Social entrepreneurs working in next-gen tech startups are often well-versed in the intricacies of acquiring early-stage investments. But according to Sahaj Desai, they may be less aware of another type of financing that can be equally vital to their growth: bridge funding. Desai explores the uses and advantages of this funding, and why it can be uniquely valuable to social startups.
A Closer Look at The World’s Largest Unaddressed Disability: Leveraging Inclusive Business to Eradicate Poor Vision
Uncorrected poor vision affects some 2.5 billion people, costing the global economy $227 billion a year in lost productivity. Yet though 90% of these people live in developing countries, the problem ranks low on the global development agenda – even though it can often be fixed by a simple pair of glasses. Jayanth Bhuvaraghan at Essilor explores the issue, and discusses an innovative solution: the Eye Mitra program, which trains youth in emerging countries to become micro-entrepreneurs, providing primary vision care and selling low-cost eyeglasses in their communities.
Good News for Microfinance: Grameen America Discusses Promising New Research on its Anti-Poverty Impact
In an atmosphere of considerable skepticism about microfinance's anti-poverty impact, Grameen America recently released some positive findings: Early results from an RCT on its group lending model show solid impacts on areas ranging from members' credit scores to their business operations. NextBillion spoke with Marcus Berkowitz, VP of Technology & Innovation at Grameen America, to discuss these results and their implications for microfinance in the U.S. and globally.
When it comes to building inclusive economic systems, Kenya is often held up as a global standard. And with 73% mobile money penetration and 82% financial inclusion rates, it's easy to see why. But as Brigit Helms at DAI points out, the “Silicon Savannah” isn't always as inclusive as it seems. She explores four reasons why the country is still falling short in serving its most excluded communities and customers.
Most attempts to create energy access without considering its social impact will simply end up as a checked box on a list, without moving the needle on any of the SDGs, writes Saurabh Biswas, a PhD candidate at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability. He explores a new study where researchers were embedded with companies and non-profits in Nepal, the Philippines, Uganda and Bolivia. The research points to the value of “multi-dimensional partnerships” that bring together not only energy companies and consumers, but other diverse stakeholders.