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
Thursday, August 30, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

New alliance for food security would accelerate agricultural development -Namoale

Source: Business Ghana

The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, an initiative to lift 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years through sustained agricultural growth, was on Wednesday launched in Accra.
Thursday, August 30, 2012 — Asia Pacific

New Impact Investing Stock Exchange Is Making Steady Progress

Source: Forbes

It looks as though The Impact Exchange Board, or the iX, a ground-breaking publicly regulated social stock exchange, has been making steady progress since it launched about a year ago.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 — No Region Specified

DemystData Announces Series A Investment to Help Financial Institutions Grow Through Deeper Customer Data

Source: PR Web

Strategic investment from Accion and Arbor Partners Asia strengthens DemystData's position in the $12 billion big data marketplace.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 — Europe & Eurasia

Reverse innovation brings social solutions to developed countries

Source: The Guardian

Social entrepreneurship often focuses on finding solutions to problems in the developing world. But, as the European Union battles with the ongoing recession and the US experiences rising levels of poverty, social enterprise solutions are increasingly appropriate in advanced industrial countries as well.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 — Asia Pacific

Haircuts Can be Serious Business for Myanmar Women

Source: The Jakarta Globe

Khin May Phyo, 18, fought back tears as she bickered with the barber over the length of her haircut. “If you want to make 20,000 kyat [23 dollars], then it has to be cut here,” said Kay Aye Mon, chopping the girl’s waist-length hair at the base of her neck with her palm.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012 — South Asia

Institute for sustainable enterprise takes off

Source: Business Standard

An innovative concept to promote green technology and support entrepreneurs to build a sustainable business on this much needed space has taken shape in Bangalore. Indian Institute for Sustainable Enterprise (IISE), promoted by some well known global and Indian personalities has kicked off its operations and is set to launch its post-graduate certificate programme in sustainable enterprise shortly.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012 — Europe & Eurasia

Unilever sees 'return to poverty' in Europe

Source: The Telegraph

Unilever will adopt marketing strategies used in developing countries in order to drive future growth in Europe, as the head of its European business warned that poverty will rise in the region as a result of the debt crisis.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The Rockefeller Foundation Supports Impact Investing Policy Research in Africa

Source: Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation through its Impact Investing initiative is funding research in five sub-Saharan African countries which will contribute to two overarching goals: understanding the policy barriers and enabling environment for impact investing across Africa and recommending national policies to encourage the growth of the industry for the ultimate benefit of poor or vulnerable communities.
Monday, August 27, 2012 — South Asia

Is a Youth Revolution Brewing in India?

Source: The New York Times

Among the world’s major countries, India has the youngest population, and the oldest leaders. A startling four-decade gap between the median age of India’s people and that of its government officials most recently reared its head with a heavy-handed and widely-maligned crackdown on free speech on the Internet.
Monday, August 27, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Innovation in Africa: Upwardly mobile

Source: The Economist

VISITORS to Kenya’s capital are often horrified by the homicidal minibuses called matatu. They swerve around potholes, seldom signal and use their iffy brakes only at the last second. They are therefore an ideal subject for a video game, which is why Planet Rackus, a Nairobi start-up, released “Ma3Racer” last year. Each player uses his mobile phone to steer a matatu down the street. The (unrealistic) goal is to avoid pedestrians. Within a month, a quarter of a million people in 169 countries had downloaded the game.
Monday, August 27, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa innovations: 15 ideas helping to transform a continent

Source: The Guardian

A mobile phone database for dairy farmers and a strain of sweet potato that can help fight child blindness. These are just two of the imaginative new ideas that are tackling Africa's old problems
Friday, August 24, 2012 — No Region Specified

Will Renewable Energy Be the Focus of Crowdfunding Social Entrepreneurs?

Source: Ecopreneurist

With the advent of Crowdfund Investing (aka equity or debt-based crowdfunding) will we now see technology merge with social entrepreneurship to solve some of the world’s leading societal problems?
Friday, August 24, 2012 — South Asia

TISS to fund, mentor entrepreneurship students

Source: The Indian Express

The social entrepreneurship students of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), keen on starting their venture at a time when the economy is volatile, now have a back-up. The institute has introduced a scheme this year to fund and mentor students pursuing masters in social entrepreneurship for three years.
Thursday, August 23, 2012 — No Region Specified

An App For Boosting Social Enterprise Retailers

Source: Forbes

Here’s a good idea: Boosting social enterprise through a useful app. Specifically, one that helps like-minded customers find triple bottom line retailers in their area. Consumers who want to patronize such enterprises get easy access to information they probably wouldn’t know about otherwise. And businesses have an effective way to market their wares.
Thursday, August 23, 2012 — No Region Specified

Social enterprise should be made central to higher education strategy

Source: The Guardian

When I went to university in the late 1970s, fewer than 20% of school leavers when on to higher education. Some degrees were clearly vocational (medicine perhaps the most obvious example), but most were not. My module on the Comparative Government of Indonesia and Nigeria has not, I'm afraid to say, been of direct relevance to me in the world of work.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 — No Region Specified

Tackling food waste through a social enterprise model

Source: The Guardian

The founder of social enterprise Rubies in the Rubble, proves that you can run a company with a business head and a charitable heart
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 — South Asia

Start-ups like InVenture flourish with technology services for micro finance firms

Source: The Economic Times

BANGALORE: A new wave of start-up companies is building technology enabled services aimed at bridging the communication gap between borrowers and lenders in the embattled microfinance industry.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Rwanda: Tigo Unveils New Package for Social Entrepreneurs

Source: All Africa

Tigo and "Reach for Change", an international NGO, have launched a new campaign with an aim of supporting social entrepreneurs to enhance the lives of Rwandan youth.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 — No Region Specified

SIFP and Fledge Form Partnership

Source: Fledge Press Release

Social Innovation Fast Pitch (“SIFP”) has partnered with Fledge, the “conscious company” incubator, to provide additional advice, mentorship, and support to the for-profit finalists of the SIFP 2012 program. Additionally, the SIFP 2012 Fund II investors have selected Fledge to manage the operations of this year’s $100,000 investment fund.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 — No Region Specified

Ditch The Hero Complex, And 3 Other Tips For Female Social Entrepreneurs

Source: Forbes

Ten years ago, social entrepreneurship was a pretty lonely field. There weren’t degree programs or associations; impact investing and microfinance were barely even recognized terms. Even organizations like Ashoka – which has a 25-year history of investing in entrepreneurs with high potential for solving social problems – would have struggled to promote their “Everyone a Changemaker” vision.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 — Asia Pacific

Rural banks partner with telcos to boost microfinance

Source: The Manila Times

Rural banks will soon have their own set of “killer apps” to better compete with bigger banks and, more importantly, expand their microfinance services in the Philippines.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 — South Asia

It is important to make money in business, but not at the cost of ethics and values: Sam Pitroda

Source: The Economic Times

Sam Pitroda, who led the telecom revolution in India, says the second phase will see a slew of opportunities for startups in areas such as broadband, mobile applications and local content. Pitroda, an advisor to the Prime Minister on public information infrastructure and innovation, is helping the government launch a $1-billion fund to invest in bottom-of-the-pyramid innovations. In conversation with ET he retraces a journey that has seen him survive cancer and bypass surgeries. Excerpts:
Monday, August 20, 2012 — South Asia

India’s microfinance industry gets some relief

Source: Devex

It’s a period in history that India’s microfinance industry would probably rather forget: In late 2010, more than 200 poor residents of the Andhra Pradesh state committed suicide allegedly due to excessive pressure from microcreditors for debt repayments. Backlash against microfinance institutions not just in the state but the whole of India followed.
Monday, August 20, 2012 — No Region Specified

SolarKiosk: Mobile Modular Power for Really Remote Areas

Source: GOOD

For those who’ve grown up constantly plugged into the power grid, it’s almost impossible to think of life without an endless supply of outlets, power cords, and technology. But for an estimated 1.5 billion people around the world, power—from cutting and burning firewood to lighting kerosene lamps, paraffin, and candles—doesn't come easy.
Friday, August 17, 2012 — Asia Pacific

The size and scale of Chinese social entrepreneurship

Source: Guardian

While the social entrepreneurship field has been around for several decades in some countries, it has only begun to emerge in China in the last decade. So there is little understanding about the current organisational structures, origin, size, scope of work and impact of social enterprises in China.
Friday, August 17, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

A continent goes shopping

Source: The Economist

AFRICAN consumers are underserved and overcharged, reckons Frank Braeken, Unilever’s boss in Africa. Until recently, South Africans who craved shampoo made specially for African hair, or cosmetics for black skin, had little choice besides costly American imports. Unilever spotted an opportunity: its Motions range of shampoos and conditioners is now a hit.
Friday, August 17, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

The Secret of Africa’s Banking Boom: Mobility

Source: TIME

While U.S. and European banks suffer hangovers from the Great Recession and continued shock waves inside the eurozone, Africa’s top lenders have never looked stronger or been more ambitious. Why is a continent better known for political instability and foreign aid riding a banking boom characterized by aggressive pan-African expansion and swelling balance sheets?
Thursday, August 16, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Acumen Fund Announces Duncan Onyango as New Director of Acumen Fund East Africa

Source: Acumen Fund Blog

Nairobi, Kenya, August 15, 2012 – Acumen Fund, a pioneering nonprofit global venture firm addressing poverty across Africa and in South Asia, today announced Duncan Onyango as the new Director of Acumen Fund East Africa. Mr. Onyango joins from Rift Valley Railways having served as Group Chief Finance Officer. He replaces Biju Mohandas who is leaving Acumen after five years of leading Acumen’s local office and building the portfolio to its current size of $29 million in cumulative investments. Mr. Mohandas will play an informal role through this transition.
Thursday, August 16, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Ghana: Midland to Deplore 300 ATMs, 5,000 POS Devices

Source: All Africa

Midland Savings &Loans Company Limited, the leader in Ghana's microfinance sector has disclosed that it would add up four more branches this year to it existing branches to further bring banking services to its numerous customers across the country.
Thursday, August 16, 2012 — No Region Specified

Does the one-for-one social enterprise model paper over the cracks?

Source: Guardian

Giving one product away for every one sold has its benefits, but some believe it ignores the deeper roots of poverty
Wednesday, August 15, 2012 — Asia Pacific

TISS, DBS Bank tie-up to support social entrepreneurship

Source: First Post

Singapore-based DBS Bank and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) joined hands to launch a programme which will support social entrepreneurship.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012 — No Region Specified

UN Unveils Sustainable Devt Network on Global Problems

Source: This Day Live

The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, has launched a new independent global network of research centres, universities and technical institutions to help find solutions for some of the world's most pressing environmental, social and economic problems.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012 — No Region Specified

With $2M from Eric Schmidt, biNu brings smartphone apps to dumb phones

Source: GigaOM

Eric Schmidt’s Tomorrow Ventures is leading a $2 million Series A round in biNu, an Australian startup that enables feature phones to run cloud-based smartphone apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia and Google. BiNu highlights the opportunity in developing markets where smartphone penetration is low.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Rwanda to develop off-grid lighting


LAGOS, Nigeria, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Approximately 85 percent of Rwanda's population has no access to the electricity grid, leading energy officials to seek "off-grid" solutions. GVEP International, a charity that battles poverty and climate change by promoting access to modern and renewable energy sources, has produced a report outlining investment possibilities in Rwanda's off-grid electrical sector, which includes solar lanterns and solar photovoltaic systems.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012 — No Region Specified

Bill Gates Thinks About Poop - And You Should Too

Source: Forbes

On Tuesday and Wednesday, engineers, philanthropists, media and more from around the world will gather at the the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle for the “Reinvent the Toilet Fair,” a $3 million project funded in grants by the Foundation that will showcase revolutionary new toilets that don’t need water, electricity or even a connection to a sewage system. The goal of the project is to help improve the lives of the 2.6 billion people in the third world who do not have access to a toilet.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Avon's 'Lipstick Evangelism' Shows Promise in Poverty Fight

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

Lipstick may be the newest weapon in the fight against global poverty. A recent study (PDF) by University of Oxford researchers suggests that selling Avon (AVP) cosmetics have helped women in South Africa become financially independent. Other businesses are mimicking Avon’s model of direct sales as a way to alleviate poverty in developing countries.
Monday, August 13, 2012 — No Region Specified

Will Crowdfunding Ignite Investing For Profits And Purpose?

Source: Forbes

Can you earn a healthy return on your investment and help change the world at the same time? If you haven’t been paying attention, there are already thousands of entrepreneurs and investors betting that you can, with a multibillion-dollar market to show for it.
Monday, August 13, 2012 — No Region Specified

Is Your Social Venture Really Worth Scaling?

Source: Harvard Business Review

Although scaling is the holy grail for most social entrepreneurs, not everyone should attempt it. In a previous post, I outlined the key capabilities I've found to be present in the social ventures that are able to reach sizeable impact (which can be remembered with the acronym SCALERS—they are Staffing, Communicating, Alliance-Building, Lobbying, Earnings-Generation, Replicating, and Stimulating Market Forces). Before a social entrepreneur gets to work building those capabilities, however, it makes sense to ask the question: Is this venture really ready to scale?
Monday, August 13, 2012 — South Asia

Future Group to pitch Mother Earth chain against retailer Fab India

Source: The Economic Times

MUMBAI: Future Group, the country's largest retailer, will pitch its Mother Earth chain directly against ethnic products retailer Fabindia by expanding rapidly and borrowing its rival's social enterprise-style business model.
Friday, August 10, 2012 — South Asia

‘Innovation must happen spontaneously’

Source: The Hindu Business Line

R. Gopalakrishnan, Director, Tata Sons, on Thursday said that innovation is not just about being first in the market or taking big bets. Innovation is rather something that happens spontaneously.
Friday, August 10, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Boyd's power play a ray of light for world's poor

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Almost every entrepreneur says they want to "change the world", but for Australian Boyd Whalan, the phrase is more than just a cheap cliche.
Thursday, August 9, 2012 — No Region Specified

More NGOs finding fruitful collaborations with the private sector

Source: The Guardian

The relationship between NGOs and the private sector used to be combative rather than collaborative. However, that is rapidly changing.
Thursday, August 9, 2012 — South Asia

Government assisting SMEs development to reduce poverty

Source: Pakistan Observer

Islamabad—The government has made strategic shift in its strategies to assist infrastructural development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in order to enhance productivety and exports of this particular sector to help reduce poverty in the country.
Thursday, August 9, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa: The Last Investment Frontier

Source: Forbes

If you are the adventurous sort and happen to find yourself strolling the streets of Tripoli, Libya, you may smell the familiar aroma of cinnamon buns baking. U.S. bakery chain Cinnabon opened a new café in downtown Tripoli, making it the first American franchise to set up shop in the country. You can bet that more will be following.
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Wednesday, August 8, 2012 — No Region Specified

4 Tips On Scaling From Open-Source Pioneers

Source: Forbes

How do you quickly scale an innovation? The industrial-age strategy is well-understood: A generation ago, when General Motors wanted to sell more cars, it scraped together a few billion dollars in capital; built factories; hired designers, engineers, assemblers and patent attorneys; and pumped new Buicks and Caddies through its captive dealer network.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012 — No Region Specified

Impact Engine Announces Inaugural Class of 2012

Source: The Impact Engine

CHICAGO, August 8, 2012 — Impact Engine, a new accelerator that supports for-profit businesses trying to make the world a better place, welcomes eight early stage companies into the program’s first-ever class. From empowering women in rural India to improving education in the United States to providing renewable energy to the people of Africa, the 2012 class includes a diverse group of entrepreneurs tackling both domestic and global challenges.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Nigeria's low-cost tablet computer

Source: BBC

Nigeria's Saheed Adepoju is a young man with big dreams. He is the inventor of the Inye, a tablet computer designed for the African market. According to the 29-year-old entrepreneur, his machine's key selling point is its price - $350 (£225) opposed to around $700 for an iPad.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Ugandan Billionaire Ashish Thakkar Launches Venture Capital Fund For Young Entrepreneurs

Source: Ventures Africa

VENTURES AFRICA – Ugandan billionaire businessman Ashish J. Thakkar, under the auspices of the Mara foundation, a non-profit enterprise of Mara Group, today announced the formation and launch of a venture capital firm – Mara Launch Uganda Fund to support the needs of today’s entrepreneurs.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012 — Latin America

A Look Inside Pipa, Brazil’s First Start-Up Incubator

Source: Fast Company

Pipa (Portuguese for “kite”) is an incubator, or to be more specific an accelerator, focused on supporting entrepreneurs looking to create long-term sustainable value through business. We aim to support these entrepreneurs in their quest to create positive social, environmental and financial impact, something Brazil is engaging with more and more.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012 — No Region Specified

Morgan Stanley and Other Banks Get Serious About Sustainable Investing

Source: Institutional Investor

NO ONE CAN ACCUSE MORGAN STANLEY OF MERELY flirting with sustainable investment products. The April launch of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney’s Investing with Impact Platform and a similarly named firmwide initiative make it one of a handful of banks to institutionalize socially responsible investing.
Monday, August 6, 2012 — South Asia

Ideas man: professor in quest for India's rural inventions

Source: Hindustan Times

t's 43 degrees Celsius, and Prof. Anil Gupta has been hiking the scorched plains of central India for hours. But he smiles widely as he enters a tiny village in search of another unsung genius. "If you have any new ideas or you have any new inventions, I'm here to promote you," he tells farmers squatting beside a dusty roadside shrine to Lord Shiva.
Monday, August 6, 2012 — South Asia

India’s RBI Eases Regulations for Non-Bank Microfinance Lenders

Source: Bloomberg

India’s central bank eased norms for non-bank microfinance companies, removing a cap on lending rates and relaxing risk-provision standards, after some lenders found it difficult to meet existing regulations.
Monday, August 6, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

Helping Africa manufacture its own emergency and disaster relief supplies

Source: The Guardian

In the current humanitarian emergencies in South Sudan, Somalia, Niger and Kenya, the strong likelihood is that tarpaulins – one of the most basic relief items – will have come from China.
Friday, August 3, 2012 — South Asia

Test-driving the ‘World’s Cheapest Computer’

Source: New York Times

India’s “Aakash” project, a tablet billed as the cheapest computer in the world, hopes to revolutionize learning in Indian colleges and universities. We’ve been following the ups and downs of the Aakash project closely here at India Ink and were delighted when we were allowed to test drive the new, improved version, known as the Aakash-2, at the ministry of Human Resources Development.
Thursday, August 2, 2012 — No Region Specified

Goldman Sachs In Jail: Why Is Big Money Moving Into Social Impact Bonds?

Source: International Business Times

The so-called "social-impact bond" investment at Rikers Island prison, the first of its kind for an American city, means any potential return for Goldman hinges on the success of a program that will educate, train and counsel inmates aged between 16 and 18.
Thursday, August 2, 2012 — Sub-Saharan Africa

U-M researcher deals with hope, not charity, in far corners

Source: Detroit News

On the east side of Nairobi, in a slum called Mukuru, Ted London went looking for outhouses and found a Steve Yzerman hockey jersey.
Thursday, August 2, 2012 — No Region Specified

US intelligence predicts poverty plummet by 2030


ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — Poverty across the planet will be virtually eliminated by 2030, with a rising middle class of some two billion people pushing for more rights and demanding more resources, the chief of the top U.S. intelligence analysis shop said Saturday.
Thursday, August 2, 2012 — No Region Specified

74 Million Served, and Counting: 10th Annual Class of Global Social Entrepreneurs Coming to Silicon Valley

Source: Market Watch

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Aug 02, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Anuj Sharma's startup company, Sarvajal, has found a way to bring clean water to thousands of households in rural India, who would otherwise have to walk miles or drink disease-causing dirty water. Sarvajal dispenses water from solar-powered, ATM-like machines. Customers pay around $3 a month with their cell phones, and special mobile technology alerts the company if there are problems with any of its 157 franchised machines.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012 — North Africa and Near East

Building a New Pyramid

Source: Forbes India

Today, more than a year after the downfall of the Mubarak regime, Egypt needs to build a new pyramid -- a huge task involving parallel processes of political, economic and social reform. It needs leadership that can inspire the nation. Can Egypt find the leadership it needs?
Wednesday, August 1, 2012 — Latin America

Digital Money, Mobile Wallets and Latin America

Source: Huffington Post

A recent wave of global and regional announcements regarding mobile wallets and payment systems has casual and close followers alike asking some the same questions.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012 — No Region Specified

University Impact Fund Receives $100,000 Grant from Sorenson Impact Foundation

Source: Market Watch

SALT LAKE CITY, Jul 31, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- --Sorenson Impact Foundation Founder James Lee Sorenson is a Champion of Social Entrepreneurship. The University Impact Fund (UIF) today announced the receipt of a $100,000 grant from the Sorenson Impact Foundation, which will go towards improving operations and strengthening the program.
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