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
Tuesday, July 31, 2012 — No Region Specified

America’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs: 2012 Winners

Source: Bloomberg Business Week

For our fourth annual roundup of promising social entrepreneurs, we asked readers to submit suggestions, narrowed them to 25 for-profit social enterprises, then asked readers to vote for their favorite. Over the past month, more than 7,500 readers cast their votes. Their top five picks follow:
Tuesday, July 31, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

A promising strategy for SA's development

Source: Financial Mail

By focusing on key sectors, government believes it can reduce unemployment from 25% to 15% by 2020. The priority sectors are infrastructure development, agriculture, mining, manufacturing, the “green” economy, and tourism — as identified in the November 2010 New Growth Path.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012 — Asia Pacific

$627M to fund anti-poverty program in 2013

Source: Business Mirror

The government will roll out a $627-million poverty-alleviation program in rural areas by August next year. Dubbed as the Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP), the government will seek a loan of $500 million from the World Bank to fund the initiative.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012 — No Region Specified

Is Wall Street a Good Training Ground for Social Entrepreneurs?

Source: Forbes

Luanne Zurlo is the founder of Worldfund, an organization dedicated to improving education in Latin American countries. We recently featured one of her collaborations with the Rassias Center for language. Here we return to Luanne to learn more about her, and about her involvement in this organization that facilitates the education of so many Latin Americans.
Monday, July 30, 2012 — No Region Specified

Columbia University Launches Entrepreneurship Lab


After graduation, Columbia MBA students who are starting their own businesses will now have a new place to call home.
Monday, July 30, 2012 — South Asia

Acumen Fund Invests INR 1.5 Crore ($300K) in Edubridge Learning

Source: Acumen Fund Blog

Mumbai, India, July 25, 2012 – Acumen Fund, a pioneering nonprofit global venture fund addressing poverty across Africa and South Asia, today announced a INR 1.5 Crore ($300K) equity investment in Edubridge Learning Private Limited, a growing company that provides vocational skills training for low income youth across Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Chhattisgarh
Monday, July 30, 2012 — Latin America

DBJ pilots mobile solution to microfinancing

Source: The Jamaica Gleaner

In a bid to reduce loan costs for small-scale commercial borrowers, the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) is piloting a mobile money product that was given the green light by the Bank of Jamaica mid-year.
Friday, July 27, 2012 — South Asia

Gujarat accepts report on sustainable development

Source: Times of India

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat government has accepted the report 'A Solutions Landscape for Gujarat Cities.' The report provides recommendations on how Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat and Vadodara can be supported in their holistic urban planning, energy efficiency and waste water management efforts.
Friday, July 27, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Ethiopian shoemaker takes great strides

Source: BBC

Eight years ago Ethiopia's Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu decided to sell cool colourful shoes made of recycled materials, including car tyres.
Thursday, July 26, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

StartMe gives SA entrepreneurs crowdfunding

Source: My Broadband

South African entrepreneurs, who have been hard pressed to find funding via traditional means such as bank loans, can now take advantage of a new funding mechanism in South Africa –
Thursday, July 26, 2012 — Latin America

Mexico experiments with the 'branchless' bank

Source: Marketbplace

Tess Vigeland: The FDIC estimates that somewhere around 18 percent of the U.S. population is what's called underbanked -- Ppeople who turn to payday lenders and check cashing services and the mattress because they don't have good access to the banking system.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Using Small Loans to Generate Big Profits

Source: Wall Street Journal

NAIROBI, Kenya—At a recent group-lending meeting in the Kawangware slum, about 10 miles from downtown, Jackson Munyovi sought $350 to build a new shanty for his wife and two children.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 — No Region Specified

Is innovation essential for development work?

Source: The Guardian

Innovation has become central to the way development organisations go about their work. In November 2011, Bill Gates told the G20 that innovation was the key to development. Donors increasingly stress innovation as a key condition for funding, and many civil society organisations emphasise that innovation is central to the work they do.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Growing Rwanda Out of Poverty

Source: Forbes

For the last few years, development wonks and international organizations have had the “Green Revolution for Africa” on their radars. Leaders in Africa have recognized that the first Green Revolution (spurred by the work of agronomist Norman Borlaug) resulted in massive improvements in health and productivity around the world, and are now looking to do the same on the so-called “Dark Continent”.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012 — South Asia

Rural market, an incredible opportunity: Manwani

Source: The Hindu

Rural India is a powerhouse waiting to emerge and presents an incredible opportunity of potentially adding $1.8 trillion to the Indian economy which is equal to the current GDP, according to Harish Manwani, Chairman, Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL).
Monday, July 23, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Rio summit keeps African hopes alive

Source: Afrik-News

African expectations were high for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, the biggest UN summit ever. The conference, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June, was “too important to fail,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the outset. Under the theme of “The Future We Want,” many of the 100 heads of state and more than 40,000 participants demanded ambitious and measurable outcomes to address sustainability issues such as the “green economy,” climate change and so on. Yet when it was over, the “Rio+20” summit left a heated debate over whether those goals had been met.
Monday, July 23, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Water harvesting slakes thirst at an innovative Kenyan inn

Source: Christian Science Monitor

When Gaitano Likhavila was still working as an accountant at the provincial hospital in the west Kenyan town of Kakamega, he ran into a situation that got him thinking about water. “There was a serious water shortage that made the hospital administration almost close down the hospital. At the same time, a lot of rainwater from the roofs was wasted, running down to the River Isikhu, but nobody thought of getting hold of this free water,” says Likhavila.
Monday, July 23, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africans Urge China to Help Create Sustainable Development

Source: Voice of America

BEIJING — African leaders and independent groups are pressing China to prioritize sustainable development in its trade with African countries. In Beijing, officials say they increasingly recognize the importance of sound environmental practices for building strong relations with the continent.
Friday, July 20, 2012 — No Region Specified

Define Social Entrepreneurs by Their Impact, Not Their Income Strategy

Source: Forbes

After decades of frustrating setbacks, scientists at CERN think they have found the Higgs boson particle — a breakthrough success after $12 billion of research funding and smashing particles into each other in all imaginable ways. A few days ago, my colleague Amy Clark argued that there is a lesson about collaboration to be learned. I will use this discovery to argue that there is also an important insight for funders of social innovation.
Friday, July 20, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa ready for post-2015 MDG development agenda – Report

Source: Ghana Business News

A new report has observed that Africa has effectively engaged in the process of defining the contours of the post-2015 development agenda as deadline for the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target draws near.
Friday, July 20, 2012 — Latin America

Bamboo Finance Invests R$7 Million (US$3.6M) in Bille, To Build 1200 Affordable Houses in Sao Paulo State

Source: Press Release

Geneva, Switzerland, July 19, 2012 – Bamboo Finance, a leading impact investment firm with a pioneering history of funding growth stage business models that drive economic viability in low-income markets, has invested R$7M (US$3.6M) in Bille, a Special Purpose Enterprise (SPE) created by Crinale, a Brazilian housing developer, for building and selling 1,200 houses in the interior of Sao Paulo State. Bille uses an innovative and efficient business model to build and sell affordable standard houses, reducing the time from development to sale by more than 50%. To date, Crinale has completed six affordable housing projects in five towns, delivering more than 1,100 low-income houses in the interior State of Sao Paulo.
Thursday, July 19, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

Endeavor Catalyst invests in AirTies as first MENA region company

Source: Endeavor Blog

NEW YORK, July 18, 2012 — Endeavor, the world-wide leader in selecting, mentoring and accelerating high-impact entrepreneurs, announced that it has closed an investment round with AirTies, an innovative Turkish developer of wireless networking equipment with worldwide sales, as the third investment of Endeavor Catalyst.
Thursday, July 19, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

Endeavor to launch a new country affiliate in Saudi Arabia

Source: Endeavor Blog

New York, July 18, 2012 – Endeavor announced today that it will launch a new affiliate office in Saudi Arabia, expanding its efforts to select and service high-impact entrepreneurs in the Middle East.
Thursday, July 19, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya’s CNN ‘hero’: Africa’s high growth rates not felt at bottom of the pyramid

Source: How We Made it in Africa

Evans Wadongo shot to international fame after he was named one of the top ten CNN Heroes in 2010. His project replaces kerosene lamps with solar-powered LED lanterns across villages in rural Kenya. CNN Heroes honours everyday people changing the world. Born in rural Kenya, the 26-year-old electronic and computer engineering graduate is the executive director of Sustainable Development for All Kenya (SDFA-Kenya) where he literally lights up people’s lives. How we made it in Africa’s East Africa correspondent Dinfin Mulupi chats with Wadongo to find out what makes this social entrepreneur tick.
Thursday, July 19, 2012 — South Asia

Innovating The Process Of Getting Technology To People Who Need It

Source: Fast Company

Having technology that will change the lives of people in the developing world doesn’t mean much if you can’t get it to them. To fix that, Essmart Global is trying to revolutionize distribution and supply chains.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 — South Asia

"Having It All": Finding Profit and Purpose with Tahira Dosani

Source: Forbes

In the wake of Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article, “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All,” I had been thinking about how to have it all not in terms of balancing children and career, but rather in terms of finding a career that encompasses money and meaning. For many women in our 20s, the tradeoffs between pursuing our passions and supporting ourselves can be perplexing. We want to pursue work that excites us, but we don’t know when, where, or how to start. This is a dilemma I’ve faced myself, as I’ve worked in banking and private equity and am beginning work at an impact investing fund.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Building business in Ghana, one battery at a time


Kai Ryssdal: Whaddya suppose happens when a guy invents a board game that hits big, he sells it for enough to be comfortable, and then wants to do something that matters?
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Tuesday, July 17, 2012 — South Asia

Poor women to get mobile feeds on their financial info

Source: The Hindu Business Line

Poor women in Andhra Pradesh could soon get access to their financial transactions on mobile. About 90 lakh women members of self help Groups (SHGs) in Andhra Pradesh can look forward to this facility, thanks to a mobile book-keeping project being launched by the State Government.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Tanzania: Academics, Policy Makers Discuss Entrepreneurship

Source: AllAfrica

"ENTREPRENEURSHIP, Private Sector and Sustainable Development in Africa," was the main theme of the 13th International Conference on African Entrepreneurship and Small Business (ICAESB-2012) held from 20th-21st, last month, in Dar es Salaam.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012 — South Asia

Grassroots entrepreneurship helps alleviate poverty

Source: The Financial Express

Bangladesh has positioned itself in global community as a forward-looking nation, with firm footprint on path of steady, accelerating growth and development towards rapid poverty elimination and eventual prosperity. Bangladesh has achieved fairly steep decline in poverty over the past two decades from 57.0 per cent in the 1990s to 31.5 per cent in 2011. According to the latest projections of the Planning Commission, poverty will come down further to 26.4 per cent in FY 2012-13.
Monday, July 16, 2012 — No Region Specified

Building the Business Case for CSR

Source: Environmental Leader

The business case for CSR is complex, yet, in a more sophisticated, inter-connected, post global-recession world, the business case is stronger than ever before.
Monday, July 16, 2012 — No Region Specified

Social Entrepreneurship & Social Innovation: Not the Same Thing

Source: CSRWire

At the UN Social Innovation Summit held at the end of May in New York City, a plenary panelist stated that social enterprises and social innovation are “really the same thing.” This conclusion was not questioned and appeared to be a point of view the conference leaders and speakers were eager to adopt.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

Investing for social impact reaps more than financial returns, says Al Tamimi

Source: CPI Financial

For Al Tamimi Investments (ATI), channelling its private capital for social benefit is reaping more than financial returns for its businesses. ATI was founded in 2006 by Emirati business leader Essam Al Tamimi and Rachael Wunsch, an accomplished venture capitalist from Australia. Using personal capital gained from the success of his law firm Al Tamimi & Company, ATI sought to invest in businesses that would enrich and bring value to the UAE community.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 — No Region Specified

3 Lessons From Ideo For Designing The Best Social Enterprises

Source: Fast Company

If you follow the design world, the name Ideo should sound familiar to you. The consultancy firm has worked on major products for some of the biggest companies in the world including Apple, PepsiCo, and Microsoft. But a little over a year ago, Ideo decided providing design solutions for corporate giants wasn’t enough, so they helped form a separate nonprofit organization called focused solely on delivering the firm’s unique human-centered design to nonprofits, social enterprises, and charitable organizations.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Power to More People

Source: Wall Street Journal

Africa may be about to get a whole lot more power. For years, nonprofits have worked to make lighting available and affordable to Africans who aren't connected to a power grid. But they've managed to help only a tiny percentage of that population, mainly by selling them inexpensive kerosene lamps.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Voxtra invests in Mtanga Farms Limited

Source: Seed Investors Blog

The Voxtra East Africa Agribusiness Fund (Voxtra) has completed an investment of US$ 1.5 million in Mtanga Farms Limited (MFL), a commercial farm engaged in seed crops, arable farming and livestock.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Pearson to invest in low-cost private education in Africa and Asia

Source: The Guardian

Pearson, the UK education company and owner of the Financial Times, has launched a £10m fund to invest in private schools in Africa and Asia aimed at providing affordable education for poor children.
Monday, July 9, 2012 — No Region Specified

Social Entrepreneur Wins SVN Hall of Fame Award

Source: Justmeans

Cheryl Dorsey, president of Echoing Green, an organization promoting social entrepreneurship, has been recently named as one of the Social Venture Network's (SVN) Hall of Fame Impact Award Winners as a Visionary Social Entrepreneur. The award is a well-deserved recognition of her pioneering work in the field of social entrepreneurship.
Monday, July 9, 2012 — South Asia

Are mobile phones better than aid?

Source: World and Media

Helping people to use technology can combat poverty more effectively than centralised aid programmes according to a leading development entrepreneur.
Monday, July 9, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Forget Foreign Aid, Focus on Foreign Investment In Women Entrepreneurs

Source: Forbes

Foreign aid can sometimes account for over 90% of a country’s GDP; yet developing nations are quickly learning that foreign aid is not a long-term solution. And over the past few years, we’ve seen just how interconnected the global economy is: a misstep in one economy, affects the global economy.
Monday, July 9, 2012 — No Region Specified

Ashoka Wins First Place In 2012 Global 'Long-Term Capitalism Challenge'

Source: Press Release

San Francisco. Ashoka’s Full Economic Citizenship (FEC), an initiative founded by Ashoka’s Leadership Group Member Valeria Budinich, was named the first place winner of the 2012 Global Long-Term Capitalism Challenge, co-sponsored by the Management Innovation Exchange (the MIX), Harvard Business Review and McKinsey & Company. The announcement capped a day-long global gathering called the MIX MASHUP, where over 200 of the world’s most respected corporate executives, management consultants and thought leaders came together to share their transformative, disruptive management innovations. They gathered from numerous countries to learn which of them had won the top awards from three global competitions held during 2012 (Reinventing Management, Beyond Bureaucracy and the Long-Term Capitalism Challenge) and which corporation overall was voted “Management Innovator of the Year.”
Tuesday, July 3, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Acumen Fund Invests in Paga to Scale Money Transfer Service across Nigeria

Source: Acumen Fund Blog

Lagos - Paga, Nigeria’s leading money transfer service launched in February 2011, today announced it has secured new investments from Adlevo Capital, Omidyar Network, Acumen Fund, Capricorn Investment Group, and current investors Goodwell West Africa Microfinance Development Company.
Monday, July 2, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria: Using Call Centres to Bridge Poverty Gaps Among Unemployed Youths

Source: AllAfrica

Due to the recent economic recession, more people have become unemployed adding to the security problems that are plaguing the country. Evelyn Okoruwa writes on how call centres could bridge poverty gap by providing makeshift jobs for the country's teeming youths.
Monday, July 2, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

New youth savings program launched in Yemen


Silatech and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) have signed an agreement with Al-Amal Microfinance Bank (AMB) and Al-Kuraimi Islamic Microfinance Bank (KIMB) in Yemen to provide financial access to tens of thousands of young Yemenis through an innovative new youth savings program.
Monday, July 2, 2012 — No Region Specified

Rio+20: business should help young people to build a positive future

Source: The Guardian

I spent two weeks tracking Rio+20 as a student reporter seeking to make sense of the sustainable development talks, listening to ministers, CEOs and scientists who opened up trail-blazing perspectives on changing economic and societal paradigms.
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