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Friday, October 29, 2010 — South Asia

Bureaucrats Fight Back in Battle to Help the Poor

Source: The Wall Street Journal - India RealTime

Some microlenders and analysts in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh say that the backlash against the microlending industry is being partly fueled by branches of government that have not been as successful as the private sector at helping the poor. Even N. Chandr...
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Friday, October 29, 2010 — No Region Specified

Ignia Fund Invests $3.1 Million in BoP Phone Firm

Source: Kansas City Star

Ignia Fund I has invested MXN 38.1 million (USD 3.1 million) in Mexican public telephony operator Servicios Caseteros S.A.P.I. de C.V. (Barafon) to low income populations in Mexico through a network of independently owned micro-businesses. With funding from Ignia, Barafon will expand its network of micro-businesses, while developing additional products and services that are economically and socially beneficial to the base of the socioeconomic pyramid. Barafon has over 600 phone booths in four...
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010 — South Asia

SKS Microfinance Cuts Lending Rates

Source: The Wall Street Journal

MUMBAI - Indian microlender SKS Microfinance Ltd. Wednesday cut its lending rates to 24.55% on a reducing balance from 26.69% earlier in the southern Indian province of Andhra Pradesh, its spokesperson said. "Earlier in the month, our chairman (Vikram Akula) said that if the government and the central bank wants us to cut rates, we'll be happy to do so," Atul Takle told Dow Jones Newswires. ...
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010 — No Region Specified

Lok Capital Makes First Close Of Second Fund At $52 Million

Source: VCCircle

Lok Capital , a venture capital firm focused on the bottom of the pyramid (BoP) market, has made a first close of $52 million for its second fund. CDC Group, the UK government-backed fund of funds, has joined in as the backer with a $10-million investment in Lok Capital II. The fund, which focuses on microfinance besides other BoP opportunities, is targeting $80 million. CDC said, in a statement, tha...
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Monday, October 25, 2010 — No Region Specified

India's Pharma Industry Set to Quadruple by 2020

Source: Business Standard

The Indian pharmaceuticals market looks poised to grow to $55 billion in 2020, according to a new McKinsey & Company report - "India Pharma 2020: Propelling access and acceptance, realising true potential". This will be a quadrupling of the market from the $12.6 billion the industry made in 2009. The report states that the pharma market has the further potential to reach $70 billion by 2020 if aggressive growth efforts are embraced. ... Affordability will result in half ...
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Monday, October 25, 2010 — No Region Specified

Up to 60% of Water Wells in Developing World Don't Work

Source: Treehugger.com

There were more than a few folks critical of standard NGO and conservation group practices at this year's Poptech conference . For instance, Ned Breslin, the CEO of Water for People, tells reports from the field show that as many as 60% of the wells installed in ...
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Thursday, October 21, 2010 — No Region Specified

Exit Strategies for Social Entrepreneurs

Source: Inc.

On Tuesday, my husband's company, NetSpend , finally had its IPO . After more than ten years of anticipation, the day came and went surprisingly unceremoniously, culminating not with champagne and a feast but with a frightfully suburban dinner of spaghetti and me...
Thursday, October 21, 2010 — No Region Specified

The D.I.Y Foreign Aid Revolution

Source: The New York Times

Like so many highly trained young women these days, Elizabeth Scharpf has choices. She could be working in a Manhattan office tower with her Harvard Business School classmates, soaring through the ranks as a banker or business executive and aspiring to become a senator or a C.E.O. someday. After all, there's no question that women around the world enjoy opportunities that simply didn't exist a few decades ago. Yet the women exertin...
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Thursday, October 21, 2010 — No Region Specified

Indian Rural Network to Get $3.4 Billion Investment

Source: ZD Net

Sam Pitroda, speaking at the Institute of Studies, Singapore gave a brief roadmap of the project. Connecting villages through internet and telephony will bolster India's infrastructure and provide the much needed bridge between technology and users. According to Sam Pitroda the investment for the project will come from the $1.3 Billion collected from private telecom operators and the accumulated amount of $5 Billion as part of the Universal...
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010 — No Region Specified

Bringing Clean Light to Poor Nations and Moving Beyond Charity

Source: The New York Times

A child killed in Benin. A dormitory burned to the ground in Tanzania. Countless men and woman across Asia, Africa and elsewhere suffering -- and some dying -- from respiratory ailments. The poorest people on the planet together spent almost $40 billion last year on kerosene a...
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Friday, October 15, 2010 — South Asia

New Rules in India Sink SKS Shares

Source: The Wall Street Journal

MUMBAI-Shares of SKS Microfinance Ltd., one of the world's largest microloan companies in terms of borrowers, tumbled on Friday after the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh created new restrictions on the microfinance industry in reaction to a recent string of suicides by borrowers. SKS and many of India's biggest microlenders are based in Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh. The state is planning to adopt new rules to govern ...
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Thursday, October 14, 2010 — No Region Specified

Are Social Entrepreneurs Crazy?

Source: The Washington Post

Social entrepreneurs have never been in greater demand, as the world grinds on with tired solutions to seemingly intractable problems such as hunger, poverty, war, inequality and disease. And in theory, social entrepreneurs bring new ideas that challenge the prevailing wisdom that these problems are intractable at all. They are front and center in developing countries, with new vaccines to combat disease, water pumps to irrigate crops and micro...
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Thursday, October 14, 2010 — No Region Specified

?Impact Investing? Teeters on Edge of Explosive Growth

Source: The New York Times

Conferences can be a good indicator of the health of an industry, and by that measure the emerging sector of "social entrepreneurship" appears to be booming. The third annual SOCAP conference last week in San Francisco drew more than 1,300 people paying as much as $1,395 a ticket, and you could feel the energy among the amalgam of philanthropists, foundations, investors and idealistic entrepreneurs. The idea that it's possible to marry hard-nosed capitalism and bleeding-heart causes...
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010 — Latin America

IGNIA Fund Invests MX$38.1 million in Barafon, a BoP Public Telecommunications Provider

Source:

MONTERREY, Mexico , Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- IGNIA Fund I, LP, the first impact investing fund in Latin America , announced today that it has invested MX$38.1 million ( US$3.1 million ) in Servicios Caseteros S.A.P.I. de C.V. ("Barafon"), a provider of public telephony and related services to low income populations in Mexico through a networ...
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010 — No Region Specified

mWomen Launches BoP Mobile Application Challenge

Source:

The GSMA’s mWomen Program today launched its ‘Base of the Pyramid (BOP) App Challenge’ which aims to encourage the development of original apps targeted at the specific needs of women in developing countries living on under US$2 a day. Sponsored by Vodafone, the app challenge is focused on both low-end devices (or feature phones) as well as smartphones. Developers have until December 7 to submit their apps, with the winners announced at the GSMA Mobile World Congress n...
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010 — South Asia

FINO and NCR Launch Remittance Kiosks in India

Source:

Financial Inclusion Network & Operations (FINO), one of India’s leading Financial Inclusion service provider and NCR Corporation, a global technology company today announced the launch of an added functionality of remittance service to the FINO NCR EasyPoint 70 – &lsqu...
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010 — No Region Specified

Ugandan wins Base of Pyramid Mobile Communications Award

Source:

Mr Alex Nyika, a Ugandan software developer based in Kenya, on Monday scooped the top prize at one of Europe’s most prestigious mobile communication innovation awards. Mr Nyika, the chief executive Xrystalgenius , a Nairobi-based mobile startup, won the Base of the Pyramid award at the 2010 Mobile Monday Peer Awards that took place in Helsinki, Finland. Five finalists including United States-based Super Technologies, which emerged runner up in the category competed...
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010 — No Region Specified

Eko India Financial Services Reaches Out to Unbanked Indians

Source:

W hen will everyone in India have a bank account? It is difficult to answer that, but Eko India Financial Services has taken up this challenge to reach out banking services to 40 per cent of the un-banked population in India. Eko helps anyone who owns a cellphone to do banking transactions in just a few seconds. Launched by Abhishek Sinha, the company helps the poor in wealth creation by saving as little as Rs 10. ...
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010 — No Region Specified

Creating a New Asset Class for Social Entrepreneurs

Source: Inc.

The big question at this year's Social Capital Markets conference was this: How can we unlock more investment capital for social entrepreneurs? Kevin Jones and the folks at Good Capital, the founders and conveners of "SoCap" (as it is known among its followers), believe that the pressing need in the field is to make large volumes of capital available to world-changing entrepreneurs. ...
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Monday, October 11, 2010 — No Region Specified

Zidisha Forges a Path in Microfinance Industry

Source: The Washington Post

In the ever-growing universe of microfinance lenders, Julia Kurnia, the 26-year-old founder of peer-to-peer lending Web site Zidisha.org, believes she has found a niche. The Sterling resident has zeroed in on educated entrepreneurs in developing countries. Since Zidisha, which means "to grow" in Swahili, went live in January 2009, Kurnia has facilitated more than $16,600 in loans from 80 lenders for 30 low-income start-ups in Kenya and Senegal, while maintaining a 100 percent repay...
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Friday, October 08, 2010 — No Region Specified

Michigan's Ross Business School Launches Social Venture Fund

Source:

Action-based initiative aligns with new courses to place impact investing at the forefront of entrepreneurial education. Ann Arbor, Mich. — Marshalling an increasing student interest in the social-impact investment space, the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Ross School of Business recently launched the Social Venture Fund (...
Thursday, October 07, 2010 — South Asia

Gillette's Latest Innovation in Razors: the 11-Cent Blade

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Gillette's newest shaving system has just one blade, a light plastic handle and a sharply lower price. And it isn't available in the U.S. The Gillette Guard, the latest razor from the Procter & Gamble Co. unit, instead will begin hitting stores in India next week. The move by the maker of five-bladed, battery-powered gizmos reflects P&G's aggressive push into emerging markets for new customers and growth. Tha...
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Wednesday, October 06, 2010 — No Region Specified

Khosla, Sun Co-Founder, Uses Capitalism to Help Poor

Source: The New York Times

MUMBAI, India - Vinod Khosla, the billionaire venture capitalist and co-founder of Sun Microsystems, was already among the world's richest men when he invested a few years ago in SKS Microfinance, a lender to poor women in India. But the roaring success of SKS's recent initial public stock offering in Mumbai has made him richer by about $117 million - money he says he plans to plow back into other ven...
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Tuesday, October 05, 2010 — No Region Specified

Deadline for NCIIA's Sustainable Vision Grants Program is Oct. 15

Source: National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance

There's still time to submit entries to the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance . The deadline is October 15, 2010 These grants of up to $50,000 support university faculty and students who are developing breakthrough technologies created and commercialized for people living in poverty. The NCIIA is looking for technology innovations that address basic human needs such ...
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Tuesday, October 05, 2010 — No Region Specified

SKS Book Says Founder Once Considered Bankruptcy

Source: The Wall Street Journal India

While, Vikram Akula, founder and chairman of SKS Microfinance, may be worth millions today, not too long ago he almost declared personal bankruptcy. The man that built India's largest micro-loan empire was struggling with a $45,000 mountain in credit-card debt in 2004, more than his annual salary at the time. The unexpected expenses of launching the company as well as the cost of a drawn out divorce in the U.S. had left him with more debt t...
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Monday, October 04, 2010 — No Region Specified

Want to Help Developing Countries? Sell Them Good Stuff ? Cheap

Source: Wired Magazine

The Tata Group, India’s version of Acme and maker of the supercheap Nano automobile, recently introduced a $22 water purifier that works without electricity or running water. (Every few months it needs a new $6 filter.) A big-hearted, philanthropic, and important effort? You bet—cue the somber stats about preventable waterborne diseases. But check out the size of the market for a product like that: Some 900 million people worldwide lack access to clean water, 200 mil...
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