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, March 30, 2009 — No Region Specified

Social Entrepreneurs Go Mainstream

Source: Ode Magazine

In the wake of the 2008 financial flameout, most business people are, to put it mildly, downbeat. Banks aren't lending, consumers aren't spending and the prospects for the rest of the year seem grim. All of which makes social entrepreneurs, well, intensely—even passionately—optimistic. "This is a slam dunk," says Willy Foote, the founder of Root Capital, which provides loans to rural businesses in Latin America, Africa and Asia. "The Wall Street meltdown provide...
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Monday, March 30, 2009 — Latin America

Root Capital Launches 5-Year, $63M Growth Capital Campaign

Source: Press Release

Root Capital announced today that it has launched a comprehensive Growth Capital Campaign that will significantly increase its capacity to serve rural grassroots businesses in developing countries by establishing a sustainable social enterprise and fully self-sufficient lending program by 2013. The five-year $63 million campaign includes a unique combination of Philanthropic Equity and Debt Capital and will accelerate the organization’s ability to impact global poverty by linking rural ...
Monday, March 30, 2009 — South Asia

Godrej Consumer Looking for Acquisitions Abroad

Source: Wall Street Journal

Godrej Consumer Products Ltd. is looking for acquisitions worth up to $1 billion abroad as the Indian soap and hair color maker wants to sell its products in countries like China, Brazil and Nigeria, Chairman Adi Godrej said. "We won't go for anything very tiny, but if the acquisition is over $15 million, we would look at it," Mr. Godrej told Dow Jones Newswires in a recent interview. "On the upper side, we would look at something up to maybe a billion dollars." He s...
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Friday, March 27, 2009 — No Region Specified

The Power of Soft Capital

Source: Mail and Guardian

In 2004 two Americans, Matt and Jessica Flannery, returned home from a research trip in East Africa gobsmacked by the resourcefulness and entrepreneurship capacities displayed by the poor in the rural areas they had visited. The Flannerys discovered, much to their surprise, that being poor didn't double for being helpless and, more importantly, how far small loans of about $100 could go in facilitating and encouraging further resourcefulness of small businesses in the fight ...
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Thursday, March 26, 2009 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Rwanda Rising: A New Model of Economic Development

Source: Fast Company

Nobody likes to say "No, Mr. President." So three years ago, when Costco CEO Jim Sinegal got a call from shareholder Dan Cooper, a partner in Chicago's Fox River Financial Resources, asking if he'd have lunch with Rwandan president Paul Kagame, he agreed. That meeting in New York led to a presidential stop at Costco HQ near Seattle. Which led to Sinegal's promise to visit Rwanda. "I made it in a moment of weakness," he says, "before I realized how long it takes to get there." He e...
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Thursday, March 26, 2009 — South Asia

Prahalad: We Need More Nanos, Amuls, Jaipur Rugs

Source: MBA Universe

When the corporate world is engaged in a debate over finding feasible solutions to come out of the current economic crisis, management guru Prof. C K Prahlad suggests innovative business models like Nano, Jaipur Rugs, Amul etc to move out from the crisis. While encouraging business leaders to adopt innovative ideas by referring to some of the success stories of top Indian companies, Prof. Prahlad said, “India has the ability to beco...
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Thursday, March 26, 2009 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Avon Calling: Could Beauty Be a Path Out of Poverty?

Source: Fast Company

"No! No! No!" Oxford business professor Linda Scott does not use Avon products. In fact, she says with a smile, "One of the worst things that ever happened to me is that a friend of mine started selling Avon." But she believes her research in South Africa could prove a fascinating hypothesis: that becoming an Avon lady could help poor women in developing nations knock on prosperity's door. Scott is a cultural historian-turned-marketing professor who first got interested in stud...
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Thursday, March 26, 2009 — No Region Specified

Monitor Group Report: Emerging Markets, Emerging Models

Source: Press Release

OXFORD, England--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today at the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship Monitor Group, one of the world’s leading advisory and consulting firms, releases “Emerging Markets, Emerging Models,” a first-of-its-kind report analyzing the actual behaviors, economics, and business models of successful “market-based solutions”—financially-sustainable enterprises that address challenges of global poverty. Compiled in an effort to use fact-based re...
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009 — No Region Specified

Innovation Trickles in a New Direction

Source: BusinessWeek

Products traditionally are created in rich nations and repackaged for emerging ones. But General Electric, Nokia, and others are reversing the process By Reena Jana This month, General Electric'...
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009 — South Asia

Seva and Grameen Partner on Eye Hospitals for Bangladesh

Source: Press Release

Seva and Grameen Bank are launching an unprecedented initiative to build a network of eye hospitals in Bangladesh, one of the world's poorest countries where more than 650,000 people suffer from preventable blindness. In 2006, Seva staff and our partners from Aravind Eye Care Systems in India met with Yunus at Grameen headquarters in Bangladesh to further develop plans for what will be the largest single undertaking of its kind. "Basically, we'll be taking our proven model ...
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009 — Latin America

Qualcomm Backs Game Console for the "Next Billion"

Source: Associated Press

A startup called Zeebo Inc. is betting that people in emerging markets want to play good video games just as much as people in the U.S., Western Europe and Japan do. Zeebo plans to launch its "video game console for the next billion" in Brazil next month for $199 and in other countries later this year for $179. It was developed using the cell phone technology of Qualcomm Inc., the San Diego company best known for its mobile phone chips. The Zeebo unit is light, and a lit...
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009 — No Region Specified

ANDE Pushes Investment in Developing Countries

Source: Press Release

LONDON – A group of major philanthropic foundations today announced the launch of a new economic development network that would increase investment and business assistance for entrepreneurs and small and growing businesses in the developing world. Supporters of the new effort said they planned to eventually achieve the same level of lending and support for small and growing businesses that has been generated as a result of microfinance. Based in Washington, D.C. at the Aspen ...
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009 — South Asia

Nano Marks the Beginning of "Indian Century"

Source: DNA News

Even Tata Motors' competitors are all praise for the nano. "It reflects India's maturity in different fields," says P Balendran, vice-president, General Motors India. "Other countries and multinational corporations, who did not look at India seriously as an innovation destination, will view us in a different perspective." Advocates of the 'fortune at the bottom of the pyramid' theory see it as a vindication of their views. "If you have a very large population which ...
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Monday, March 23, 2009 — Latin America

Unveiling Latin America's economic success

Source: Knowledge@INSEAD

A lot of attention has been focused on the remarkable economic success of China, India and other Asian countries. So much so that the rise of Latin American companies as major players on the international economic scene has almost gone unnoticed. “Latin American companies have fallen through the cracks,” says Lourdes Casanova, a lecturer in strategy at INSEAD and author of Global Latinas: Latin America’s emerging multinationals. “While other emerging m...
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Monday, March 23, 2009 — No Region Specified

WDI Scholars Target Innovation, Healthcare

Source: Press Release

New initiatives target emerging markets, technologies, public policy. ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The William Davidson Institute (WDI) recently announced two appointments to launch new research initiatives that address significant global issues: the effective commercialization of "green leap" technologies for sustainability and the effective delivery of healthcare. Stuart Hart , the S.C. Johnson Chair of Sustainable Global Enterprise and professor of management...
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Sunday, March 22, 2009 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Why Foreign Aid is Hurting Africa

Source: The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal -- ...
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Friday, March 20, 2009 — South Asia

Unleasing the Spirit of Enterprise

Source: Hindu Business Line

A fundamental characteristic of entrepreneurship is its capacity to generate employment, offer the promise of more income, and increase wealth. By doing so, it plays a pivotal part in providing individuals a platform from where they can aspire to a life in which their potential is realised. Over time, much of the developed world has risen to the challenge of crafting just such a platform, and the business corporation as we know it today is a critical component of this idea of advancemen...
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Thursday, March 19, 2009 — No Region Specified

VisionSpring Founder Jordan Kassalow Wins Skoll Award

Source: Press Release

The Skoll Foundation recently announced that VisionSpring is one of seven organizations to receive a three-year grant of $765,000 and join the growing global network of Skoll social entrepreneurs who are tackling the world's most critical social and economic challenges. The Skoll Foundation was created in 1999 by eBay's first president, Jeff Skoll, to promote his vision of a more peaceful and prosperous world. The Skoll Awards program provides social entrepreneurs who have already ach...
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Thursday, March 19, 2009 — No Region Specified

You Can Save the Planet

Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch

We are drowning. And not just in credit card bills and tuition payments. We are drowning in false choices. We are told that we must choose between making money and making a difference, that it is not possible to harness our strengths, embrace our passions, and have a career at the same time. We've been misled, misinformed, and we're now anxious about the future. But crisis -- both economic and planetary -- creates opportunity. Whatever you think about your career...
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Friday, March 13, 2009 — No Region Specified

A Social Solution, Without Going the Nonprofit Route

Source: The New York Times

It used to be that people who wanted to solve a social problem - like lack of access to clean water or inadequate housing for the poor - created a charity. Today, many start a company instead. D.light, a company cofounded by Sam Goldman, who spent four years in the Peace Corps in Benin before earning a master's degree in ...
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Friday, March 13, 2009 — Latin America

Root Capital Director Explains His Company?s Lending Role

Source: The Cornell Daily Sun

Financing typically comes in two sizes for businesses: very large or very small. Large-scale financing caters to the needs of large businesses, while small-scale financing answers the needs of tiny enterprises. In a manner reminiscent of Goldilocks' perfect fit, Root Capital - a nonprofit social investment fund based in Cambridge, Mass. - aims to provide much-needed capital to help such medium-sized businesses grow. Last night, students and faculty alike gathered in the Plant Scienc...
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009 — No Region Specified

Forgotten Victims of the Global Downturn in the Developing World

Source: Financial Times

At a recent private brainstorming session at United Nations headquarters in New York, Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general, heard a uniformly grim assessment of the devastating impact the global financial crisis will have on the developing world. What began as an economic crisis was in danger of turning into a social, humanitarian, political and security meltdown that could spin out of control in the most vulnerable regions, his experts told him. The message they want him to take to...
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Thursday, March 5, 2009 — South Asia

Aravind Eye Care System among the World's 50 Most Innovative Companies

Source: Fast Company Magazine

In a 33-year quest to end blindness in India, Aravind has developed everything from cheaper intraocular lenses to a 20-minute cataract surgery that allows high volume at lower cost. ...
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Thursday, March 5, 2009 — No Region Specified

How Innovations from Developing Nations Trickle-Up to the West

Source: Fast Company Magazine

By Michael Fitzgerald A funny thing has happened on the way to globalization: Innovation now trickles up from emerging to advanced economies. And it may be the way of the future. We know how innovation works. We get iPhones; those less fortunate overseas get whatever we dropped in the recycling bin on our way out of the Apple Store. We get Gore-Tex; they get 2007 New England Patriots 19-0 T-shirts. We get the Wii; they play rock-...
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