million (Rs125 crore) investment in Share Microfin Ltd, a Hyderabad-based microfinance institution which is India?s largest. Recently, Sequoia Capital, one of the largest venture capital firms in the world, led a consortium that invested $11.5 million in SKS Microfinance, India?s second-largest microfinance f...
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Monday, May 14, 2007 — No Region Specified

Red Hat Launches Emerging Markets Roadmap

Source: Red Hat Press Release

Today Red Hat is announcing the upcoming availability of Red Hat Global Desktop. Global Desktop breaks through the price and performance barriers that have prevented many people from realizing the full benefits of state-of-the-art information technology. Red Hat and community members around the world recognized the need for a better solution to serve their local government and small business customers. This required removing the limitations that traditional desktop solutions imposed. In response...
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Sunday, May 13, 2007 — South Asia

Microfinance Institutions Act soon in Parliament

Source: The Sunday Times Online, Sri Lanka

The micro financing sector in Sri Lanka is to be streamlined under a regulatory framework to prevent aid wastage, duplication of funds and corruption in the implementation of projects aimed at alleviation of poverty which is one of the prime objectives of the government. No government could solve this national issue on their own, according to microfinance experts, adding that it?s a collective responsibility of all sectors, including private, non-government and the...
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Friday, May 11, 2007 — No Region Specified

Economics Focus: To Do With the Price of Fish

Source: The Economist

YOU are a fisherman off the coast of northern Kerala, a region in the south of India. Visiting your usual fishing ground, you bring in an unusually good catch of sardines. That means other fishermen in the area will probably have done well too, so there will be plenty of supply at the local beach market: prices will be low, and you may not even be able to sell your catch. Should you head for the usual market anyway, or should you go down the coast in the hope that fishermen in that area will not...
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Friday, May 11, 2007 — No Region Specified

Intel to Invest $1 Billion in Emerging Markets

Source: CNET News

Called the World Ahead program, the effort essentially expands on other programs Intel has conducted to bring computing to countries like India and China, particularly to people who live in small cities and villages. Though India has become a software powerhouse, it's estimated that the country a year ago had only 14 PCs for every 1,000 people. Intel will provide equipment under the program as well as teacher training. The program will also let the company lay some of t...
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Friday, May 11, 2007 — No Region Specified

Design for the Other 90%

Source: Fast Company

The vast majority of designers put their talent to where the money is: crafting products and services that aim to beguile the richest 10% of the world's population. Nothing wrong with making a living. But could the tens of thousands of designers who fashion things that appeal to people's desires?rather than fulfilling their needs?be missing an opportunity to break into a much, much bigger market? Paul Polak certainly thinks so. Polak, the maverick, septuagenarian founder of In...
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Thursday, May 10, 2007 — No Region Specified

Inclusion, the Way to Market Growth

Source: Economic Times of India

C K Prahalad?s book, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, asks managers to shed the blinkers of conventional guidelines that are constraining their view of markets for their companies. Conventional wisdom would suggest that until their incomes rise above a certain level, large masses of poor people cannot be a target market. Prahalad points out that innovations in products and pricing could make products affordable to people with even lesser incomes and thus expand a company?s ma...
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Thursday, May 10, 2007 — South Asia

Citibank India & SKS Announce USD 44 Million Rural Microfinance Program

Source: Citi Press Room

SKS Microfinance and Citibank today announced a USD 44 Million (Rs.1.8 Billion) groundbreaking financing program involving Citibank India purchasing loans that are originated by SKS. Representing Citibank's increased foray into rural microfinance, the program will deliver income-generating loans of between Rs.5000 to Rs.20,000 to a population of over 200,000 unbanked customers spread across 7,000 villages in 11 States of the country by financial year 2007-08. The partnership combines SKS'...
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Tuesday, May 08, 2007 — No Region Specified

IBM Launches BOP/Africa ThinkPlace Challenge

Source: IBM Press Release

IBM today launched its first-ever public ?ThinkPlace Challenge,? a three-week open forum designed to foster global collaboration on innovation opportunities and economic development issues facing the African continent. The top ideas generated through the ThinkPlace Challenge will help shape the agenda for IBM?s upcoming Global Innovation Outlook (GIO) focus on Africa, and provide longer-term input for IBM's World Development Initiative (WDI). The GIO brings together more than 150...
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Tuesday, May 08, 2007 — No Region Specified

Making Money, Making a Difference

Source: Motley Fool

If you think that the women and men in the shiny suits, operating some of the world's most powerful corporations, are just sitting around talking dollars and cents all day, then take a look at this report. Fortunately, there are executives out there who recognize the necessity in addressing serious global issues while doing some serious global business. One of the main points the authors make is that the discussion framed around corporate social responsibility has often ...
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Monday, May 07, 2007 — South Asia

Green businesses attract Rs.100 crores investment from venture capitalists

Source: NewKerala.com

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. Th...
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Monday, May 07, 2007 — No Region Specified

"Businesses Try to Make Money and Save the World"

Source: New York Times

ALTRUSHARE SECURITIES is a brokerage firm, engaged in the sort of things you might expect of a Wall Street outfit, like buying and selling stock, and providing research on companies. Unlike its peers, however, the firm is majority-owned by two charities that each control about one-third of it. So is it a for-profit business? Or a nonprofit fund-raising machine? In fact, like hundreds of new businesses starting up around the country, it is both. Altrushare is an example of the em...
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Friday, May 04, 2007 — No Region Specified

Can India Afford its Villages?

Source: Live Mint

There has been a general tendency to romanticize village life as a return to our roots. What is noticeable, though, is that most people who romanticize village life in India tend to live in cities?in India, or elsewhere. They also seem incapable of noticing the irony implicit in this romanticization, since their forefathers, too, were once villagers ?who migrated to cities for good reason. There was no greater proponent of villages than Mohandas Gandhi, who had been educated in London...
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Friday, May 04, 2007 — No Region Specified

Morgan Stanley, BlueOrchard in microfinance ABS

Source: Reuters

Investment bank Morgan Stanley and BlueOrchard Finance are launching a $108 million bond backed by loans to microfinance institutions that is the first to be rated by a major rating agency. Microfinance hit the headlines last year when Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh, who conceived the concept, and the Grameen Bank he founded won the Nobel Peace Prize. Continue reading ...
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Thursday, May 03, 2007 — South Asia

Microfinance Bill Sends Confusing Messages

Source: Live Mint

A move to review and regulate when and how microfinance providers should be allowed to accept savings deposits is picking up speed. In a bid to police the booming sector, finance minister P. Chidambaram introduced a Bill to regulate small micro-credit institutions through the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) requiring them to meet more stringent accounting standards. Continue reading ...
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Wednesday, May 02, 2007 — No Region Specified

The Fortune at the Bottom of the Indian Pyramid

Source: LiveMint.com

Companies can tap a market of Rs54.25 lakh crore (or Rs54.25 trillion, well above the country?s Gross Domestic Product) in India by catering to the needs of people who earn less than $3,000 (around Rs1,23,000) a year according to a study by World Resources Institute (WRI), a think tank that works on environmental issues, and the International Finance Corporation, the private lending arm of the World Bank. The study, titled The Next 4 Billion: Market Size and Business Strategy at the Base of...
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Wednesday, May 02, 2007 — No Region Specified

How Developing Nations' Business Can Influence Established Markets

Source: Wall Street Journal

At a Gartner consulting conference in San Francisco last week, analyst Mark Raskino gave a presentation on technology trends, and one of his main themes was influenced by the The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, by business strategist C.K. Prahalad. The idea of the book is that the developing world presents many more business opportunities than commonly are imagined, including for First World companies. Mr. Raskino explained how work in developing countries can influ...
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