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Monday, November 30, 2009 — South Asia

Adidas to Make ?1 Trainers In and For Bangladesh

Source: The Telegraph

The move from the company more usually associated with expensive footwear and celebrity sponsorship was inspired by Bangladesh's Nobel prize winner, Muhammad Yunus, the pioneer of micro-loans which help the poor start their own businesses. He told the company, which has been criticised for exploitation in the developing world, that Bangladesh needed "social businesses" which would create jobs in the country. The company has now agreed it will produce shoes in Bangladesh on a non-pro...
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009 — North Africa and Near East

Abraaj Capital to Buy Riyada Ventures, Focus on SME investments

Source: AltAssets

Dubai-based private equity firm Abraaj Capital has agreed to acquire all of Riyada Ventures as it moves into the venture capital space. Riyada Ventures, which was set up in the Jordanian capital of Amman in 2005, will be integrated by Abraaj into its newly launched regional SME and entrepreneurship initiative. Khaldoon Tabaza will continue as the CEO of the new business line of Abraaj. Tabaza has worked in the MENA venture capital industry since 2000, p...
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Monday, November 23, 2009 — South Asia

India Financial Inclusion Fund Raises $90M Kitty

Source: VC Circle

IFIF will invest in MFI, low-cost housing and companies that provide financial services to the poor. India Financial Inclusion Fund (IFIF), one of the largest funds focussed on investing in companies playing in the bottom-of-the-pyramid market, has achieved a final close of $90 million. Advised by Hyderabad-based Caspian Advisors, IFIF has raised commitments from the likes of UK's CDC Group, Global Microfinance Equity Fund and Switzerland's Social Investment Services.
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Monday, November 23, 2009 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Uganda: VoIP Smile Communications Launches Today

Source: The New Vision

Kampala - The seventh mobile operator in Uganda, Smiles Communication, starts operations today, using the 02 code. Irene Charnley, Smiles' chief executive officer, yesterday said the firm targets the un-served, bottom of the pyramid consumers in Africa and the Middle East. "For the first time, individuals are offered free electronic identities and voice message boxes without needing to own a phone," said Charnley.
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Monday, November 23, 2009 — South Asia

The Henry Ford of Heart Surgery

Source: Wall Street Journal

BANGALORE -- Hair tucked into a surgical cap, eyes hidden behind thick-framed magnifying glasses, Devi Shetty leans over the sawed open chest of an 11-year-old boy, using bright blue thread to sew an artificial aorta onto his stopped heart. As Dr. Shetty pulls the thread tight with scissors, an assistant reads aloud a proposed agreement for him to build a new hospital in the Cayman Islands that would primarily serve Americans in search of lower-cost medical care. The agreement is inked ...
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009 — South Asia

Back to Villages with "Reverse Innovation"

Source: DNA India

Kolkata: If you are in Gurdaspur, make sure you take a stroll down the Western Union Chowk. For nowhere else in the world would you find a street named after the world's largest cross-border remittances company. This only proves how great is the brand recall for Western Union in this smalltown in Punjab. This also shows how big corporates have moved beyond the archetypal rural marketing tools like small unit sachets, mom-and-pop stores or partnership...
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009 — South Asia

India: IFC Turns Focus on Funding to Poorer States

Source: LiveMint

Mumbai: The private sector lending arm of the World Bank group is sharpening its focus on the bottom of the pyramid. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) will increase lending to enterprises in seven north Indian states that lag the rest of the country in average incomes and has set up a separate unit that works in these poorer states, the lender’s top manager said on Monday. “We have shifted focus to areas where we can contribute,” said Lars Thunell, executive ...
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Monday, November 16, 2009 — Asia Pacific

Businessweek: A Big Idea for Little Farms

Source: BusinessWeek

In the countryside of Shanxi Province in north-central China, farmer Xie Xin has struggled for years with water shortages. The 47-year-old, who grows tomatoes and cucumbers, had to pay dearly to use the local well, since the region receives an average of only 16.5 inches of rainfall annually. But this year, Xie started participating in an experiment in which farmers use new irrigation equipment to conserve water. The equipment, similar to a garden hose with small holes every foot or so, is ex...
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Friday, November 13, 2009 — South Asia

Philips Digs At Bottom of the Pyramid

Source: DNA India

Hyderabad: Philips Electronics India Ltd is resorting to innovative pricing and customer engagement models in India to gain market share and acceptance by 'bottom-of-the-pyramid' segments and enterprise customers. Clean energy is the common pitch that Philips is making to log in higher customer numbers through such innovations. For instance, in one such initiative, the company has collaborated with Washington-based C Quest...
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Friday, November 13, 2009 — South Asia

Rural India Gets Chance at Piece of Jobs Boom

Source: New York Times

BAGEPALLI, India — Under harsh fluorescent lights, dozens of heads bend over keyboards, the clattering unison of earnest typing filling the room. Monitors flicker with insurance forms, time sheets and customer service e-mail messages, tasks from far away, sent to this corner of India to be processed on the cheap.
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Thursday, November 12, 2009 — Asia Pacific

Vietnam: Fund for Pro-Poor Businesses Debuts

Source: Saigon Times Daily

The Vietnam Challenge Fund (VCF), a new financial instrument to support new business projects that directly benefit the poor was launched Tuesday in Hanoi. With an initial budget of US$3 million for 2009-2011, the fund is a major component of the "Making Markets Work Better for the Poor Phase 2" initiative. It is backed by the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the U.K.'s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), The Saigon Tim...
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009 — No Region Specified

C.K. Prahalad: Sustainability Can Lead to Innovation

Source: Economic Times

He's going green. After core competence and the bottom of the pyramid, the world's best-known management guru of Indian origin, CK Prahalad, is talking sustainable development. Why? Because, as he argued in a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, "Sustainability is the mother lode of innovations that yield both bottomline and topline returns". In an exclusive interview to ET Now , the Paul and Ruth McCracken professor of strategy at Stephen M Ross School of Business at the Un...
Tuesday, November 10, 2009 — South Asia

World Economic Forum India Summit to Ponder Over Social Issues

Source: Economic Times

Social issues have never taken up so much corporate and CEO attention since the world wars. Income inequalities, public health, labour unrest, climate change, poverty, ethics, values, the role of business ... all that kind of thing. Suddenly, corporate social responsibility has come to acquire a brand new meaning. It's not about the Gates Foundation any more, it's about bankers bonuses. It's about climate change, green technology, social justice. Developmental and beha...
Tuesday, November 10, 2009 — South Asia

B-school is India Shining

Source: Financial Chronicle

Mann Deshi Udyogini is like no other business school. Its students don't come to the class armed with laptops, the faculty does not moonlight by writing reports for big business groups, companies don't fall over one another to give its students jobs with fat salaries. In fact, it does not even have campus recruitments. Yet, its strike rate in producing successful businessmen - no, make it businesswomen - is perhaps better than any other B-school. Since inception in 2006, it...
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Monday, November 09, 2009 — No Region Specified

Polycentric Innovation: A New Mandate for Multinationals

Source: Wall Street Journal

What do John Deere, Cisco, and Obopay have in common? All three companies form a new breed of enlightened Western firms that have embraced what I call "polycentric innovation." Polycentric innovation is an emerging business practice that consists of networking international talent, capital, and ideas to meet global demand for new products and services. Wait, isn't that what multinationals have been doing for decades? Not really. While it's true that leading American and European...
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Saturday, November 07, 2009 — No Region Specified

Investor in People

Source: The National

The former banker Jacqueline Novogratz founded the Acumen Fund to provide capital for small businesses in developing countries. She explains to Helena Frith Powell why, if you want to help the world's poor, you have to invest in them, rather than just giving them money. ...
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Saturday, November 07, 2009 — No Region Specified

Investor in People

Source: The National

The former banker Jacqueline Novogratz founded the Acumen Fund to provide capital for small businesses in developing countries. She explains to Helena Frith Powell why, if you want to help the world's poor, you have to invest in them, rather than just giving them money. ...
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Saturday, November 07, 2009 — South Asia

World?s Top Biz Thinker Reflects on Global Impact of His Work

Source: San Diego News Network

With $18 in his pocket, local resident C.K. Prahalad emigrated from India 32 years ago accompanied by his wife and their two young children. $18 was the amount of money he was allowed to take out of India at the time due to government currency restrictions. Fortunately, when he arrived in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he had a couple of other things going for him. He had a doctorate in business administration from Harvard Business School that he had earned two years earlier and he ha...
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Friday, November 06, 2009 — South Asia

Tatas Going Global with Low-Cost Housing

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Kochi, Nov. 5 The Tatas are giving a global perspective to their successful affordable housing model, which was launched in Mumbai. Mr Ratan Tata, Chairman of Tata Sons, said that Tata Housing has got enquiries for replicating the Mumbai housing model from other countries and is likely to start out from Maldives. Enquiries have come from various other States and the affordable housing model would soon be extended to Kolkata, Bangalore and Assam. He said there exists tremendo...
Thursday, November 05, 2009 — South Asia

Apollo Hospitals: 'We Are Trying to Build 10 Hospitals Every Year'

Source: Business Standard

Apollo Hospitals, the country's largest healthcare chain, wants to add 10 hospitals a year for providing services to the population at the bottom of the pyramid. The aim is to reach out to a billion people in a decade. In an interview with Joe C Mathew, Apollo Hospitals Executive Chairman Prathap C Reddy says the challenge is not in the funding, but in finding the human resources. Excerpts: Apollo is the first and only hospital in the country to have a stamp bearing its name...
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Thursday, November 05, 2009 — South Asia

MChek Aims to Grow 10-fold in Five Years with Telecom Majors

Source: LiveMint.com

Bangalore: Sanjay Swamy has hit it off with the big daddies of telecom and banking— Bharti Airtel Ltd, State Bank of India and ICICI Bank Ltd—offering their customers options to make payments over the increasingly ubiquitous mobile phone. The cheery Swamy heads Bangalore-based start-up mChek India Payment Systems Pvt. Ltd. Its payment feature comes inlaid on every subscriber identity module (SIM) card issued by Airtel and Tata Docomo, allowing customers to use it through a b...
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Thursday, November 05, 2009 — South Asia

Nokia Launches Its Cheapest Phone Yet for Emerging Markets

Source: PC World

Nokia has unveiled the 1280, a mobile phone for emerging markets that is 20 percent cheaper than its predecessor, the 1202. The unsubsidized cost of the 1280 is €20 (US$30), which makes it Nokia's cheapest mobile phone yet, according to a Nokia blog post . But the prize squeeze won't end there: The concept of a €5 mobile phone doesn't seem s...
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Monday, November 02, 2009 — Asia Pacific

Welcome to China's "Wild West" of Capitalism

Source: San Jose Mercury News

Not long ago, Tsoi Chun Bun made potato chips. Now he designs and sells millions of mobile phones a year. He is one of hundreds of young entrepreneurs seeking overnight fortunes in Shenzhen Inc. — the Wild West of the mobile-phone industry. Phones made and designed by these Chinese vendors will account for about a third of the 1.1 billion cell phones that will be sold around the world this year.... ...
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Monday, November 02, 2009 — No Region Specified

MBAs Turn to Social Enterprise

Source: Financial Times

By developing a low-cost structure and specialising in maternity care, LifeSpring Hospitals, a fast-growing private healthcare chain in India, can charge Rs2,000 ($43, €29, £26) for a normal delivery, a cost that runs to Rs12,000 in mainstream Indian private hospitals. Learning how to deliver services to the world's poorest consumers is not what MBA students aspired to. But with a new wave of students looking to use their business skills to tackle global problems, stories of so...
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