Rob Katz

Google.org Places SME Initiative “On the Back Burner”

Google Dot OrgHere at NextBillion.net, we believe in the power of small and medium sized enterprises to spur economic development at the bottom of the pyramid. This idea – one of the core principles of the “development through enterprise” movement that’s gaining steam in business and development circles alike, enjoys widespread support. Unfortunately, that support just fell off a little bit – at least financially.

In a blog post dated December 23 of last year, Google.org’s Sonal Shah announced that Google.org – the philanthropic arm of the eponymous search-engine giant – will be “putting [its] SME initiative on the back burner” in 2009. Dot Org first announced its support of small and medium enterprise development this time last year – read the full press release for details.

In her blog post, Shah reassures current SME grantees that Google Dot Org will continue to support the grants and investments its already made. That’s small comfort to the number of worthy intermediaries, technical advisors and nascent venture funds that might have otherwise received support from Google. Yes, by shifting resources away from small and medium enterprise development, Google Dot Org will be able to better focus its invesments; this may be the right strategic choice for them. Still, it’s a tough pill to swallow, especially as a number of non-profits look into the funding abyss that is 2009.

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Agriculture
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agribusiness