Rob Katz

News Roundup: Investments in People, Philanthrocapitalism and the SSIR

A spate of blogworthy mainstream media articles have come out recently, prompting this base of the pyramid news roundup:

Over the weekend, the Financial Times ran two pieces side by side.? The first, entitled ’Investing in People’ by journalist Sarah Murray, smartly discusses the role of Ashoka, Endeavor and Acumen Fund.? Jacqueline Novogratz – my boss – described it as one of the best treatments of the BoP concept she’s seen yet.? I tend to agree.On the right column, next to Murray’s piece, was an opinion column by Michael Edwards, author of Just Another Emporer: The Myths and Realities of Philanthrocapitalism.? His article, entitled ’Misguided Calls for Business Thinking’, rails against the trend of non-profits behaving more like businesses.?

Read these two – Murray’s and Edwards’ – side-by-side for full effect.

Also making BoP news is the Stanford Social Innovation Review, which just released its Summer 2008 issue.? The volume includes a thoughtful piece by Grameen Foundation CEO Alex Counts entitled “Reimagining Microfinance.”? Counts argues that microfinance institutions need not choose between financial sustainability and achieving their social missions.? Rather, by thinking of microfinance as a platform – not a product – institutions can indeed serve the poor, profitably.? Read this soon – it’s free on the SSIR web site – but may disappear behind the firewall in a month or two.

Also in the SSIR are two book reviews: the first, by NextBillion ally and BOPreneur blogger Paul Hudnut, reviews Paul Polak’s Out of Poverty.? The second, by George Washington University professor Stephen Smith, reviews Muhammad Yunus’ Creating a World Without Poverty.? Before you grab beach reading this summer, check out Hudnut’s and Smith’s reviews.