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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
Thursday, August 30, 2007 — No Region Specified

ISB Plans Big for Social Ventures

Source: The Times of India

Social entrepreneurship is the latest buzzword on business school campuses world over. Top institutes like Harvard Business School, Stanford-GSB, Oxford University's Said Business School and New York University's Stern School of Business are sharpening their focus on ventures that make a difference to societies and communities. And now the Hyderabad-based Indian School of Business (ISB) is all set to spawn entrepreneurs to address that segment of the population. The school has...
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Thursday, August 30, 2007 — No Region Specified

La mano al bolsillo

Source: Semana

Por filantrop?a pura o como oportunidad de negocio, en el sector privado colombiano toma auge la Responsabilidad Social Empresarial. El sector privado tambi?n se mete la mano al bolsillo, aunque no en la misma medida que los empresarios de pa?ses vecinos. Probablemente el tema con mayor auge medi?tico en el escenario actual de la lucha contra la pobreza en Colombia sea el de la Responsabilidad Social Empresarial, por la cual se entiende la inversi?n que las empresas privadas realizan en favor de...
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Wednesday, August 29, 2007 — No Region Specified

Market Insight: Emerging Markets are the New Safe Havens

Source: Financial Times

The world is turning upside down. Or so it might seem to some trying to cope with subprime woes, leveraged structured credit blow-ups, stutters in the commercial paper market and holders of illiquid AAA debt facing 20 per cent losses. To the emerging debt investor of ten years ago, however, it all looks quite familiar, if from a distance and in a different context. The ingredients are an underlying credit problem, a largely homogenous base of investors not fully aware of th...
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Wednesday, August 29, 2007 — No Region Specified

Intel's E-Learning Drive

Source: The Star Online

Intel remains committed to supporting the advancement of skilled workforce in Malaysia through various projects, including the 1:1 e-learning initiative, said Intel South-East Asia director Marcus Low. Low said the initiative was under the umbrella of the Intel? World Ahead Programme, which was aimed at connecting the next billion people to a world of opportunities. He said the World Ahead programme was driving cooperation between local stakeholders and industry leaders t...
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Wednesday, August 29, 2007 — No Region Specified

Africa: New Study to Bridge Finance Gap of Small Business

Source: All Africa

Caught in a limbo between larger firms with access to traditional banking-sector finance and micro-credit initiatives designed to help the small enterprises of the very poor, African businesses in the middle have historically been on the wrong side of both extremes when it comes to accessing finance. Now, a new joint African-European Union study aims to change that. Co-sponsored by the Cameroon Chamber of Commerce for Industry, Mines and Artisans (CCIMA) and the Brussels-based Africa ...
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Wednesday, August 29, 2007 — No Region Specified

Financial Inclusion Through Wireless Technology

Source: The Economic Times

One of the more popular seminars at the The Economic Times Banking Technology Conclave 2007 was titled Banking Sector Next Frontier - Serving the Under Banked Profitably. Can technology, especially wireless enabled serve the un-served market? The panel was a mix of technologists, bankers and a micro-financer with extensive experience at the rural level. The session was chaired by MBN Rao, the CMD of Canara Bank. One of the more popular seminars at the The Economic Times Banking...
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Wednesday, August 29, 2007 — No Region Specified

Safaricom: On a Tear in Africa

Source: Yahoo Asia News

Visitors to the headquarters of Safaricom in Nairobi must first face the scrutiny of a pair of imposing uniformed guards who peer sternly at vehicle occupants before lowering a hydraulically operated metal roadblock that looks strong enough to stop a speeding truck. The tight security is a reminder that Kenya, though relatively prosperous and stable by African standards, is still a difficult place to run a mobile-phone company. Safaricom, a 60-40 joint venture of the Kenyan government...
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Wednesday, August 29, 2007 — No Region Specified

Beware of Bad Microcredit

Source: Harvard Business Review

Companies are racing to add poverty-reducing microcredit initiatives to their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. Their hearts may be in the right place, but these well-intentioned efforts can backfire. Don?t misunderstand: Microcredit can raise borrowers? standard of living and help reduce poverty. In the past three years we?ve brokered investments in more than 150 carefully selected microcredit programs and have seen positive effects firsthand, including improved schoo...
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Wednesday, August 29, 2007 — No Region Specified

Micro Coverage a Big Help for Mexico's Poor

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

A new plan to promote microinsurance could have a ripple effect in the region. Adela Amaya Chavez never considered life insurance. In fact she had no idea what it was. But on a recent day when inquiring about a loan at Banco Azteca to repair the leaky drains in her home in Mexico City, she was told that if she paid an additional $2 a week her family would receive $6,000 if she were to die. Her first thought: the death of her nephew in a car accident in 2003 and the devast...
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Monday, August 27, 2007 — No Region Specified

Business Model Innovation- New Opportunities

Source: Hindustan Times

What do ITMG, Sankalp and Suschama have in common? They are all new business venture ideas focused at bringing the best if consulting and supply chain optimisation to small and medium enterprises that have been created by students while still in college. The enterprising students of the National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE) in Mumbai, supported by a visionary Professor, Dr T Prasad at the institute, have come up with this unique concept of ?Student Companies (SCs)?, whi...
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Monday, August 27, 2007 — No Region Specified

Turning Wastes Into Bottomline

Source: Business Standard

How Indian Industry is managing quality? ? In the past two articles, I highlighted examples of innovations in two organisations ? one, a large business house, and the other, a small company innovating for the bottom of the pyramid. ? In this article, the focus is on innovation for sustainable development by a manufacturing company ? Brakes India Ltd -- Foundry Division (BI Foundry). With the world becoming evermore environmentally conscious and technologies having to conform ...
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Monday, August 27, 2007 — No Region Specified

A Farewell to Alms

Source: Wall Street Journal

When celebrities such as Angelina Jolie or Bono highlight human tragedy to show that something can be done to alleviate it, the heart melts and the purse strings loosen. But the stars, alas, aren't up on the economic literature. Research is increasingly questioning the benefits of foreign aid. For a long time, persistent underdevelopment in aid-receiving countries fostered doubts about whether the do-good impulse was doing permanent good. Validation seemed to arrive with two World...
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Monday, August 27, 2007 — No Region Specified

Money Sent Home Vital for Survival

Source: The Toronto Star

At least three or four times a year, Saher sends a portion of her salary home. The money helps her parents buy necessities, and even creates a bit of savings in a place where the few jobs that still exist often don't pay for months, if at all. Saher al-Jamil tries to call home, but once again the lines are dead. She isn't worried because she is used to that by now. Reaching her parents in Gaza is no easy task, what with electricity being so unpredictable there. Everything is u...
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Monday, August 27, 2007 — No Region Specified

No Straight Road to Poverty Eradication

Source: Calibre Macro*World

A major plank in President Museveni's kisanja project is the eradication of poverty. If there is anything he has expended quantities of energy talking about, it is the imperative to lift the Uganda's impoverished out of poverty. And he has never been short of quick solutions. Those with long memories recall the much-vaunted entandikwa scheme, for which he even appointed Sisye Kiryapawo minister in charge. For reasons best known to him, and his policy advisors, the President be...
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Monday, August 27, 2007 — No Region Specified

Poor Nations Lose

Source: The Windsor Star

Huge profits made by London-based brokers who arrange emissions-cutting projects in developing countries contrast with little benefit for the world's poorest nations, company and United Nations data shows. The Kyoto Protocol on global warming allows rich countries to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets by paying poor nations to cut emissions on their behalf, using the so-called clean development mechanism (CDM). But evidence is emerging that while brokers stand to mak...
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Monday, August 27, 2007 — No Region Specified

CARE Turns Down Federal Funds for Food Aid

Source: New York Times

CARE, one of the world's biggest charities, is walking away from some $45 million a year in federal financing, saying American food aid is not only plagued with inefficiencies, but also may hurt some of the very poor people it aims to help. CARE's decision is focused on the practice of selling tons of often heavily subsidized American farm products in African countries that in some cases, it says, compete with the crops of struggling local farmers. The charity says ...
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Monday, August 27, 2007 — No Region Specified

?Qui?n es 'Sam' Pitroda?

Source: El Universal

En M?xico muy pocos conocen a Satyanarayan Gangarm (Sam) Pitroda. Aqu? no fijamos nuestra atenci?n en lo que ?l hace: innovar, crear nuevas empresas, utilizar la tecnolog?a para beneficio de los pobres y ayudar a su pa?s a entrar de lleno a la econom?a del conocimiento. Aqu? estamos demasiado concentrados en las denominadas reformas estructurales o en evitar que se hagan esas reformas; en seguir insistiendo a favor del Consenso de Was-hington o en rechazarlo. Cuando m?s, hacemos referencias ret?...
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Monday, August 27, 2007 — No Region Specified

In India, One Cheap Car Could Go a Long Way

Source: Washington Post

In many of India's boomtowns, a car is a quintessential part of the middle-class dream, a symbol of status and comfort that helps a family arrive in style, without a layer of grime from the choking pollution or soggy, mud-stained clothes from the rain. Every afternoon when Sudheer Mahanan, a government forest warden, picks up his two children from school, he is forced to squeeze them onto his moped. As they speed over monsoon-drenched potholes and weave around meandering cows, his...
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Thursday, August 23, 2007 — No Region Specified

Wanted: Web Content for Rural India

Source: ZD net Asia

Two days back, a close friend called to say that she plans to work on a documentary on how technology is changing the lives of rural Indians. She arm-twisted me into meeting her for lunch, before she vanishes into the remote villages of India for a few months. Two days back, a close friend called to say that she plans to work on a documentary on how technology is changing the lives of rural Indians. She arm-twisted me into meeting her for lunch, before she vanishes into the remote villages...
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Wednesday, August 22, 2007 — No Region Specified

There are no VCs yet Dedicated to Clean Tech, Renewable Energy

Source: LiveMint.com Wall Street Journal

Suneel Parasnis, country director for Hyderabad-based New Ventures India, talks about how his team identifies businesses best suited for funding. Country director for Hyderabad-based New Ventures India, Suneel Parasnis, helps start-ups in clean technology and renewable energy?areas relatively untouched by venture capital? raise funds. The typical funding requirement is between $100,000 and $5 million (Rs41.6 lakh and Rs20.8 crore). The challenge: most available investors seek deals s...
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Wednesday, August 22, 2007 — No Region Specified

World's Poorest, Living on $1, Get Hypothetical Help in Survey

Source: Bloomberg

How many people in the world live on less than $1 a day? When U.S. workers in an online survey answered that question, 23 percent correctly said 1 billion people or more. The survey, sponsored by the nonprofit group Millennium Promise, gathered information from 6,823 employees at U.S. companies and released the results today. Millennium Promise was founded by the economist Jeffrey D. Sachs to help ease extreme poverty in African villages. Sixty percent of the sur...
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Wednesday, August 22, 2007 — Asia Pacific

Hope and despair in micro-finance

Source: Business Standard, India

These last few months have been marked by deals in the microfinance industry never witnessed before. With $12.5m into Spandana (of which $10m came from JM Financial), $11.5m in SKS Microfinance (majority from Silicon Valley-based Sequoia Capital) and a whopping $27m in Share (of which $25 m came from Dubai based Legatum Capital), suddenly all MFI CEOs seem to be talking about raising capital and doing it quick lest they miss the bus. But in a nascent industry MFIs large enough (with ...
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Tuesday, August 21, 2007 — No Region Specified

Managing Globalization: To Reduce Poverty, Money isn't Everything

Source: International Herald Tribune

How much can governments do to fight poverty? In South America, a couple of answers are emerging in the growing economies of Venezuela and Brazil. Both governments have publicly pledged billions of dollars to raise living standards - but have they succeeded? Overall income is moving upward in both countries, if for different reasons. Venezuela is riding the black tide of high-priced oil, while Brazil's relatively firm economic policies have built confidence in its business prospec...
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Tuesday, August 21, 2007 — No Region Specified

Eradicating Poverty Through Small Business Ventures

Source: Guyana Chronicle

GUYANA Small Business Association (GSBA), in collaboration with Guyana Micro-Projects Programme (GMPP), is conducting a series of one-week training courses funded by the European Union (EU). They are being conducted at the GSBA Secretariat, Lot 160 Waterloo Street, North Cummingsburg, Georgetown, at no cost and interested persons can make contact at the address. A press release said the sessions between 5 p.m. and 9p.m. are intended to empower the disadvantaged through smal...
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Monday, August 20, 2007 — No Region Specified

Upward Mobile-ity for India's Poor

Source: Wall Street Journal

During the late 1990s, an often repeated story about India's mobile revolution featured fishermen in the southern Indian state of Kerala who used their mobile phones to call wholesale agents before reaching the shore to check market prices. Considering that mobile calls used to cost 20 cents a minute in those days and were obviously limited to the affluent, the story appeared apocryphal to some. There is now research that has mapped the benefits to those fishermen. The study, by R...
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Monday, August 20, 2007 — No Region Specified

Africa's Village of Dreams

Source: The Wilson Quarterly

Sauri must be the luckiest village in Africa. The maize is taller, the water cleaner, and the schoolchildren better fed than almost anywhere else south of the ?Sahara. Just two years ago, Sauri was an ordinary Kenyan village where poverty, hunger, and illness were facts of everyday life. Now it is an experiment, a prototype Millennium Village. The idea is simple: Every year for five years, invest roughly $100 for each of the village's 5,000 inhabitants, and see what ?...
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Monday, August 20, 2007 — No Region Specified

Treasure Hunt at the Bottom of the Pyramid

Source: The Financial Express

When leaders like YC Deveshwar, Subodh Bhargava and Arun Maira gather to discuss sustainability issues, they mean business. Brainstorming in Agra earlier this week, they not only discussed how sustainability challenges can be converted into business opportunities, but also unveiled their vision for the common good. The first 'Business Leaders Programme: Strategies and Leadership for Creating Sustainable Organisat-ions', August 10-14, was attended by a host of business leaders,...
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Monday, August 20, 2007 — South Asia

SME Policy

Source: Business Recorder

The long awaited first-ever small and medium enterprises (SME) policy was finally launched by the government on 15th August, 2007. Speaking at a press conference, the Minister for Industries Production and Special Initiatives, Jahangir Khan Tareen, flanked by the Governor of State Bank and the Secretary for Industries, revealed its salient features, emphasising that the new policy aims to create globally competitive SMEs with a hassle-free business environment and to ensure provision of modern i...
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Friday, August 17, 2007 — No Region Specified

Narrow Ideology Keeps Taps Dry

Source: Business Day (South Africa)

A BILLION people lack clean water and 2,6-billion lack basic sanitation, but the obstacles they face usually have more to do with ideology than practicality, as we learn in Stockholm where nearly 2500 experts have gathered for World Water Week. Even though private water services deliver clean and safe water to millions around the world, many politicians and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) oppose profit being made from ?essential resources? such as water. Oxfam says: Rich country gover...
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Friday, August 17, 2007 — No Region Specified

PM: Development Plans are not Only for Big Corporations

Source: The Star

Development plans for the country are not designed to benefit only big corporate companies and rich individuals but as many Malaysians as possible, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. The Prime Minister wants to see as many Malaysians, from all levels, to participate and benefit directly from the development plans that had been laid out. KOTA BARU: Development plans for the country are not designed to benefit only big corporate companies and rich individuals ...
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Friday, August 17, 2007 — No Region Specified

Egyptian Entrepreneurs Struggle Against Culture, Lack of Capital

Source: International Herald Tribune

Dr. Khaled Awad is a risk-taker. A doctor by training, he decided at age 26 to give up a secure position in one of Egypt's state-run hospitals to do something considered crazy by most of his countrymen: Start his own business. Awad, whose company transmits stock market data directly to mobile phones, is so unusual in Egypt that business people and academics are still trying to agree on a common Arabic word for entrepreneur. CAIRO, Egypt: Dr. Khaled Awad is ...
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Friday, August 17, 2007 — No Region Specified

The Most Successful Daily

Source: Wall Street Journal

Jos Kuper of South Africa's Daily Sun on Launching a 'Working Class' Paper Market researcher Jos Kuper was head of marketing and media research for the South African unit of the Irish media chain Independent Group when she and Deon du Plessis unsuccessfully tried to interest that company in a tabloid aimed at working-class black South Africans. She later helped him pitch the project, successfully, to Naspers Ltd. Ms. Kuper spoke via email with The Wall Street Journal&...
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Friday, August 17, 2007 — No Region Specified

Wal-Mart plans a slow ?hockey stick? curve in India

Source: Fortune

Wal-Mart is going slow in India. Its executives of course won?t admit this, but it is showing no hurry to begin selling in a country where its every move meets opposition . This was not the scenario envisaged by its Indian partner, Sunil Mittal of Bharti Enterprisers, when he decided to link up with Wal-Mart (WMT) at the end of last year in preference to Britain?s Te...
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Friday, August 17, 2007 — Asia Pacific

Smart money for India?s rural poor

Source: Fortune

India?s Finance Ministry and Planning Commission are looking into ways of using electronic smart cards to transform the distribution of relatively small amounts of government money to India?s 220 million people who live below the poverty line, and maybe to 200-300 million more who are only marginally better off. This would make it much more difficult for bureaucrats, politicians and middlemen to siphon off the funds as they move down the distribution chain. ?We alr...
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Thursday, August 16, 2007 — No Region Specified

Next Generation of Business Leaders Aim to Build a Sustainable Future

Source: CSR Wire

Thousands of MBAs and Professionals To Descend on Nashville in November. NASHVILLE and SAN FRANCISCO - August 16, 2007 ? This November, graduate business students, faculty and administrators from B-schools around the globe will join with corporate and nonprofit professionals for the 2007 Net Impact Conference, the world?s largest such gathering focused on corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, international development, and nonprofit and environmental management.Entitled "...
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Thursday, August 16, 2007 — No Region Specified

IDB Fund Approves US$2.1 Million for Innovation Investment Fund for Brazilian Small and Medium-Sized

Source: eGov Monitor

The Inter-American Development Bank announced today the approval of a US$2.1 million financing to Capital Tech, created as an innovation investment fund to foster small and medium-sized technology enterprises in Brazil through venture capital. The Multilateral Investment Fund financing will include a US$2 million reimbursable financing for the fund capitalization and a US$100,000 grant for technical cooperation. The fund will also receive contributions from private and institutional i...
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Thursday, August 16, 2007 — No Region Specified

World Bank Arm Urges More SME Lending

Source: Calibre Macro*World

Local banks need to further explore opportunities in small and medium enterprise (SME) lending given estimates of almost P70 billion in unmet demand, an International Finance Corp. (IFC) official yesterday said. IFC Country Coordinator for Advisory Services Euan Marshall told BusinessWorld that providing greater access to finance for SMEs, or firms with less than 500 workers and total assets worth up to P100 million, is a must. Government data show the SME sector comprises ...
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Thursday, August 16, 2007 — No Region Specified

First-Ever SMEs Policy Announced: Policy Aimed at Poverty Reduction and Jobs Creation

Source: Daily Times

The first-ever small and medium enterprises (SMEs) policy aimed at creating a conducive environment for the development of small business units across the country; thereby stimulating job creation and poverty reduction, with an outlay of Rs 13.128 billion was announced here on Wednesday. According to the SMEs policy, the government has to work mainly in four sectors, which are: Small Business Development Centre, Credit Information Bureau, Business Cluster and Credit Enhancement Mechan...
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Thursday, August 16, 2007 — No Region Specified

Eco-Friendly Coir Sector Will get Rs 200-cr Modernisation Funds

Source: Economic Times

The Centre is readying a Rs 150-Rs 200-crore package for the eco-friendly coir industry. The idea is to help coir makers capture a larger slice of the global market. India is a dominant player is the global market, having a 90% share followed by Sri Lanka. Coir exports grew by 24% to top Rs 600 crore in 2006-07. For this fiscal, the Centre has drawn up a Rs 25 crore modernisation plan. This could be followed with a separate booster dose of Rs 150-Rs 200 crore, said a senior official.
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Thursday, August 16, 2007 — Sub-Saharan Africa

How to release energies of the poor

Source: Business Daily Africa

For Richard Ndungu, the CEO at KPMG, when a company re-organises or repackages her products to facilitate access by the poor people, it is engaging in corporate social responsibility. Speaking at a SIFE Kenya CEO?s luncheon, Ndung?u pointed out that by unbundling a ?Bamba Fifty? Safaricom empowered millions of Kenyans who would otherwise have never used cell phone services. Equity Bank was also cited as another example of a fast growing bank in the East Afric...
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Wednesday, August 15, 2007 — No Region Specified

Small people, Big Achievements

Source: Economic Times

Thousands of kilometres of tarmac have been laid out since the Jamsahib (Maharaja of Jamnagar) sent his wife?s pair of pink slippers to Rolls-Royce so that the carmaker could exactly match the colour of his new Phantom II. Sixty-years since democracy spelt the doom for such royal demeanour, Jamnagar, a small town on India?s western coast in Gujarat, has come to be known much more for a refinery that one man without the legacy of a Birla or a Tata built, symbolising the rise of a new b...
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Wednesday, August 15, 2007 — No Region Specified

Aussie Project Takes Dumped Phones to World's Poor

Source: MSN News

An Australian initiative is taking unwanted mobile phones and distributing them to some of the world's poorest people, who are starting businesses in a bid to escape poverty. Not-for-profit group Enable Community has already distributed phones to the tsunami-hit Indonesian province of Aceh, mostly to fledgling businesses who have set up using microfinance credit. The group plans to embark on a much larger project with a microfinance group in the Philippines later this y...
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Wednesday, August 15, 2007 — No Region Specified

Behind One Effort to Tap Into India's Water Market

Source: Wall Street Journal

This article highlights the difficulty of diving into the potentially massive, but messy business of selling clean water to poor people. Many have tried to help developing nations with their water problems; few have come up with a way to profit from the effort. KAIKALURU, India -- After draining this town's pool of drinking water recently, cleaners found drowned rats and bloated lizards. But at least, as is common at other storage tanks across this parched land in eastern India, there were n...
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Wednesday, August 15, 2007 — No Region Specified

Richard Branson's Latest Venture

Source: Business Week

Virgin's founder talks about why fellow entrepreneurs are uniquely suited to help fight problems such as poverty, AIDS, and climate change. The Entrepreneur: Sir Richard Branson, 57 Background: At 16, British-born Branson launched his first business: a magazine called Student. He then established a mail-order record business that turned into a chain of music shops and eventually became the Virgin Megastores. The Company: Since his first venture, Branson's Virgin Gro...
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Wednesday, August 15, 2007 — No Region Specified

B-Schools Find Their Base

Source: MBA Universe

The Base of the Pyramid theory is an especially attractive one, especially, if, like me, you believe that MBAs can make a huge dent in world poverty by developing business opportunities in developing regions. The idea, made popular by Hart and University of Michigan business professor C.K. Prahalad, is that companies should not ignore the combined purchasing power of an estimated four billion people who live in poverty throughout the world. A few days ago I heard from a former BusinessWeek colle...
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Wednesday, August 15, 2007 — No Region Specified

La Inflaci?n Golpea Este a?o m?s a las Familias de Menos Ingresos

Source: La Prensa (Argentina)

Los aumentos en alimentos, salud y vestimenta son mayores en la base de la pir?mide. La inflaci?n en el primer semestre del a?o golpe? m?s fuerte a los estratos m?s bajos de la poblaci?n con un alza de precios acumulada de hasta 4,4%, inform? ayer el Instituto Nacional de Estad?stica y Censos (Indec). La inflaci?n promedio para Capital Federal y Gran Buenos Aires desde enero calculada por el organismo fue de 3,9%. El Indec considera para el 20% de la poblaci?n m?s rica la variaci?n de ...
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Tuesday, August 14, 2007 — South Asia

"Push for Innovation" is the New Mantra for IIT Graduates

Source: The Hindu

Pointing out that there would be a much greater premium on innovation in India in future than has been the case so far, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Saturday hoped that the students graduating from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, will push for innovation. Entrepreneurs NEW DELHI: Pointing out that there would be a much greater premium on innovation in India in future than has been the case so far, Planning Commission Deputy...
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Tuesday, August 14, 2007 — No Region Specified

India Has The Brains, But Where's The Beef?

Source: Forbes

India is full of smart, highly-trained, English-speaking computer wizards, thanks to the legendary Indian Institutes of Technology. All it needs is decent infrastructure--code for airports, highways and the reliable supply of utilities--and its full potential is ready to be realized. Sound familiar? That's the shibboleth that many Western executives and journalists buy into, fed by quick fact-finding trips and endlessly repeated media myths. In India, critic...
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Tuesday, August 14, 2007 — No Region Specified

Innovating for the Bottom of the Pyramid

Source: Business Standard

How Indian Industry is managing quality? ? A major objective of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Mission for Innovation in Manufacturing is to sensitise the business community to look at the bottom of the pyramid, where innovations are really required. For the upper and middle sections of the society innovative products will always be available from the West. ? However, these products can not be and will not be used by the bottom of the pyramid. To ensure the partic...
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Tuesday, August 14, 2007 — No Region Specified

HSBC India Goes in for a Down-to-Earth Transformation

Source: Business Line

Think of HSBC Bank in India and you may have this impression of a stiff upper lip, British style-bank, with bankers attired in classy suits, catering to the high and mighty in clipped English accent! That's an image undergoing change. Chennai, Aug. 13. Think of HSBC Bank in India and you may have this impression of a stiff upper lip, British style-bank, with bankers attired in classy suits, catering to the high and mighty in clipped English accent! That's an image undergoing change...
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Tuesday, August 14, 2007 — No Region Specified

Empowering Mothers Around the World

Source: The Louisiana Weekley

A family lives in a small village by a river-a mother, two girls and a boy. The water isn't clean, but the children play in it avoiding dead fish whose pale bellies roll on the surface. There's a mill or refinery or food processing plant several kilometers upstream that spews thick raw sludge into the river. The plant's smoke stacks send opaque plumes of gaseous toxins skyward; flakes the color of slate settle on the roofs and sills and the mother's struggling crops of...
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Tuesday, August 14, 2007 — No Region Specified

Can the Banks Fight Poverty?

Source: The Guardian

Recently, I was at a friend's office in Lagos and we were discussing issues bordering on the economy and business. We were analysing the business climate in Nigeria vis-?-vis the prevailing government policies, especially with regard to banks. My friend is managing a medium sized private business in the aviation sector, which is apparently doing well with prospects for growth. He is looking forward to expanding and making the business bigger. We were also discussing the prospects of one star...
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Monday, August 13, 2007 — No Region Specified

Mobile Phone Charges Ripe for Free-Fall Phase

Source: Calibre Macro*World- Business Daily

When Communications Commission of Kenya director-general Joseph Waweru told journalists last November that mobile phone call tariffs would drop by half in the next 12 months, very few believed such a feat was achievable. Then, the average cost of a wireless call within one network stood at a high of Sh30 per minute, while calls across networks were priced at as high as Sh50 per minute. Aug 13, 2007 (Business Daily/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- When Communications Commission of Kenya dir...
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Monday, August 13, 2007 — No Region Specified

SMEs Overtake Formal Market

Source: Calibre Macro*World

The small and medium enterprises (SME) sector has greater potential to create much-needed jobs than the country's large businesses given its labour intensive nature and the use of natural and local resources, according to Herbert Jauch from the Labour Resource and Research Institute (LaRRI). Windhoek, Aug 13, 2007 (New Era/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- The small and medium enterprises (SME) sector has greater potential to create much-needed jobs than the country's large business...
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Monday, August 13, 2007 — No Region Specified

London Profits While Africa Awaits Kyoto Benefit

Source: Reuters

Huge profits made by London-based brokers who arrange emissions-cutting projects in developing countries contrast with little benefit for the world's poorest nations, company and United Nations data shows. The Kyoto Protocol on global warming allows rich countries to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets by paying poor nations to cut emissions on their behalf, using the so-called clean development mechanism (CDM). But evidence is emerging that while brokers stand to mak...
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Monday, August 13, 2007 — No Region Specified

Innovating for the bottom of the pyramid

Source: Business Standard

How Indian Industry is managing quality? ? A major objective of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Mission for Innovation in Manufacturing is to sensitise the business community to look at the bottom of the pyramid, where innovations are really required. For the upper and middle sections of the society innovative products will always be available from the West....
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Monday, August 13, 2007 — No Region Specified

Business More than Government or Civil Society is Equipped to Lead us Towards a Sustainable World

Source: Calibre

Can a business go green and yet make a profit? Professor Stuart Hart, a leading authority on sustainability and business strategy thinks it is just a matter of changing mindsets. Hart is the SC Johnson Chair of Sustainable Global Enterprise and Professor of Management at Cornell University. In his book, Capitalism at the Crossroads: The Unlimited Business Opportunities in Solving the World's Most Difficult Problems', Hart argues that companies can become the catalyst for a truly sustaina...
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Monday, August 13, 2007 — No Region Specified

Capitalists Should Mine Bottom of Pyramid

Source: Shanghai Daily

Most businesses focus on high profit margins from the world's richest 800 million people while neglecting the other approximately four billion people living at the bottom of the economic pyramid. For years, market capitalism has been widely regarded as the virtual polar opposite of human values. On the one hand, its endless exploitation of the limited natural resources and pollution pose great threats to the sustainable development of both the environment and society.
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Saturday, August 11, 2007 — No Region Specified

Borrowers benefit of MFI competition

Source: The Economic Times, India

Finally, this is one news that will make the man on the street happy. In an era of rising interest rates, microfinance institutions have decided to absorb the higher cost of funds themselves, thanks to competition. Some banks, particularly state-owned ones, who lend directly to the borrower, have not passed on the higher costs since they feel that these portfolios are too small to impact their balance sheets. Microfinance institutions (MFIs) rely upon the private sector a...
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Friday, August 10, 2007 — No Region Specified

Microfinance on Radar

Source: Business Standard

Private Equity (PE) funds, which are known to sense big opportunities in businesses, now see a potential in low-profile microfinance institutions (MFI). Recent times have seen a clutch of deals in the MFI space involving PE funds. JM Financial India Fund ? a $225 million PE fund sponsored by JM Financial ? Old Lane Partners and Delhi-based Lok Capital ? a Mauritius-based microfinance venture capital fund ? together have invested $12 million in Spandana, a leading MFI. In ...
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Friday, August 10, 2007 — No Region Specified

Visa Credit Cards Issuance Grew 37%

Source: Business Wire

The Demand for Credit Payment Solutions by Entry-Level Consumers Was a Significant Driver for Growth. MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Visa International Latin American and Caribbean Region (LAC) Point-of-Sale (POS) volume increased 26 percent to US$116.3 billion during the four quarters ending on March 31, 2007. Visa attributed this growth mainly to the credit card segment, which rose 37 percent in the number of credit cards issued versus the same period last year and now accounts for 91.3 million cards...
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Thursday, August 9, 2007 — No Region Specified

Eastern Europe?s Untapped Market

Source: Financial Times

BCG calculates that 200m of the region?s 350m people live on incomes above the poverty line and below median household income ? or $500 (?360, ?245) to $1,300 a month in central Europe, and $350 to $1,050 in the former Soviet Union. Together they account for half the region?s disposable income, most of it concentrated in just three countries ? Poland, Ukraine and Russia. This is a much larger market than the 50m people on top incomes that multinationals have already successfully reached. Go to a...
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Thursday, August 9, 2007 — No Region Specified

Echoing Green Seeds Twenty New Organizations And Tops $25 Million Invested In Social Change Since 19

Source: PR Newswire

The bold and creative spirit of these entrepreneurs underscores Echoing Green's commitment to support undiscovered leaders who can make a real difference in our world, said Dr. Cheryl Dorsey, President of Echoing Green. These fellows come to us with passion and drive; we then provide the early stage funding and vast network of social entrepreneurs to help them secure sustainability and more quickly achieve the impact of their ideas. As the newest example of its twenty year and mo...
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Thursday, August 9, 2007 — No Region Specified

How to Market to Asia's Masses

Source: Advertising Age

Don't Overlook the Fact That Even Low-Income Consumers Have Needs They Want Help Meeting. For decades, the majority of multinational corporations marketing in Asia have focused on the affluent minority, those who tend to live in urban areas and have shopping habits and product needs that are quite similar to those in the West. But by focusing only on the upper-income urbanites, marketers are missing a vast opportunity at the bottom of the economic pyramid. About 4 billion people i...
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Tuesday, August 7, 2007 — No Region Specified

Tamweelcom Launches Educational Grant Programme, 'Marketing gateway?

Source: Jordan Information Center

Microfinance is in no way charity, rather it is a proven effective tool to assist low-income families move beyond hand-to-mouth survival and plan for the future. With this in mind, one of the Kingdom's major micro-lenders, Tamweelcom, held an event on Saturday to launch an educational grant programme and a newly developed marketing gateway. Tamweelcom has looked beyond lending like traditional microfinance institutions. We are providing a value chain s...
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Tuesday, August 7, 2007 — No Region Specified

The Fortune in Commercialization of African Biosciences

Source: African Path

Commercialization of African science is the fundamental solution to healthcare development in Africa and a sustainable solution to the global health challenge. This transformational insight issued out of the KDNC Fourth Business Workshop (KB4W) which took place in Washington, D.C. in August 2006. Previous workshops (KDNC Second Business Workshop [K2BW], and KDNC Third Business Workshop [K3BW]) firmly established that market failure was the primary reason of underdevelopment in Africa, and failur...
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Monday, August 6, 2007 — No Region Specified

NGO Brings Lighting Services to Poor Households in India

Source: World Watch

A new nongovernmental organization is forming a critical link between poor communities, renewable energy providers, and local banks in southern India. Over the past three years, the Small-Scale Sustainable Infrastructure Development Fund, Inc. (S3IDF) has implemented 35 low-investment renewable lighting projects for urban and rural communities, benefiting about 5,500 people. ?Increasing evolution of technology and materials is driving small-scale solutions to be much more cost effective in poor ...
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Monday, August 6, 2007 — No Region Specified

India Nurturing Homegrown Ideas

Source: Chicago Tribune

A little seed money has helped to unleash the potential of this rural nation's many back-yard inventors. IMPHAL, India. Uddhab Bharali wanted to be a mechanical engineer. But before he could get a college degree, his father developed asthma and could no longer work. The youth decided to start manufacturing plastic bags to support his family. But the machine he needed cost $12,500, five times what he had in savings. So he built his own. Twenty years later, he has invente...
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Monday, August 6, 2007 — Asia Pacific

PM: Find Ways to Tackle Poverty

Source: NST Online

Enough talk, let?s find real solutions to poverty in the world. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said immediate action must be taken to resolve the problem of the poor. Let us, therefore, in the next two days, concentrate on finding solutions to this problem, he told some 400 participants at the opening of the Eighth Langkawi International Dialogue (LID) 2007 here last night. LANGKAWI: Enough talk, let?s find real solutions to poverty in the world.
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Monday, August 6, 2007 — No Region Specified

Envirofit: Retrofitting the Two-Stroke Engine

Source: World Changing

Two-stroke engines emit as much pollution as approximately 50 conventional automobiles. A retrofit kit initially designed to reduce the emissions of snowmobiles is now being applied to the ubiquitous two-stroke motorcycle taxis in Philippine cities. Envirofit, an independent nonprofit company started at Colorado State University in 2003, works to develop and disseminate direct injection retrofit kits to improve the efficiency of two-stroke engines, one of the world?s largest sources o...
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Monday, August 6, 2007 — No Region Specified

Environmental Technologies and the Bottom of the Pyramid

Source: Environmental News Network

Roughly four billion people, mostly in developing countries, subsist at the bottom of the economic and social pyramid. They are vulnerable not only to the risks associated with poverty, unemployment and social exclusion, but also to a host of environmental threats including poor air quality, contaminated water and climate change. Linking their entrepreneurial talent with the need to overcome the environmental conditions in which they live could accelerate the deployment of environmental technolo...
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Friday, August 3, 2007 — No Region Specified

US Banks Turn Greenbacks Flow Towards Indian SMEs

Source: The Economic Times

US banks have spotted a huge business opportunity in the small and medium enterprises (SME) here that contribute 9% of the country?s $1-trillion GDP. New Delhi: US banks have spotted a huge business opportunity in the small and medium enterprises (SME) here that contribute 9% of the country?s $1-trillion GDP. A wave of liberal offers for credit along with US government guarantee is set to make its way to the segment with the US seeking to boost its exports by providing trade finance t...
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Friday, August 3, 2007 — No Region Specified

Tata Unbound

Source: Business Week

A talk with Ratan N. Tata reveals his take on everything from Tata Group's expansion plans, to being overstretched, to choosing a successor. For the past four years, Ratan N. Tata has been racing to seize opportunities to establish the Tata Group, one of India's oldest and biggest conglomerates, as a major global player in everything from steel and cars to hotels and information technology services. Besides making big acquisitions such as the Anglo-Dutch steel giant Corus Group and...
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Friday, August 3, 2007 — No Region Specified

Did Unilever get its Rural Communications Right?

Source: The Hindu

A new book from Wharton School Publishing is critical of Hindustan Unilever?s advertising strategy. Chennai, Aug. A new book from Wharton School Publishing is critical of Hindustan Unilever?s advertising strategy. HUL missed an opportunity for increased marketing productivity when they repositioned, retargeted, and relaunched Lifebuoy, write Leonard M. Lodish, Howard L. Morgan and Shellye Archambeau, the authors of ?Marketing that Works? (www.pearsoned.co.in). Though the c...
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Friday, August 3, 2007 — No Region Specified

In Praise of Usury

Source: The Economist

Ignore credit snobs. It is no sin to profit from lending to the poor. IN DANTE'S ?Divine Comedy?, usurers are consigned to a flaming desert of sand within the seventh circle of hell. Attitudes have since softened a bit. Microcreditors, who offer small loans to self-employed poor people, enjoy hallowed reputations. One has even ascended to the rank of a Nobel laureate. But lending to the poor is still considered distasteful whenever it is pricey, short-term and profitable. In America, f...
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Thursday, August 2, 2007 — No Region Specified

Life at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Are Environmental Technologies the Way Out?

Source: Globe-Net

VANCOUVER, August 1, 2007 (GLOBE-Net) ? Roughly four billion people, mostly in developing countries, subsist at the bottom of the economic and social pyramid. Here they are vulnerable not only to the risks associated with poverty, unemployment and social exclusion, but also to a host of environmental threats including poor air quality, contaminated water and climate change. Even though they live on less than US $2 per day, these people represent a huge potential market. Linking their entrepreneu...
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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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Thursday, August 2, 2007 — No Region Specified

On Campus, a Different Pyramid Scheme

Source: Business Week

Classes that explore the controversial base of the pyramid economic development theory are proliferating at B-schools around the world. More B-school students than ever will be taking courses in base of the pyramid theory when they go back to campus this fall?an indication that the idea that economic development can come from selling products to the world's poor has gone from buzz to curriculum staple. The base of the pyramid concept, which is not universal...
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Thursday, August 2, 2007 — No Region Specified

Cornell Professor Builds on His Base

Source: Business Week

Stuart Hart, founder of base of the pyramid economics, talks about terrorism, poverty, and the next big corporations. As one of the founding fathers of the base of the pyramid economic theory, Stuart Hart plays a crucial role in reshaping the way companies view the 4 billion people who live in poverty. The Cornell B-school professor is the founder and chair of the school's Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise and an authority on the implications of sustainable dev...
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Wednesday, August 1, 2007 — No Region Specified

The Business of Ethics Remixed

Source: Hardnews Media

Corporations have to integrate 'social responsibility' into their business agenda to protect environmental, social and human rights of the vast majority. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a highly misunderstood and misinterpreted term in India. The core of CSR is what a company essentially does in terms of philanthropy or charity in the community in which it operates. This understanding of 'India Inc.' has traditionally been continued, practised and modelled vis-?-vis the ...
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Wednesday, August 1, 2007 — No Region Specified

India Rides the Venture Capital Wave

Source: CIO Today

The base of the pyramid is often ignored, but offers a tremendous opportunity, says Katie Hill, the India representative of Acumen Fund, an fund backed by the Cisco Systems Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. Acumen has put $1.5 million into Ziqitza, a Mumbai-based ambulance company that offers deep discounts for residents of the city. The fishermen from the Indian village of Chidambaram live a hard life. They sleep most of the day, then spend the night out on the water...
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Wednesday, August 1, 2007 — No Region Specified

Visa Boosts LatAm Volume

Source: Latin Business Chronicle

Visa posts a strong increase in volume and credit cards in Latin America. Visa boosted its point-of-sale (POS) volume in Latin America by 26 percent to $116.3 billion in the four quarters ending on March 31. The growth was due to a 37 percent increase in the number of new credit cards issued, which now total 91.3 million in the region. All in all, Visa boasts 270.9 million cards in Latin America, including debit cards. Purchases made with Visa credit cards at the POS grew 26 percent t...
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Wednesday, August 1, 2007 — No Region Specified

Behind L'Or?al's Makeover In India: Going Upscale

Source: Wall Street Journal

In India, most beauty products sell for less than a dollar. L'Or?al SA is betting its future here on products costing three to 20 times as much. MUMBAI -- In India, most beauty products sell for less than a dollar. L'Or?al SA is betting its future here on products costing three to 20 times as much. The French cosmetics giant has embarked on a strategy that sharply differs from that of its rivals. Having failed to turn a profit selling low-priced shampoo in India, i...
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