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
Wednesday, April 28, 2010 — South Asia

Entrepreneur Who Wanted to Gift Obama a Rickshaw

Source: Rediff Business

Nicknamed 'Business Baazigar', a successful entrepreneur from Bihar is disappointed that he could not gift his innovative 'rickshaw' to US President Barack Obama who invited him to the entrepreneur summit here attended by over 250 entrepreneurs from more than 50 countries. "I could not bring the rickshaw for the US President because of logistics problem," a disappointed Irfan Alam told PTI at a reception hosted by Indian Em...
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Wednesday, April 28, 2010 — No Region Specified

Clinton Says Intel, Coca-Cola Will Assist Muslim Entrepreneurs

Source: Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced initiatives to create ties between U.S. companies and entrepreneurs in Muslim-majority countries, steps she linked today to social gains and improved relations with their people. Clinton described mentoring backed by New York-based Ernst & Young LLP and Intel Corp. of Santa Clara, California, a global entrepreneurship program, a Silicon Valley effort to fund start- up companies, and a collaborati...
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010 — Latin America

Microlender Responds Nimbly in Haiti

Source: Globe and Mail

One evening in late January, an armoured car carrying $2-million in U.S. cash packed into non-descript office supply boxes rolled onto an Air Force base in Miami. With the White House's approval, the boxes were loaded on to a C-17 transport plane, which touched down with the load in darkened Port-au-Prince around 3 a.m. A pair of Black Hawk helicopters took over from there, flying in formation to deposit the cash at 10 drop sites spread acr...
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010 — South Asia

US Builds New Partnerships with Pakistan for Microentrepreneurs

Source: Dawn

WASHINGTON: Pakistan is among those selected Muslim nations where the United States is building 13 new partnerships to advance entrepreneurship and economic growth, US Agency for International Development said on Monday. In Pakistan, USAID is working through local organisations to assist 1...
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Thursday, April 22, 2010 — No Region Specified

Op Ed: A New Initiative to Feed the World

Source: Wall Street Journal

By TIMOTHY GEITHNER AND BILL GATES A year ago the world came together in a powerful and coordinated effort to restore the ...
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010 — No Region Specified

New Microfinance Venture Fights Poverty with Clean Energy

Source: Huffington Post

Renewable energy and microfinance are among the hottest buzzwords of the past few years. Now, Australian entrepreneur Hugh Whalan and New York energy specialist Scott Tudman are bringing the two together in Energy In Common , a new venture with the ambitious goal of delivering clean energy to 15 million people in five years, all the while fighting poverty by empowering developing world entrepr...
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Monday, April 19, 2010 — No Region Specified

Leapfrog to Invest $5-15M in Micro-Insurance

Source: LiveMint

LeapFrog Investments, a Mauritius-based fund that invests in microfinance institutions (MFIs) offering insurance to the poor, is looking to deploy around $40 million (Rs178.4 crore) from its $110-million global fund in India. LeapFrog, whose investors include Soros Economic Development Fund set up by investor George Soros, the World Bank's investment arm International Finance Corp. and Omidyar Network run by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, is looking at re...
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Monday, April 19, 2010 — South Asia

India Has More Mobile Phones than Toilets: UN Report

Source: The Telegraph

India's mobile subscribers totalled 563.73 million at the last count, enough to serve nearly half of the country's 1.2 billion population. But just 366 million people - around a third of the population - had access to proper sanitation in 2008, said the study published by the United Nations University, a UN think-tank. "It is a tragic irony to think in India, a country now wealthy enough that roughly half of the people own p...
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Monday, April 19, 2010 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Private Equity in Africa: The Final Frontier

Source: African Business Review

Leaving Cairo in November 2009 after the annual African Venture Capital Association conference, the resounding sentiment was that the African continent held significant potential and opportunity. This was evident from the numbers and the diversity of participants who had traversed the continent and Europe to attend. The excitement was palpable - Africa was the final frontier where highly attractive returns can still be achieved. Rep...
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Monday, April 19, 2010 — South Asia

Women Farmers Have No Say in Marketing, Sale of Produce

Source: Indian Express

Women carry out about 70 per cent of the agricultural activities in ...
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Monday, April 19, 2010 — No Region Specified

Social Schemes Help Firms Find Fortune at Bottom of Pyramid

Source: Economic Times

NEW DELHI: Believe it or not! Cars and SUVs are riding high on the government's inclusive growth initiatives. Schemes such as rural job guarantee, farmers' loan waiver, higher support prices for farm products and rural infrastructure development have triggered a boost in sales of cars, utility vehicles and two-wheelers, say bankers and carmakers. Directly and indirectly. While loan waiver and higher procureme...
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Thursday, April 8, 2010 — No Region Specified

Twenty-Three Social Entrepreneurs Chosen for Global Social Benefit Incubator

Source: BusinessWire

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - (Business Wire) Nearly two dozen social ventures with missions like providing biofuel to Tanzanian farmers, turning pine needles into cooking gas in India, and providing cell phones to Sub-Saharan Africans, have been chosen to join Santa Clara University's eighth annual Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI TM ). GSBI is a fully funded, 12-month program of online learning and mentoring, including a two-week in-residence summer "boot camp" on Santa Clar...
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Thursday, April 8, 2010 — South Asia

Exim Bank to Facilitate Technology Imports from USA for SMEs

Source: Business Standard

In a bid to enable the MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) to import technology and equipment from USA, the Export Import (Exim) Bank of India has signed a Master Guarantee Agreement with the Exim Bank of USA. T V Rao, director (Eximius centre) of Exim Bank of India, said, "Exim Bank of India caters to the requirement of the MSMEs in multiple ways by facilitating them to move up the value chain and to make them internationally competitive. We have signed a Master Guarantee Agree...
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Thursday, April 8, 2010 — No Region Specified

Gates Foundation's Ignacio Mas On eFinance in the Developing World

Source: Huffington Post

Ignacio Mas, Deputy Director of the Financial Services for the Poor Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, took time off from his hectic schedule at the recent GSM Alliance Congress in Madrid to speak to me over coffee. Ignacio was one of the primary repre...
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Tuesday, April 6, 2010 — South Asia

Matrix Partners Buys 18% in Basix's Microfinance Arm


Private equity investors interest in microfinance institutions seems to be growing. The Hyderabad based microfinance institution Basix has raised around Rs 118 crore for its flagship company Bhartiya Samruddhi Finance. Private equity investors like Matrix Partners have put in Rs 100 crore. After this equity raising, Matrix Partners becomes the largest institutional shareholder with 18% stake in the company. Other investors include Hivos Triodos...
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Tuesday, April 6, 2010 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa's Banking Laws Shut Out the Poor - Yunus

Source: Reuters

Lack of microcredit laws in many African countries is denying millions of the continent's poor access to loans, a Nobel Prize winner Mohammad Yunus, said on Tuesday. Yunus, who won a Nobel Prize in 2006 for championing Microcredit, tiny loans to the poor in Bangladesh, is now pioneering an idea he calls "social business" as a way to fight poverty around the world -- business not for profit but to solve social problems. "To create a new kind of bank, which works with ...
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Monday, April 5, 2010 — South Asia

Potential for Mobile Money in Bangladesh Lies Among the Poor

Source: United News of Bangladesh

(Source: United News of Bangladesh) Dhaka, April 3 -- The true potential for mobile money in Bangladesh lies among the poor, reveals a research by LIRNEasia, an Asia Pacific think tank on telecom policy and regulation. LIRNEasia researcher Dr. Erwin Alampay, who led the ...
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Monday, April 5, 2010 — No Region Specified

Corporate-Microfinance Partnerships & the Development of Value Chains

Source: Microfinance Focus

No description provided
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Monday, April 5, 2010 — South Asia

From B-School to Dusty Rural Roads - Rural Retail Network

Source: Business Standard

What do you expect two young investment bankers, pursuing an MBA from London Business School (LBS), to discuss when they meet? Deals or investment banking. When Gaurav Mehta andAnkit Agarwal met at LBS in the summer of 2008, they spent most of their time discussing rural India, and how they could create a business out of it. They had a rural connection. Mehta, born in Germany, has been helping Pratham, India's largest NGO, raise funds and a...
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Friday, April 2, 2010 — Asia Pacific

Malaysia: Government Programs to Boost SME Sector

Source: The Star

THE New Economic Model (NEM) unveiled by the Government will take into consideration the needs of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and micro-enterprises which form up to 40% of income earners. This group comprises those in the rural and urban population who are unregistered as SMEs. They have low or no business skills and are unaware of aid, training and financing schemes available to them, which further marginalises them in society. T...
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Friday, April 2, 2010 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa Has 27 Million More People in Poverty Following Crisis

Source: BsuinessWeek

March 30 (Bloomberg) -- The global economic crisis pushed 27 million more people into poverty in Africa, putting the continent in a "precarious situation," the African Union said. The proportion of African workers earning less than $2 a day probably increased to 86.6 percent in 2009 from 82.2 percent in 2007, the AU said today in its Economic Report on Africa, a publication authored jointly with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa...
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Friday, April 2, 2010 — No Region Specified

MIT?s NextLab: Technology for the Next Billion Mobile Phone Owners


Fighting illiteracy in Indian villages; facilitating local health reporting in Mexico; creating a mobile logistics app for truck drivers in Colombia. These may sound like projects run by a big non-governmental organization like the United Nations Development Program, but in fact they are three examples of ...
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Friday, April 2, 2010 — South Asia

India?s Big Chance

Source: Hindustan Times

A visitor from Spain asked me, "How can a country with dreams of glory be so much at peace with itself in ignoring those who are falling off the edge?" I didn't tell him the ratio of poor Indians, as currently measured, has fallen from 52 per cent to 28 per cent in 30 years. I didn't tell him that prosperity might, eventually, trickle to the base of our 1.1 billion-strong pyramid. First, there are worrying indications...
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