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Tuesday, December 27, 2011 — No Region Specified

More Corporate Companies Should Adopt Social Enterprise Ethos

Source: The Guardian

Recent political and financial events have seen businesses retrench, dig in and attempt to ride out the storm. To many, this suggests that the corporate world is being indifferent to its social responsibility. Community projects are being curtailed and cash donations to charities drying up. The impact can only be detrimental. As austerity measures deepen, are big businesses unwittingly contributing to social injustice? If so, who will fill the gap they are leaving? In the UK, soci...
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Thursday, December 22, 2011 — No Region Specified

Case studies: investing in bottom of pyramid

Source: Financial Times

Dfid's role models for its new private sector approach in India include the US-based Acumen Fund, part of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs, the US Rockefeller Foundation and Mumbai-based Aavishkaar Investment. Samridhi Dfid has chosen the Small Industries Development Bank for India to channel investments to small enterprises, in its first private sector development programme in India. ...
TAGS:jobs
Wednesday, December 21, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Ethiopia Invests in Farmers to Achieve Country's Middle-income Ambitions

Source: The Guardian

Fields of red sorghum in terraced fields that stretch into the distance are a common sight in the scenic mountains of eastern Ethiopia , giving a misleading impression of bountiful harvests despite this year's drought in the east Africa . Farmers tie five or more tall sorghum stalks...
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011 — No Region Specified

Social Business: A More Sustainable Way to Help in Haiti?

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Children dressed in school uniforms sit in rows listening to one of their classmates sing a song while snacks are passed around. Two years ago, before a devastating earthquake struck the island, they were in a different location in a building that has since been demolished on a nearby plot of land here in Léogâne, Haiti. Now these youngsters and their families are getting another chance with the help of an innovative antipoverty effort that combines business tactics with so...
Tuesday, December 20, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

ICT Vital in War Against Poverty

Source: allAfrica.com

THE application of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in gathering, analysing and disseminating market information to businesses and agricultural producers has been cited as a significant strategy in poverty reduction. The Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Marketing, Dr Shaban Mwinjaka, made the remark in Dar es Salaam over the weekend while opening a stakeholders' meeting on Management Information Systems (MIS) Strategy, operational Framework...
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The Sticky Challenge Facing Africa

Source: The Guardian

As the food crisis in the Horn of Africa continues, so do the campaigns asking for support and donations. Some of the money raised goes on the purchase of ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTFs), small packets of a sticky, peanut butter-like paste, fortified with minerals and vitamins, that can reverse severe malnutrition within six weeks. Products such as Pl...
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Monday, December 19, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Microfinance Banks to Construct 500 Houses

Source: Vanguard

Microfinance Banks in Lagos, under the auspices of the National Association of Microfinance Banks, Lagos State Chapter, NAMBLAG, have pledged to undertake a micro-housing project that will see them catering for the housing needs of a vast majority of the low income earners in the society. Chairman of the Association, Mr. Olufemi Babajide, in his address to members in the report for the 2010 financial year, said the association plans to build 500 houses for the active poor with flexible ...
Monday, December 19, 2011 — South Asia

Majority of Indian MFIs May Have to Shut Shop

Source: livemint.com

Mumbai: At least 80% of microfinance institutions (MFIs) may have to shut down in the next two-three years because of tough new regulatory requirements laid down by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and a shortage of funds, industry executives warn. For MFIs categorized as non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), which are run as for-profit organizations, the threat comes from RBI regulations pertaining to minimum funds, loan provisions and capital adequacy. The reluctance of commercial b...
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Monday, December 19, 2011 — South Asia

?More Poor People Own Mobile Phones, But Productive Use Still a Far Cry'

Source: Business Line

NEW DELHI, DEC. 19: Hamid owns a grocery shack in a village. He travels about 80 km once in 15 days to get stuff to stock up his store. Every year his village gets flooded during the rains, leaving him with no earnings during that time. But, one, small device has changed his life. After he got a mobile phone, Hamid does not need to travel 80 km and lug stuff for his store. He simply calls, places the order and gets stuff delivered. It costs him a bit for the cartage, but the...
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Friday, December 16, 2011 — No Region Specified

Google Joins Seattle Angels to Bankroll Vittana

Source: GeekWire

Vittana , the Seattle non-profit that's facilitating micro-loans to students in developing countries, has received a $250,000 grant from Google. Others backing the organization include entrepreneurs Hadi and Ali Partovi; former Microsoft VP Mike Murray; Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman; BuddyTV co-founder Andy Liu; Founder's Co-op's Chris DeVore; TeachStreet CEO Dave Schappell and others. Vittana founder Kushal Chakrabarti - a f...
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Friday, December 16, 2011 — No Region Specified

Social Entrepreneurs: Gary Hattem and Asad Mahmood

Source: The Deal Magazine

When Gary Hattem and Asad Mahmood of Deutsche Bank AG closed the $15 million Eye Fund I in 2010, they completed what had become a more than five-year endeavor. "When it started, the problems were conceptual. People were not ready for it," says Mahmood, a managing director who oversees $500 million in loans and investments. "The common perception was that bringing debt into hospitals that are serving the poo...
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Friday, December 16, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile Banking to Transform Nigeria's Economy, says GT Bank Boss

Source: This Day Live

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTBank), Mr. Segun Agbaje said Wednesday that the introduction of the mobile money- a mobile payment and remittance services, into the country would bring about positive transformation of payment system in the economy. Agbaje said this at the official launch of the bank's mobile money product, in partnership with MTN. He explained that the innovation was as a prompt step towards financial...
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Thursday, December 15, 2011 — No Region Specified

Why a New 'Avatar' of Innovation is Necessary in Emerging Economies

Source: Forbes

In the past stripped down versions of products designed for developed economies were positioned as a low cost and cheap alternative in the emerging markets. This will no longer be a successful strategy. This bitter truth has been realized by many global vendors servicing the developing economies. I can vouch for this fact as I live in an emerging market (India) and understand the nuances of these developing countries. Today's mantra is to carry out focused R&D efforts targeted a...
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Thursday, December 15, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Ending Africa's Hungry Season: How Family Farms Are Driving Development

Source: GOOD

In rural sub-Saharan Africa, most people are farmers, and for part of the year, they go hungry. It's called the hungry season. I encountered it when I lived in a farming community in Malawi for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer. Families in my village subsisted off of the maize and beans that they harvested, but there was only one growing season, and making stocks last an entire year was difficult. Imagine growing all of your family's food for an entire year using just a hoe,...
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Thursday, December 15, 2011 — No Region Specified

New Legal Structures for 'Social Entrepreneurs'

Source: The Wall Street Journal

You may have noticed the emerging class of "social entrepreneurs" who are creating companies that seek profit but also are devoted to a social purpose, to create long term, sustainable value. But, until recently, social entrepreneurs would find themselves in the position of choosing whether to organize either as a for-profit company or a nonprofit organization. The problem was that sometimes a company would be too much of a business to be a nonprofit. Yet, it also might be too mission-d...
Wednesday, December 14, 2011 — No Region Specified

Samasource, Inveneo Included in Google $40M Grants

Source: MercuryNews.com

In its biggest single-day contribution ever, Google ( GOOG ) on Wednesday announced it has handed out $40 million to battle slavery, promote education and make technology more accessible worldwide, with nearly a fourth of the money going to Bay Area organizations. "The causes we are supporting are issues we've been committed...
Wednesday, December 14, 2011 — South Asia

Could Thinking Small Be The Next Big Thing in Agricultural Development?

Source: The Guardian

In India, every street corner has small shops displaying colourful strips of 1 rupee (about 1p) shampoo sachets, or stacks of mini soap bars. Creative marketing has even brought these sachets to isolated villages, draped on the back of camels. Hindustan Unilever was behind this "adapting to the poor" approach. Realising their soaps and shampoos were too expensive for poor people, they repackaged them into small, affordable sachets. These were initially sold door-to-door by "shakti ladie...
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011 — South Asia

A New Beginning for Microfinance in India?

Source: The Wall Street Journal

A new report on India's microfinance industry says that the troubles in Andhra Pradesh have been "one of the best things that could have happened to the sector." Really? Looking back at a year of microfinance in India, words like "crisis," "collapse" and "catastrophe" seem more fitting - and it all started in Andhra Pradesh, a state that used to be India's microfinance hub. The decision by the local government to clamp down on collection practices last year spiraled into a crisi...
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011 — South Asia

Waterlife Gets $4.2 Million Investment from Matrix Partners India

Source: Business Line

Waterlife India Private Ltd (Waterlife) has announced that it has received Rs 22 crore investment from Matrix Partners India. The company provides quality potable water solutions. The Hyderabad-based company has installed safe water systems in more than 1,500 villages and urban areas covering more than a million people in a sustainable manner, a release said. Intellecap was the sole advisor for this transaction. The capital infusion would help Waterlife to expand. Having sta...
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

How to Make It in Africa? Unilever Listens to the Consumer

Source: How We Made It In Africa

"There is a growing realisation that the future of Africa is based around a consumer rather than mining. This is a consumer that has been under-served and over-charged," said Frank Braeken, Unilever executive vice-president for Africa at the High Growth Markets Summit at the end of September 2011. But Braeken pointed out that consumers in Ghana spend just one fifth ...
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011 — South Asia

IFC Works with Intellecash

Source: IIFL

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is partnering with IntelleCash to help start-up microfinance institutions in low-income states of India respond better to the needs of their customers, promoting responsible microfinance while providing better client protection. IntelleCash is the first initiative in India to apply the principles of business franchising to the microfinance sector. Through the IntelleCash Network Program, it helps microfinance institutions get started and...
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Monday, December 12, 2011 — No Region Specified

McKinsey Announces Winners in Social Innovation Video Contest

Source: McKinsey & Company

Embrace A one minute video about Embrace, a social enterprise that aims to help millions of vulnerable babies through a low cost infant warmer. Unlike traditional incubators that cost up to $20,000, the Embrace Infant Warmer costs less than 1% of this price. The device can work with or without electricity, has no moving parts, is portable and is safe and intuitive to use. You can fin...
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Monday, December 12, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa Beckons as the Next Pot of Gold for the Cellphone Telecoms Industry

Source: Taipei Times

Africa's lag in land-based telecoms infrastructure has propelled the continent directly into the mobile age, opening up unparalleled short-term growth prospects. Sector players have seen growth especially in mobile Internet and banking services, as people use cellphone technology for lack of landlines or cable Internet. "Africa is the last market to emerge. China's emerged, India's emerged. So where else outside Africa needs emerging? The growth opportunity is right he...
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Monday, December 12, 2011 — No Region Specified

Wise Ethical Investment Seeks Profit

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Like motherhood and apple pie, socially responsible investment warms most people's hearts. But during a two-year cycle trip across Africa, Swiss investment banker Klaus Tischhauser realized the SRI industry was failing in a key challenge-fighting poverty. Ten years on, the grassroots style of social investing he helped pioneer is wooing many wealthy investors The rich are different, and not just because they have more money. Wealthy individuals often have a wider sense of responsibi...
Friday, December 9, 2011 — No Region Specified

Eyes Down for a More Revealing Insight into Economic Development

Source: Guardian.co.uk

A group of people had just disrupted a baseball game by running naked across the field. After the disturbance, legendary player Yogi Berra was asked whether they were men or women. He replied: "I don't know. They had bags over their heads." That story illustrates what is perhaps the biggest issue in development economics today: the inability of many researchers to look in the right place when searching for answers. I have just returned from east Africa, where change is stimulating t...
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Friday, December 9, 2011 — Europe & Eurasia

Global Microcredit Summit 2011 Report

Source: Microfinance Focus

Monday, November 14th 2011 saw the culmination of several years of delicate preparation in a packed conference centre in Valladolid, Spain. The fifth Global Microcredit Summit (held every few years - with regional conferences in between) kicked off in the magnificent Centro Cultural Miguel Delibes, with an opening ceremony full of music, pomp, and a great deal of gratitude - in the particular direction of Sam Daley-Harris, the outgoing Director of the Microcredit Summit Campaign. Queen ...
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Friday, December 9, 2011 — Asia Pacific

IFC Stakes 18.9% Equity in ACCION

Source: Vanguard

ACCION International, parent company of Accion Nigeria and a pioneer in global microfinance, has signed an agreement with IFC, a member of the World Bank Group focused exclusively on the private sector, in which IFC will invest approximately $1 million in ACCION's Chinese affiliate, ACCION Microfinance China (AMC). The investment will enable ACCION to strengthen the operations of AMC, which it launched in December 2009 in Chifeng Prefecture, Inner Mongolia, to deliver financial serv...
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Thursday, December 8, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Chutes, Ladders, and Safety Nets: How Microinsurance Helps African Development

Source: GOOD

James Abuh-Prah had owned a used electronics shop in a small market in Accra for 17 years before a flood took everything. It was late one night in October, and the torrential rains hadn't stopped for hours. "By 5 a.m. the water was up to my chest," he says. He had taken out a $2,400 loan from his bank, Opportunity International, to use as capital to buy used televisions, stereos, and other electronics. Now, everything was destroyed. It's like a game of Chutes and Ladders,"...
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Thursday, December 8, 2011 — Latin America

Ecuador Expanding Access to Microcredit for Low-Income Women

Source: Hispanically Speaking News

Ecuador will expand access to microcredit, particularly among low-income women, through a $50 million loan approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) aimed at increasing employment opportunities and reducing poverty. The National Program for Finance, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Solidarity (PNFPEES) will be the executing agency for the program, which will contribute to its strategy for fostering economic inclusion with particular emphasis on financing for women entrepreneur...
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Thursday, December 8, 2011 — South Asia

Microfinance Industry Going All Out to Regain Lost Glory with Women Power

Source: The Economic Times

HYDERABAD/MUMBAI: Beleaguered microfinance industry is turning to women power to lift it out of the depths. The fairer sex is increasingly occupying the rank and file of recovery agents of lenders to the poor as the industry attempts to restore its past glory after charges of molestation and browbeating made it an unwanted child. "We will push the MFIs to have more women on rolls once the industry, currently in fire...
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa Rising

Source: The Economist

THE shops are stacked six feet high with goods, the streets outside are jammed with customers and salespeople are sweating profusely under the onslaught. But this is not a high street during the Christmas-shopping season in the rich world. It is the Onitsha market in southern Nigeria, every day of the year. Many call it the world's biggest. Up to 3m people go there daily to buy rice and soap, computers and construction equipment. It is a hub for traders from the Gulf of Guinea, a region b...
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Frequent Flier Miles at the Base of the Pyramid

Source: The Huffington Post

OK, so you are a cell-phone user in rural Nigeria or Zimbabwe, and your provider is Econet Wireless. You've been a customer for a while, so you've accumulated loyalty rewards, just like airline frequent flier points. You live in a small hut in a village with no electricity, so you can't use your phone as much as you would like, because you can only charge it on market day at the district headquarters. But now you can get a big discount on a solar lantern, or if you hav...
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011 — Latin America

Mining Proves a Test of Mettle for Peru's Ambitions of Economic Development

Source: Guardian.co.uk

The resignation of Peru 's deputy environment minister amid violent protests against the country's largest ever mining project has highlighted how weak institutions, unable to ensure decisions are made on the basis of robust information, undermine green policymaking in Latin America. José de Echave quit in late November, calling environmental impact studies on the $4.8bn (£3.1...
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Tuesday, December 6, 2011 — South Asia

Citi Micro Entrepreneur Awards 2011 Honors Individual Enterprise

Source: Microfinance Focus

The Citi Micro Entrepreneur Awards 2011 recognized nine micro entrepreneurs and a community owned enterprise at a ceremony presided over by Dr. K. C. Chakrabarty, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India. The Citi Micro Entrepreneur Awards 2011 received over 800 applications from 77 nominating organizations. There were 74 % women nominations and four new categories introduced - youth, green, innovative and community owned enterprise. The 2011 awards took into account geographical, socio-e...
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Tuesday, December 6, 2011 — South Asia

Prince of Poverty Leaves Behind Questionable Legacy

Source: Business Standard

Vikram Akula was the golden boy of microfinance when he launched his company SKS. How did things go so horribly wrong?. The story of Vikram Akula is almost like a classic Greek tragedy with epic peaks, troughs and betrayals that could easily make up a Hollywood movie. Akula remains a controversial character, whose very name incites admiration and criticism in equal measure. Some say that he gave birth to the microfinance industry as we know it in India. Others say that his model of lend...
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Tuesday, December 6, 2011 — Europe & Eurasia

Endeavor Takes Center Stage at Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Istanbul

Source: Business Wire

ISTANBUL--( BUSINESS WIRE )--This week, more than 120 Endeavor network members have gathered in Istanbul to participate in the 2 nd ...
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Monday, December 5, 2011 — No Region Specified

Should Philanthropies Operate Like Businesses?

Source: The Wall Street Journal

It's your money, and you're willing to give some of it away to a worthy cause. But you want to see results. Measurable progress toward agreed-upon goals. Regular proof that your investment is achieving maximum impact. That's the way businesses operate, and charities should be no different. That's one way to look at it, anyway. Others argue that things work differently in the world of nonprofits and social change. Tackling some of society's biggest problems is u...
Monday, December 5, 2011 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa Can Make Significant Progress Towards the MDGs

Source: Guardian.co.uk

Most African countries may not achieve all the MDG targets by 2015. What matters more is that they all make significant progress in all areas of the MDGs and sustain, or even accelerate, this progress in accordance with their national conditions. Arguably, the political and economic conditions in Africa in 2011 are a lot better than they were...
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Monday, December 5, 2011 — South Asia

Diary of a Social Entrepreneur

Source: livemint.com

Asister organization of the World Economic Forum, the Schwab Foundation has been awarding social entrepreneurs in South-East Asia for five years. It chose Neelam Chhiber of Industree Crafts Foundation as the India Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 in partnership with the Jubilant Bhartia Foundation (the foundation is the social wing of the Jubilant Bhartia Group, whose promoters are closely related to those of ...
Friday, December 2, 2011 — No Region Specified

Dr. Yunus Inspires Students to Create Social Businesses

Source: Global Atlanta

Nobel prize winner Muhammad Yunus brought to Georgia his vision for students to create businesses that would help alleviate some of the state's most intractable social problems. And the visit has prompted the University System of Georgia to establish a fund to help finance student-inspired projects inspired by Dr. Yunus' social business model. The fund was launched as a result of an economic development conference includin...
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Thursday, December 1, 2011 — South Asia

Can Venture Capital Save The World?

Source: Forbes

Bahawalpur in eastern Pakistan is known for magnificent palaces built during the British Raj, but in the dusty part of town where most of the 400,000 residents actually live, four dozen farmers have gathered in the decidedly unpalatial concrete building that houses the local branch of the National Rural Support Programme Bank. Their darkened, sun-creased faces testify to the toll of tilling soil in one of the hotter places on Earth (at 11 a.m. in mid-June it's ­alread...
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Thursday, December 1, 2011 — No Region Specified

Four Companies Announce New Ventures to Promote Clean Energy

Source: Business Call to Action

New York, Durban, 28 November 2011 -More than 12 million low-income people in Africa, Asia, and Latin America will gain access to clean energy following four companies' commitments made today to the Business Call to Action , a global leadership initiative that promotes sustainable economic and social development. The companies also expect to create approximately 42,000 environmentally sustai...
Thursday, December 1, 2011 — No Region Specified

Grads Do 'Good' for a Profit

Source: The Wall Street Journal

At first blush, it looks as though M.B.A.s aren't doing much "good" upon graduation. Despite the fact that students sign up en masse for social-entrepreneurship classes, intern at nonprofits and participate in charitable extracurricular activities, fewer than 5% of graduates from many top business schools take jobs in nonprofit organizations right out of school, with some institutions placing just 1% or 2% in the field. Even the Yale School of Management, which has built a reputatio...
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