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, June 29, 2012 — No Region Specified

Fighting for the next billion shoppers

Source: The Economist

A TRIP to Paris is not usually a miserable way to celebrate your birthday, but so it was this year for Bob McDonald. On June 20th, as he turned 59, the chief executive of Procter & Gamble (P&G) for the past three years gave a faltering and apologetic speech at a conference there hosted by Deutsche Bank, in which he predicted lower-than-expected profits in the coming quarter for the world’s largest maker of household and personal-care products, and confessed to deep-seated problems at his firm both in innovation and the broader execution of its strategy.
Friday, June 29, 2012 — South Asia

Need for affordable houses

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Mr Om Prakash Bhansali, 32, has a big dream. He wants his own house. This textile worker with a steady job and a monthly income of Rs 12,000 from Ahmedabad has been scouting for a 250-300-sq.-ft house that he can buy with his meagre resources. But he has been unable to find one.
Friday, June 29, 2012 — South Asia

Annapurna Microfinance raises $2.36M from Incofin Investment Management

Source: VCCircle

Orissa-based Annapurna Microfinance Pvt Ltd (AMPL) has raised Rs 13 crore ($2.6 million) from Belgian investment firm Incofin Investment Management's Rural Impulse Fund II.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 — No Region Specified

From Hotel Uniforms To Life-Saving Water Filters: Evolving The Humanitarian Entrepreneurship Model

Source: Fast Company

In recent years, investments in global public health have created opportunities for private innovators, technology developers, and business investors to join the fight against infectious diseases affecting people in developing countries. Such private entities are focusing their innovative platforms on developing technological breakthroughs for the most vulnerable people, often in the most extreme situations. As a result, a new business model, "humanitarian entrepreneurship," is being shaped by innovators at all levels. Here, doing good is good for business.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012 — Asia Pacific

More people in Asia making impact investments

Source: Channel News Asia

SINGAPORE: Investing with a social cause has caught on in Asia. Some 400 participants gathered in Singapore for an inaugural forum on impact investing. The forum, co-hosted by Singapore-based social enterprise Impact Investment Shujog and Impact Investment Exchange Asia was supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Asian Development Bank.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012 — No Region Specified

Village Capital seeks to help entrepreneurs with social purpose


Entrepreneurial accelerator programs, where early-stage companies can get advice and sometimes funding, are not uncommon. When 15 startup businesses got together in Atlanta this spring for a 10-week program put on by the nonprofit organization Village Capital, however, it was something different.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012 — No Region Specified

One billion smartphones by 2014. Bottom-of-the-pyramid market never looked better

Source: Anthill Online

It’s been a while since bottom of the pyramid — famously enunciated by the late management guru C.K. Prahlad — has been perceived to be an attractive market.
Monday, June 25, 2012 — Asia Pacific

The new sexy: Social entrepreneurship

Source: Rappler

MANILA, Philippines - “We want to make social entrepreneurship sexy,” says Karl Satinitigan, the 24-year-old director of Gawad Kalinga’s Center for Social Innovation or CSI, a program that trains aspiring social entrepreneurs.
Monday, June 25, 2012 — No Region Specified

Making the market a force for good

Source: The Guardian

When women in Haiti added fruit flavouring to purified water and sold it to their peers, an impromptu community business was born. While the main aim was a health-related one – the women used purifying sachets distributed after the 2010 earthquake to clean the water – the unforeseen knock-on effect involved women educating their peers about not drinking contaminated water and running their own mini-enterprise.
Friday, June 22, 2012 — South Asia

Grameen Koota Raises INR 25 Crores through Non-Convertible Debentures

Source: Microfinance Focus

Microfinance Focus, June 22, 2012: Bangalore-headquartered microfinance firm Grameen Financial Services Private Limited (GFSPL), popularly known as Grameen Koota has raised INR 25 Crores (USD 5 million) in debt funding through an issue of secured, redeemable, non-convertible debentures (NCDs).
Friday, June 22, 2012 — No Region Specified

In Rio+20, a $175B commitment for transport

Source: Devex

Eight multilateral development banks made an unprecendented commitment to transportation infrastructure during the opening of the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, which runs June 20-22.
Thursday, June 21, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

South Africa: Support From Private Sector Is Needed for Sustainable Development

Source: AllAfrica

Sustainable development in Africa depends on innovative sources of finance and resources from the private sector, African leaders and world experts said at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, currently being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Thursday, June 21, 2012 — No Region Specified

Job landscape changes spark new hybrid between corporate and non-profit worlds

Source: Washington Post

The for- and non-profit landscapes are merging to create a new class of organization leader. Generally called social entrepreneurs, these individuals leverage for-profit models to solve some of the world’s most in­trac­table problems — endeavors usually undertaken by traditional non-profits.
Thursday, June 21, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile Money: How Cell Phones Can Fight Hunger in the Sahel

Source: Huffington Post

Some five billion people worldwide were using mobile phones in 2010, according to the International Telecommunication Union, with the strongest growth taking place in developing countries. Africa is the fastest growing mobile market. In the past six years, the industry estimates that the number of subscribers has grown nearly 20 percent each year. At this rate, we can expect to see some 735 million cell phone users in Africa by the end of 2012.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 — No Region Specified

Unleashing the Power of Social Enterprise

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

Can social enterprise be the panacea for the Green Economy? That was the question put to me as I joined a panel at the Fair Ideas summit in Rio as part of the 20th anniversary of the Earth Summit.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 — No Region Specified

CEOs urge Rio+20 leaders to make water security top priority

Source: France 24

AFP - Some 45 corporate chiefs attending the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development on Monday pledged to make water security a strategic priority and called for decisive action by governments.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012 — No Region Specified

Low-Cost Solar Brightens Lives in the Developing World

Source: National Geographic

A decade ago, Katherine Lucey oversaw a heavily subsidized $1,500 solar-light installation in the rural district of Mpigi in central Uganda. The 60-watt rooftop solar panel system could power three lights in the four-room, off-the-grid house.
Monday, June 18, 2012 — Latin America

Rio+20: Are We There Yet?

Source: Forbes

No, we are not yet there, but we may be getting closer. On Saturday, the Brazilians took over the once again informal negotiations on the outcome document. The world is fortunate in this regard, as Brazil has one of the best diplomatic corps in the business.
Monday, June 18, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Business fighting poverty

Source: The Guardian

For nearly 100 years, Africa has been a key driver of Anglo American's business success. Almost 40% of our assets remain in South Africa. Three of our seven main business groups (platinum, iron ore and thermal coal) and two of our key associates (diamonds and manganese) operate out of South-ern Africa. These are all globally competitive businesses and we are investing in them: $20bn in capital expenditure in South Africa over the last 10 years, and a future growth pipeline of almost $15bn.
Monday, June 18, 2012 — No Region Specified

G20 Announces Winners of the IFC-Managed G20 Challenge on Inclusive Business Innovation

Source: Press Release

Los Cabos, Mexico, June 18, 2012—The Group of 20 today announced the winners of the G20 Challenge on Inclusive Business Innovation, a global competition managed by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group. Ambassador Rogelio Granguillhome, Executive Secretary of the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation and Chair of the G20 Development Working Group, presented the awards at a ceremony here.
Friday, June 15, 2012 — South Asia

Kalpna Saroj: One of the Few Women Social Entrepreneurs in India

Source: Just Means

Kalpna Saroj is an Indian social entrepreneur whose rag to riches story reads like a Bollywood script. Born into the caste of an Indian 'Dalit,' where she was formerly an "untouchable" and bullied at school; forced into marriage at the age of 12, and then fought social pressures to leave her husband; finally, overcoming poverty and physical abuse, she becomes CEO of a multi-million dollar company: a true heroine!
Friday, June 15, 2012 — No Region Specified

Can This New Backpack Solve The World’s Water Woes?

Source: Fast Company

You may not have heard of Greif, but you’re probably familiar with its products. One of the largest industrial packaging companies in the world, Greif makes plastic drums, fiber drums, water bottles for water coolers, steel containers, and more. The companies that buy certain Greif products--like the drums that hold hazardous chemicals--are the same ones that may inadvertently poison people in the developing world who use those containers to transport water after they’ve been thrown out. And so it makes a certain kind of sense that Greif would step up to create a solution, dubbed WaterWear, that allows people to safely and easily carry gallons of clean water.
Thursday, June 14, 2012 — No Region Specified

USAID and Citi partnering to bring mobile money to world's unbanked

Source: Mobile Payments Today

The U.S. Agency for International Development, tasked with the administration and distribution of international aid from the U.S. government, announced it is forming a new partnership with Citi. The partnership is aimed at providing financial inclusion for the world's un- and underbanked by encouraging "mobile money" technology in developing countries. It was announced at the USAID Frontiers in Development forum held at Georgetown University.
Thursday, June 14, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Time For An African Valley? — Sub-Saharan Accelerators Start To Emerge

Source: Tech Crunch

The news that i/o Ventures had launched the Savannah Fund in Africa is clearly welcome news for an emerging continent. It’s $10m fund size will be a shot in the arm for the eco-system there. But I was surprised to see that it was being described in some quarters as the “first ever” Sub-Saharan African incubator and accelerator. Because it patently is not.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The Microinsurance Revolution

Source: The New York Times

Six years ago David Patient felt his immune system slipping. He had been H.I.V.-positive for a long time, but now he made two decisions: He started on antiretroviral medicines to protect himself, and he began trying to buy life insurance to provide for his partner.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 — South Asia

Financial inclusion for whose benefit?

Source: The Hindu Business Line

The tale of financial inclusion in India is akin to that of the blind men and the elephant. You all know the story. A bunch of blind men chance upon an elephant. The one who catches hold of its tail says the elephant is like a rope. The one who touches the trunk says the elephant is like a snake, while the one touching the animal's leg insists it's like a tree.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 — No Region Specified

Dell awards $50,000 to top student social innovator, rocks the Moody Theater

Source: Cuture Map Austin

Entrepreneurship is the answer to almost every single problem we have in the world today. So says Daniel Epstein, founder of the Unreasonable Institute, as he spoke in front of the crowd of 200-plus gathered at the Moody Theater Tuesday night for the Dell Social Innovation Challenge awards.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 — No Region Specified

SAP Teams With Endeavor and Ashoka Changemakers to Empower Entrepreneurs Around the Globe

Source: PR Newswire

SAP AG today announced two new initiatives aimed at unlocking the potential for entrepreneurs and small and midsize businesses to drive economic growth, innovation and job creation, which in turn is key to SAP's long-term success.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

New Farmer Alliance to Improve Incomes and Food Security in Africa

Source: TechnoServe

WASHINGTON, DC, June 12, 2012 – Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Vodafone, and TechnoServe launched a new partnership to increase the productivity, incomes and resilience of smallholder farmers in Kenya, Mozambique, and Tanzania. The Connected Farmer Alliance will leverage mobile phone-enabled solutions to improve supply chain efficiency and increase farmers’ ability to access secure, timely payments and other financial services.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya: Equity's Mwangi Tops the World Again

Source: All Africa

Nairobi, Kenya — Equity Bank's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director James Mwangi, has been voted the 2012 Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year at a colorful ceremony held in Monte Carlo, Monaco over the weekend.
Friday, June 8, 2012 — No Region Specified

Financing social entrepreneurs

Source: The Guardian Blog

When social entrepreneur Luke Dowdney needed to raise funds two years ago to support Fight for Peace, the charity he founded that teaches boxing and martial arts to at-risk youth to reduce violence in gang-ridden communities, he didn't go the usual route of looking for donations. Instead he launched LUTA, a martial arts-based sportswear company featuring street wear created by young designers from the tough Brazilian neighbourhoods where Fight for Peace began.
Friday, June 8, 2012 — No Region Specified

CleanStar Mozambique: Food, Fuel and Forests at the Bottom of the Pyramid

Source: Sustainable Business Forum

What on earth is Novozymes, a $1.8-billion industrial biotechnology company headquartered in Denmark, doing in Mozambique, a poor African country (per capita income: $440) where corruption is rampant and more than half of the government’s budget comes from foreign aid?
Friday, June 8, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Acumen Fund Invests in Virtual City to Automate Agricultural Supply Chains in East Africa and....

Source: Acumen Fund Blog

Nairobi, Kenya, June 5, 2012 – Acumen Fund, a pioneering nonprofit global venture firm addressing poverty across Africa and in South Asia, today announced a $1.5 million convertible debt investment in Virtual City, a mobile technology services provider based in Nairobi.
Thursday, June 7, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

SEEP Network, The MasterCard Foundation Launch $7.6 Million Partnership to Strengthen Sub-Saharan Africa Microfinance Groups

Source: Press Release SEEP Network

The SEEP Network and The MasterCard Foundation are launching a new $7.6 million, four-year partnership to strengthen and develop the capacity of microfinance industry associations in Sub-Saharan Africa. As microfinance scales and commercializes in Africa, there is an opportunity to support greater consumer protection and financial transparency within the industry.
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Thursday, June 7, 2012 — Latin America

VisionSpring Sells Its One Millionth Pair Of Eyeglasses In The Developing World

Source: PRWeb

For many in the developing world, the lack of access to affordable eyeglasses leads to the unnecessary loss of educational and employment opportunities. VisionSpring works to ensure that everyone in the developing world has access to eyeglasses. Founded in 2001, by Dr. Jordan Kassalow, VisionSpring has developed proprietary distribution channels in India and El Salvador to deliver high-quality, affordable eyeglasses and comprehensive eye care to the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) consumer.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Virtual City gets Sh135m loan from US social fund

Source: Business Daily

Virtual City, a local software development firm, has received a Sh135 million ($1.5 million) convertible loan from Acumen Fund for the development of a mobile-based agricultural application to help small-scale farmers market their produce. The investment represents the latest capital inflows from international investors in the local information technology sector, which is emerging as a key target for venture capitalist firms.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012 — No Region Specified

Morgan Stanley offers impact investing for masses

Source: Market Watch

By launching your Investing with Impact Platform, you can change the world — literally.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012 — South Asia

BRAC eyes fully self-funded by 2021

Source: BDNews24

Dhaka, June 5 (—BRAC says it is 'gradually' lessening dependency on foreign donations in an effort to be a self-financed organisation by 2021. "Even in 1990 we depended 100 percent on foreign donations, but in 2011 it was only 30 percent," Executive Director Dr Mahbub Hossain said while unveiling the 2011 annual report of the largest Bangladeshi NGO.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012 — South Asia

Reduction in ST on black tea: leading brands welcome government decision

Source: Business Recorder

Leading tea brands in Pakistan, Lipton, Brooke Bond Supreme, Pearl Dust and A1 welcomed the bold decision by the Government of Pakistan to stem smuggling of tea and provide relief to consumers. As per SRO 608(I) 2012, General Sales Tax on black tea has been reduced from 16 percent to 5 percent.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012 — South Asia

Will invest US $ 1 bn in India for inclusive growth and climate change: Karin Finkelston

Source: Business Standard

A member of World Bank Group, International Finance Corporation (IFC) has chalked out its investment plans for India focusing mainly on the renewable energy sources and targeting the bottom of the pyramid. Karin Finkelston, vice president, Asia Pacific talks to Rutam Vora on IFC's investment plans in India during the current year. Edited excerpts:
Tuesday, June 5, 2012 — No Region Specified

How The Future of Mobile Lies in the Developing World

Source: Tech Crunch

In less than three decades, the mobile phone has gone from being a status symbol to being a ubiquitous technology that facilitates almost every interaction in our daily lives. One month after the world’s population topped 7 billion in October 2011, the GSM Association announced that mobile SIM cards had reached 6 billion. A 2009 study in India illustrated that every 10 percent increase in mobile penetration leads to a 1.2 percent increase in GDP.
Monday, June 4, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Board Approves Equity Investment of U.S. $100 Million in Agvance Africa

Source: All Africa

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) approved on 16 May in Tunis, an equity investment of USD 100 million to Agvance Africa, the first agribusiness-focused Fund of Funds on the African continent. The strategic objective of Agvance Africa is to increase private investment flows into the agribusiness sector on the continent to address growing food security concerns and unleash the largely unexploited potential of African agriculture and agribusiness sectors.
Monday, June 4, 2012 — No Region Specified

Catchafire matches talented volunteers with opportunities to serve

Source: Christian Science Monitor

Tom D’Eri needed some help. In September of last year, he co-founded a small social enterprise that helps people with autism find employment. He quickly realized that he needed some outside assistance with things like branding and website development, topics that he didn’t have much experience with himself.
Friday, June 1, 2012 — No Region Specified

Some entrepreneurs change the world, and make money doing it

Source: USA Today

Entrepreneurs change the world. Some develop new products or services that meet real needs or delight customers. Some create new jobs. Increasingly, entrepreneurs and small-business owners want a more direct, positive effect on our planet and its people. They want to use their entrepreneurial skills and attitudes to tackle some of the globe's most pressing issues.
Friday, June 1, 2012 — No Region Specified

How Financial Innovation Can Save the World

Source: The Atlantic

Financial innovation got a bad rep in the financial crisis. But inside the well-barricaded Federal Reserve Bank in downtown San Francisco last month, the financial engineers were at it again.
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