Scott Anderson

Friday Roundup ? 9/2/11: SOCAP11 and Getting the Poor on the Grid

It’s the calm before the (exciting) storm that is SOCAP11, which begins Tuesday (Sept. 6) . We’ve been highlighting just a few of the many professionals who will be highlighting the impact investing event this week.

Much as some might like to move on from the bogged down discussion around definitions, it’s a perennial issue. How do we properly designate social and monetary gains?

Jigar Shah, CEO of the nonprofit Carbon War Room that aims to fight climate change through entrepreneurship, threw down the gauntlet this week in his Huffington Post piece, Impact Investing Defined, in which he argues that Impact Investing is not, and should not, be a subset of Socially Responsible Investing. Money quote:

“The reality is that some socially responsible investments can be impact investments, but not all impact investments are socially responsible investments. So, SRIs are really a subset of impact investing. According to the Monitor Institute’s new report “impact investors want to move beyond ’socially responsible investment’.”

His definition for impact investment goals looks like this:

1. Make an impact in solving a pressing problem of our time,
2. Generate compelling returns for investors,
3. Generate growth for economies, and
4. Generate prosperity for developed and developing nations.

I couldn’t agree more.

Getting the Poor on the Grid

From mobile money kiosks to cloud based cell phone initiatives, the push is on to get the world’s poor connected to financial institutions and the broader “grid.” But none are more ambitious (or perhaps more ominous) than India’s Unique Identification project to collect biometric information, including fingerprints and iris scans of every last Indian citizen.

Wired has a fascinating look at the process to bring hundreds of millions of people into the formal economy. (The project plans to have 600 million Indians processed by 2014). But what of the privacy costs in the world’s biggest democracy? Do the economic ends justify the civil liberties’ means?

What’s Up at WDI

The William Davidson Institute, where I work, has just published the summer 2011 edition of the Davidson Review, detailing numerous initiatives across the world in the BoP. It includes a feature on Prashant Yadav, the new director of the WDI Healthcare Research Initiative and an expert on global pharmaceutical supply chains. Check out what one of NextBillion’s Managing Partners is up to by downloding the report here.

One Holiday Note

Due to the U.S. Labor Day Holiday, NextBillion will be taking a rare weekday off on Monday. We’ll be back on Tuesday!

In Case You Missed It … This Week on NextBillion

NextThought Monday Gearing Up for SOCAP11: Milaap’s Service-Focused Journey By Pankaj Jain

SOCAP11 Preview: How to Design Empathy and Other Projects By Nilima Achwal

Improving Mother, Newborn Care is Aim of Jacaranda Health By Rose Reis

How to Reach Out to Rural India? Practitioners and Academics In Dialogue By Martin Herrndorf

5 Things Global Development Can Learn From Stand-Up Comedy By Oscar Abello

SOCAP11 Preview: Legal Catch-Up With Social Innovation By Pankaj Jain

Social,Inclusive Businesses in Brazil, A Progress Report By Vivianne Naigeborin

ViewChange Video of the Week: From Kenya, the Commercial, Ecological Life of a Flip Flop by ViewChange LinkTV

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