India’s clean energy industry is growing fast. But the challenges facing enterprises there – and the lessons they are learning – are neither unique to the clean energy industry nor to India. In fact, says Colm Fay at the William Davidson Institute, recent research suggests that India’s clean energy sector is following patterns that can be observed in any nascent industry. He explores how existing knowledge about how industries develop can help guide investment, and provide some clues about what the sector’s future may hold.
The Digital Transformation: Four Opportunities and Three Threats for Traditional Financial Institutions
Digital finance can reduce the annual cost of serving customers by up to 80 percent – one reason why financial services providers are embracing it. As MicroSave founder Graham Wright sees it, this race toward digitization is creating a watershed moment for financial and social inclusion. The sector’s decisions now will determine whether it will contribute to truly inclusive economies – or create a growing digital divide. Wright explores four ways this transformation could help financial services providers and their customers – along with three major pitfalls they must avoid.
Affordable, Scalable, Overlooked: Evaporative Cooling Can Fight Food Loss – Why isn’t the Development Sector Embracing It?
Food loss due to lack of effective storage is a global problem: In sub-Saharan Africa alone, approximately 23 percent of available food is lost or wasted. There’s increasing interest in an innovative yet old-school solution to the problem: evaporative cooling. But though the technology can be adopted with minimal training, low up-front costs and no electricity, it is not widely used. MIT D-Lab research engineer Eric Verploegen explores five ways to increase the effective production, dissemination and usage of this technology.
PayGo vs. MFIs: What Works Better for Energy Access Consumer Financing – And Does it Have to Be Either/Or?
Many last-mile customers can’t afford clean energy products without financial solutions to help pay for them. Energy enterprises often meet this need in two different ways: by partnering with microfinance institutions (MFIs) to provide loans to customers, or by offering pay-as-you-go (PayGo) financing options. The United Nations Capital Development Fund’s CleanStart program has supported energy providers using both of these models, and Teresa Le, an energy finance consultant at the program, explores their relative merits and challenges.
Immigrants Create Jobs – Small Loans Can Help: New Research on the Impact of Supporting Underserved Entrepreneurs
Did you know that immigrants and their children have helped found 60 percent of the most highly valued tech companies in the U.S. (currently worth $3.8 trillion)? That statistic highlights a fact that’s being lost in the immigration debate: Recent immigrants are natural entrepreneurs, who create jobs and economic growth for themselves, their families and their communities. Opportunity Fund’s vice president, Gwendy Brown, explores new research showing how small loans can help immigrants and other underserved entrepreneurs build their businesses and maximize their impact.