When it comes to off-grid solar energy, we tend to think of market extremes such as rural poor people in developing countries without any electricity or well-off people in developed countries looking to charge up their Teslas. But Lori Chatman of Enterprise Community Loan Fund and Ismael Guerrero of the Denver Housing Authority detail a project to bring green power to public housing residents in the Mile High City. The project could serve as a model for impact investors looking to improve health, expand green jobs and earn a return.
Getting Real About Innovation: Why Accion’s U.S. Network Made the Leap to Digitize its Lending Operations
Technology can boost small businesses' access to finance, but can also risk trapping them in a cycle of debt. And for lenders serving lower-income entrepreneurs, these risks and rewards are more acute. Gina Harman, CEO of Accion’s U.S. Network, discusses its ambitious efforts to digitize lending operations across its national online platform in this podcast Q&A, exploring how established organizations can adapt to emerging technologies – without compromising their missions.
The nonprofit funding wall is real, says Kathleen Kelly Janus, leaving two-thirds of U.S. nonprofits at $500,000 and below in revenue. In “Social Startup Success: How the Best Nonprofits Launch, Scale Up and Make a Difference,” she explores how some social ventures are able to break through and scale, and shares lessons that are relevant to both nonprofit and for-profit enterprises. NextBillion editor Sonya Vann DeLoach discusses the book’s message with the author in this thought-provoking Q&A.
If it takes a village to raise a child, then it takes an entire ecosystem to shepherd a social enterprise from inception to scale. But that ecosystem too often is splintered with investors, accelerators and other advisors sorting themselves into silos. Alex Pan and Mark Correnti, with the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, advocate for a "structured collaboration," with accelerators taking the lead as honest brokers.
Different Disasters, Same Solution? Applying New Orleans’ Post-Hurricane Model to Revive Detroit’s Neighborhoods
Hurricane Katrina's fury struck New Orleans over the course of hours while relentless economic stagnation plagued Detroit for decades. But these very different challenges created similar outcomes: huge population losses, real estate foreclosures and economic devastation. On Martin Luther King Day, NextBillion is focusing on domestic economic issues and urban renewal. Develop Detroit's Sean White explains how the real estate development firm is applying the Crescent City's formula for rebirth to the Motor City's ongoing neighborhood revival.