Francisco Noguera

Lunch Time Roundup: Defining Social Enterprise and The Latest on Water Concerns

dictI believe that the dialogue on philantrocapitalism featured in NextBillion is actually rooted in a matter of pure semantics. As Edwards points out in his book, the whole conversation surrounding has coined a number of terms (Social Enterprise/Entrepreneurship, patient/creative capital/capitalism, blended value, double/triple bottom line, B, M and ToP, inclusive business, and the list goes on…) that can create confusion and may pose a risk overheating for the sector. Even SMEs are now being called Small and Growing Businesses. Not that I disagree; we want them to grow and become the next microfinance, but agreeing on a nomenclature wouldn’t hurt. By the way, stay tuned next week for a wrap-up of the ANDE conference.?????

Anyway, I guess this is the case for any growing sector and challenges like Edwards’ are necessary for the it to gain maturity and continue its consolidation. Skoll Foundation has previously tackled the question of definition, and two recent papers continue the conversation around key issues for the sector’s maturity: the first, by CGAP, discusses the (some may argue) blurring line between the for- and non-profit models, analyzing ownership and governance challenges faced by MFIs as they leave the NGO model and transform into commercial institutions.? Also, Harvard Business School discusses the future of social enterprise, as part of its year-long 100th birthday celebrations.

On another note, just a couple of links to remain current on the latest water debate: Scientific American offers a very informative piece on the coming water crisis, possible courses of action and how it will affect everyone at the base and elsewhere in the economic pyramid.?This week’s?Economist also goes into water shortages focusing on the markets and pricing issues, as does Aguanomics’ David Zetland in a recent Forbes article. All?pieces seem to agree at least on one point: sooner than later, prices?will keep us from taking water for granted.