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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
Friday, April 27, 2012 — South Asia

Forus Health Raises $5 Million From Accel Partners & IDG Ventures India

Source: PR Newswire

Bangalore-based affordable medical technology and solutions company Forus Health Pvt. Ltd. (Forus) has successfully raised Series A funding of $5 million from two leading venture capital funds, Accel Partners and IDG Ventures India. Forus's mission is to address the healthcare delivery issues in the developing world through innovative, inclusive product design and service deployment. Its flagship product 3nethra, a portable, low cost, non-mydriatic, non-invasive pre-screening ophthalmology solution, can detect Cataract, Glaucoma, Diabetic Retina, Refraction and Cornea problems. 3nethra can be operated by a minimally trained technician, and can be deployed in remote areas.
Friday, April 27, 2012 — No Region Specified

Morgan Stanley Offering Advisors Sustainable Investing Platform

Source: Financial Advisor

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney is launching a platform for its financial advisors to offer clients investments with positive social and environmental impact in what appears to be a major push to offer sustainable investing to mainstream investors. Although many broker-dealers allow their advisors to offer sustainable investments to retail clients, few have specific advisor platforms for that purpose. MSSB made an announcement today about the new platform at the U.S. State Department-sponsored Global Impact Economy Forum.
Thursday, April 26, 2012 — South Asia

In Rural India, Manufacturing Is Booming

Source: Wall Street Journal - India Realtime

When you think rural India, think factories and cell phones, rather than fields and bullock carts. Rural India, says a Credit Suisse report, is no longer an agrarian economy whose fortunes are dependent upon an erratic monsoon. Rather, they are now increasingly tied to the national economic cycle, something they had been largely immune from so far, as it gradually shifts away from agriculture.
Thursday, April 26, 2012 — South Asia

The Cookstove Conundrum

Source: New York Times

Cooking the family meal can be a dangerous business for poor people in developing countries. According to a study by the World Health Organization, indoor air pollution from “primitive household cooking fires” is the leading environmental cause of death in the world. In most rural homes, which lack electricity, a stove can be an open fire and the fuel as basic as wood, dried animal dung or agricultural residue, together known as “biomass” fuels. The result is nearly 2 million deaths a year, worldwide, almost as many as are caused by malaria and tuberculosis combined. What’s worse, cooking with biomass releases carbon dioxide and “black carbon” into the atmosphere and consequently is a significant contributor to climate change.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Buy More and Better Bednets for the Money, Says New Report

Source: The Guardian

On World Malaria Day, a new report analysis the anti-malarial bednet market and concludes that we could get better value, more innovation and even more nets from the same amount of funds.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012 — Latin America

First Fund to Help Smallholder Farmers with Long-Term Loans

Source: Microfinance Focus

Incofin Investment Management, Fairtrade International (FLO) and Grameen Foundation will establish a ‘First Fund’ to focus on the unmet demand of smallholder farmers for long-term loans.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012 — South Asia

India's Aadhaar ID Project Turns Nation's Poor into Economic Players

Source: CBC News

Power Shift India: Nation turns to technology to extend a guaranteed identity to its poor
Tuesday, April 24, 2012 — No Region Specified

Get an MBA, Save the World

Source: Foreign Policy

If you want to work in international development, go work for a big, bad multinational company.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012 — Latin America

B Corps Go Global: Sistema B Certifies South American Social Enterprise

Source: GOOD

Last fall, a small group of social entrepreneurs from South America met to discuss how to foster more social enterprise in the region and create more bang for the buck at existing enterprise. The result was Sistema B, the first effort to adapt the American system of B Corporations—which ease operations for companies that combine profit and social good—to a foreign setting.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012 — No Region Specified

Transformational Entrepreneurship: Where Technology Meets Societal Impact

Source: HBR Blog Network

The slow decline of industrial manufacturing in developed nations and recent failures of financial capitalism across the globe have sent us searching for a new model of economic growth. I see the two movements of Technology Entrepreneurship and Social Entrepreneurship beginning to converge into a promising solution.
Monday, April 23, 2012 — No Region Specified

(Bottom of the) pyramid selling

Source: The Economist

IS THERE anything more prestigious than business?” What would sound tin-eared from the mouth of Mitt Romney reads very differently when attributed to a woman of long-standing poverty, discussing her newly found self-respect. The quotation comes from a recent paper by a trio of female researchers from Oxford University's Saïd Business School—Catherine Dolan, who lectures in marketing and corporate social responsibility; Mary Johnstone-Louis, a doctoral candidate; and Linda Scott, of the Oxford Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The researchers studied a sales programme that employs Bangladeshi women at the proverbial bottom of the pyramid, run by the Bangladesh arm of CARE, an NGO. Its Rural Sales Programme (RSP) focuses on women who are destitute due to abandonment by their family or the deaths of their husbands. CARE calls the women aparajitas (a Sanskrit term meaning “she who cannot be defeated”) and offers them jobs selling household goods, such as soap, household goods, even saris. Begun in 2005, RSP now employs more than 2,400 women across Bangladesh and has partnerships with companies such as Unilever, Danone and Bic.
Monday, April 23, 2012 — South Asia

Govt to Probe Sister Concerns of Grameen Bank

Source: bdnews24.com

The government will form a commission to look into the activities of 54 organisations associated with Grameen Bank, the finance minister has said.
Monday, April 23, 2012 — Asia Pacific

Environmental Index Could Save Rural Communities

Source: Phys Org

By creating the world's first long-term record of ecosystem health, Chinese and UK researchers have identified where specific social and economic policies have damaged the environment in eastern China. The work shows that wealth generation over recent decades is damaging essential ecosystem services on which the poorest rely - things like food, fuel, and clean water.
Friday, April 20, 2012 — No Region Specified

Global Sanitation Target Under Threat

Source: The Guardian

UN high-level meeting is expected to call on world leaders to support the 57 countries currently most off-track to achieve their millennium development goal targets for sanitation.
Friday, April 20, 2012 — South Asia

‘Citi and SEDC Working for Capacity Building’

Source: Daily Times

Citi Pakistan and the Social Enterprise Development Centre (SEDC) at LUMS are collaborating on a capacity building project, supported by $50,000 grant from Citi Foundation.
Friday, April 20, 2012 — No Region Specified

Rethinking the Role of Capital Markets in Enabling Social Progress

Source: Forbes

Earlier this week at theGlobal Philanthropy Forum, Tracy Palandjian, CEO of Social Finance, Inc., served on a panel discussion around the challenges and opportunities of impact investing. In the below interview with Tracy, we discussed her career trajectory, the first-ever social impact bond in the United Kingdom and its potential to be replicated in the United States, and much more.
Thursday, April 19, 2012 — Asia Pacific

The Life-Changing Power of a Good Nap—And a Smart Business Plan

Source: GOOD

Yellow Leaf Hammocks, a rising socially conscious lifestyle brand, could have launched fast after its inspiring moment only to crash and burn. Yet smart planning and business sense gave the company the organic, slow-growth start that offers it the best shot at a sustainable future. Howyou run your company is just as important as why.
Thursday, April 19, 2012 — No Region Specified

How the Poor Cope with Crisis

Source: The Guardian

A study incorporating many grassroots voices examines how poor people in developing countries coped with the recent shock of higher food and fuel prices.
Thursday, April 19, 2012 — South Asia

Can SKS Change Its Spots?

Source: Forbes India

After being the bad boy of microfinance, SKS is now trying to pick itself up and transform into a more cost-effective, diversified organization.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 — No Region Specified

Microplanet Technologies Names Daryl Skoog, Former Head of Opportunity International MIS, as Executive Director

Source: Press Release

MicroPlanet brings together a world-class team of technology professionals to support microfinance sector
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 — No Region Specified

Greenlight Planet Inc. Raises 4mm USD from Bamboo Finance and Dr. P. K. Sinha

Source: Press Release

Greenlight Planet Inc. closed an investment round of 4mm USD with Bamboo Finance and Dr. P. K. Sinha, Co-Founder of ZS Associates. The current round follows earlier investments by Dr. Sinha. Greenlight Planet is a leading designer and distributor of solar-LED home lights, which are poised to replace kerosene lamps as the dominant indoor light source for the billion-plus people living without reliable access to an electrical grid, primarily in rural areas of the developing world.
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Monday, April 16, 2012 — No Region Specified

World Bank picks health expert Kim as president

Source: Reuters

(Reuters) - The World Bank on Monday chose Korean-born American health expert Jim Yong Kim as its new president, maintaining Washington's grip on the job and leaving developing countries questioning the selection process. Kim, 52, won the job over Nigeria's widely respected finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, with the support of Washington's allies in Western Europe, Japan, Canada and some emerging market economies, including Russia, Mexico and South Korea. Unlike previous World Bank elections, the decision was not unanimous. "The final nominees received support from different member countries, which reflected the high caliber of the candidates," the Bank said in announcing its board's decision.
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Friday, April 13, 2012 — No Region Specified

Investors Can Rid the World of Slums

Source: MarketWatch

Approximately 180,000 people are added to the urban grid each day, according to the United Nations. That means, according to other estimates, that nearly 100,000 housing units are needed — every day, all around the world.
Friday, April 13, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

South Africa: Brazilians to Share Experiences On Beating Hunger

Source: allAfrica

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini says sharing experiences with Brazil will help South Africa deal with the challenge of hunger.
Friday, April 13, 2012 — South Asia

Perspective: Poverty, Health And Forced Eviction In The Slums Of Bangladesh

Source: CommonHealth

On April 4, one of the largest forceful slum evictions in Bangladesh’s history took place in Dhaka’s Korail bustee. Households, schools and shops within twenty meters of the road were bulldozed, with approximately 3,500 individuals affected.
Thursday, April 12, 2012 — Asia Pacific

Microinsurance in Rapid Expansion Says ILO, Munich Re Report

Source: Insurance Journal

According to the Microinsurance Innovation Facility of the International Labor Organizationand the Munich Re Foundation, “the number of microinsurance schemes worldwide has increased substantially over the past five years and now reaches an estimated 500 million worldwide.”
Thursday, April 12, 2012 — South Asia

Villgro Innovation Marketing Raises Seed Capital

Source: Press Release

Chennai based Villgro Innovation Marketing Private (VIM), an innovative rural distribution company, has raised a significant seed series investment from US-based investment firm Unitus Seed Fund and a group of angel investors to further expand its operations in South India.
Thursday, April 12, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Can Coffee Kick-Start an Economy?

Source: The New York Times

When he set out to wedge his coffee onto supermarket shelves in England and America, Andrew Rugasira didn’t start by making phone calls from his home in Kampala, Uganda. He didn’t begin by sending e-mails. The distance seemed too great for that. At one end of his business were farmers who, until he came along, thought their beans were purchased and carried off to make gunpowder. At the other were buyers at the corporate headquarters of chains like Waitrose and Sainsbury’s, Whole Foods and Wal-Mart. If he was going to succeed, he felt he would have to do it physically; it was as if he believed he could stretch himself to span the divide between the two worlds. So he got on a plane to London, without trying any advance contact.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

Microfinance Giant Launches Venture Capital Fund For East Africa

Source: Forbes

Accion, an international microfinance and investment firm, has launched Venture Lab, a $10 million investment vehicle which will provide seed capital and management support to financial inclusion startups worldwide, with a particular focus on East Africa and India.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Tony Elumelu Foundation, Co-Creation Hub in Partnership to Give Social Technology Entrepreneurs Boost

Source: WorldStage

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), an institution dedicated to the promotion and celebration of excellence in business leadership and entrepreneurship across Africa, is partnering with Co-Creation Hub Nigeria (CcHub), Nigeria’s first open living lab and pre-incubation space dedicated to catalysing creative social technology ventures, in an effort to encourage innovative ideas that could help transform the social technology space in Nigeria.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 — No Region Specified

Intel Releases Rugged Education Tablet for the Developing World

Source: Mashable

Intel has launched the latest device in its line of classroom computers: a tablet, Intel studybook. The Intel studybook is built to be both a rigorous education tool and a sturdy playmate. It comes loaded with Intel’s Learning Series software, including an interactive ereader and LabCam applications.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Why Designers Need To Stop Feeling Sorry For Africa

Source: FastCo.Design

Taking a patronizing approach to investing in Africa undermines both the country’s people and entrepreneurial promise, argue Jens Martin Skibsted and Rasmus Bech Hansen.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Tackling the Challenges of Urban Sanitation: A Social Enterprise Model

Source: The Guardian

A micro franchise initiative founded by SC Johnson in Nairobi aims to improve levels of sanitation in low-income communities.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 — Latin America

Study: OLPC Fails Students as a Tool for Education

Source: PCmag.com

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program of low-cost laptops for developing countries has not led to any measurable impact in academic achievement, according to a recent report.
Monday, April 09, 2012 — No Region Specified

Business Lessons From A Baby Elephant

Source: Fast Company

Vijay Govindarajan is the co-author, with Chris Trimble, of Reverse Innovation: Create Far From Home, Win Everywhere, which hits bookshelves on April 10. A professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth University, Govindarajan chatted with Fast Company about $2,000 heart surgery, elephant prostheses, and the need for American businesses to, in essence, study abroad.
Monday, April 09, 2012 — Latin America

Daniel Izzo on Brazil's First Impact Investing Venture Capital Firm

Source: Forbes

Recently, the Opportunities for the Majority (OMJ) Initiative of the Inter-American Development Bank hosted Daniel Izzo, co-founder and partner of Vox Capital, Brazil’s first impact investing venture capital firm, which focuses on high potential businesses that serve the Brazilian low income population through products and services with the potential to improve their lives.
Monday, April 09, 2012 — South Asia

Micro-health Insurance Scheme for Poor on Test

Source: bdnews24.com

A microfinance institution has started piloting a micro-health insurance scheme as an 'alternative' mode of health financing for the Bangladeshi poor to help them overcome the cruel cycle of poverty and illness.
Friday, April 06, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

A New Silicon Valley? Tech Hubs Spring Up in Africa

Source: FastCo.Exist

Internet access is expanding rapidly across the continent, and with it new organizations are coming to help foster a budding tech startup scene.
Friday, April 06, 2012 — No Region Specified

Men Start Businesses for the Money: Women for the Social Value

Source: ScienceDaily

A study of the sexes reveals that when it comes to starting a business, women are more likely than men to consider individual responsibility and use business as a vehicle for social and environmental change.
Friday, April 06, 2012 — South Asia

Government's Heavy-handed Regulation of Microfinance Will Kill It and Bring Back Moneylenders

Source: The Economic Times

Among many Bills stuck in the legislative process is the Micro Finance Institutions (Development and Regulation) Bill. This is a 2011 Bill. An earlier 2007 Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha, but lapsed with the lower House's dissolution in 2009. Financial inclusion shouldn't mean only credit.
Thursday, April 05, 2012 — South Asia

Innovation Comes Home to Go Global

Source: The Times of India

Innovation in India used to be largely about developing products for personal consumption and cheaper no-frills versions of existing devices. Now the products are targeted at the domestic consumer and for those at the bottom of the pyramid.
Thursday, April 05, 2012 — No Region Specified

What It Will Take to 'Graduate' 1.2 Billion People Out of Extreme Poverty

Source: The Huffington Post

Despite the worldwide recession of the late 2000s, the total number of people living in extreme poverty has actually gone down in recent years -- so much, in fact, that we've reached the first of the UN's eightMillennium Development Goals five years ahead of schedule, a startling achievement. The number living in "extreme poverty" decreased by 100 million between 2005 and 2008.
Thursday, April 05, 2012 — South Asia

Cisco Invests in Rural Venture Capital Firm

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Cisco today announced an investment in Aavishkaar, a venture fund founded to promote development in rural and semi-urban India.
Wednesday, April 04, 2012 — South Asia

Japanese Professor Shoji Shiba Helping India Inc Breakthrough

Source: The Economic Times

Dhobi Ghat, the washermen's hub in Mumbai, is a dingy neighbourhood of clotheslines, discoloured pools of water and rows upon rows of wash pens. But it presents an array of socio-economic groups among the 10,000-odd washermen who live and work here-from smaller washermen thrashing clothes on flogging stones to better-off cleaners who run Laundromats. It's a thriving ecosystem and a perfect case study for how people at the bottom of the pyramid impact an economy.
Wednesday, April 04, 2012 — South Asia

'Social Entrepreneur of the Year' India 2012 Awards is Open for Entries

Source: afaqs!

Jubilant Bhartia Foundation and Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship are pleased to announce the 'Social Entrepreneur of the Year' Award for 2012 for India. Applicants are invited to participate and share their innovation. The deadline for receiving first round applications is May 31, 2012. Finalists will then be selected following an intensive search and selection process, including expert reviews and site visits. The winner will be announced at a ceremony coinciding with the India Economic Summit in November 2012 in New Delhi.
Wednesday, April 04, 2012 — No Region Specified

Impact Investing: How One Foundation Empowers Social Entrepreneurs

Source: Mashable

Name: Echoing Green | Big Idea: Echoing Green offers grants to social entrepreneurs and changemakers — it’s referred to as “impact investing.” | Why It’s Working: By investing in people rather than ideas or business plans, Echoing Green has empowered more than 500 innovative individuals to turn their visions into a reality, ameliorating social ills in the process.
Tuesday, April 03, 2012 — Latin America

In Chile’s Slums, A Lesson in How to Make Apps for Social Good

Source: The Washington Post

How many of the hundreds of thousands of mobile phone applications seek to do truly great things, such as lift people out of poverty or improve health care for the poor?
Tuesday, April 03, 2012 — No Region Specified

Accion Launches Venture Lab, a Seed-Stage Investment Initiative for Financial Inclusion Start-ups

Source: Press Release

Accion, a pioneer and leader in global microfinance, today announced the launch of Venture Lab, an initiative dedicated to providing seed capital and management support to financial inclusion start-ups worldwide. The $10 million program will seek out companies that have completed research and development and are at the pilot/first-revenue stage. Investments will typically be in the range of US $100,000-$300,000, invested either as convertible debt or equity.
Tuesday, April 03, 2012 — South Asia

100 Women Who Matter: Entrepreneurs Roundtable

Source: Newsweek Pakistan

Newsweek Pakistan’s Benazir Shah and Bisma Ahmad got down to business with five leading women entrepreneurs in Lahore recently to talk about the hard slog.
Monday, April 02, 2012 — South Asia

Asian Innovation: Frugal Ideas Are Spreading from East to West

Source: The Economist

Multinationals are beginning to take ideas developed in (and for) the emerging world and deploy them in the West.
Monday, April 02, 2012 — South Asia

Omidyar's Jayant Sinha: Volatile Government Policy is a Deterrent to Investing

Source: Forbes India

Jayant Sinha, partner and MD, Omidyar Network India Advisors, tells Dinesh Narayanan that government trying to micro-manage the economy is not good. Edited excerpts from an interview.
Monday, April 02, 2012 — No Region Specified

Infographic: 2.6 Billion People Don’t Have A Safe Way To Poop

Source: FastCo.Design

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation doesn’t mince words (or pictures) when it comes to feces.
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    William Davidson Institute
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    Citi Foundation
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