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  • SC Johnson Funds Startups in Africa

    SC Johnson’s experiment will test a theory about doing business at what’s called the base of the pyramid. That’s where the 4 billion poorest people live. At the top of the pyramid are the 600 million people earning more than $15,000 a year, where most big companies do business. In the middle are the 1.4 billion earning $1,500 to $15,000 a year. Do the slum-dwellers of Nairobi, Kenya, really want Windex and Ziploc bags? You might not think so. But SC Johnson ...

    CNN Money (link opens in a new window)
  • Microvending in Kenya

    MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Microlending is when small amounts of money are loaned to budding entrepreneurs. MicroVENDING is when small business owners sell tiny amounts of their product. This idea is taking off in the impoverished African nation of Kenya. From the Marketplace Entreprenuership Desk, Kitty Felde reports. ??? NAOIMI WAMBUGE: This is our oven. It has assisted us for a long time, that’s why it is wearing out. KITTY FELDE: The kitchen equipment at Nairobi’s Cor...

    Marketplace (link opens in a new window)
  • Vikram Akula, Founder & CEO of SKS Microfinance

    Vikram Akula is on an economic mission: to empower India’s poor. His drive to fight poverty led to the birth of the Hyderabad-based SKS in 1998. It is a microfinance company that lends small amounts of money, typically $100, to impoverished women. The cash is used to buy everything from animals to irons so clients can start their own homegrown ventures. SKS started out as non-profit but later changed its status and is now one of the fastest growing microlenders in the w...

    CNN (link opens in a new window)
  • What’s Wrong With Profit?

    THIS year, as never before, the line between philanthropy and business is blurring. A new generation of philanthropists has stepped forward, for the most part young billionaires who have reaped the benefits of capitalism and believe that it can be applied in the service of charity. They are ?philanthropreneurs,? driven to do good and have their profit, too. Among them are eBay?s founder, Pierre Omidyar, who wants to use investment capital as well as donations to expand the microloan i...

    The New York Times (link opens in a new window)
  • Acumen’s New Model for Third-World Aid

    Acumen’s founder is Jacqueline Novogratz, a former banker with an infectious magnetism and a melodic voice that delivers a constant call to action. Under her leadership, the fund manages $20 million in investments that fall within three portfolios: health, water, and housing. But Acumen’s goal is far larger than successful companies. Says Novogratz: We’re creating an overall design for how you provide goods and services to poor people. Travel northeast out of New Delhi, a...

    BusinessWeek (link opens in a new window)
  • Getting to the Bottom of Bottom-Up Approaches

    Now that Muhammad Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for developing and promoting microfinance banking to help the poor, the media spotlight will shine on his pioneering model. The Grameen Bank success in Bangladesh with bottom-up aid in the form of small loans deserves lavish praise. What’s not to like? Countless disempowered people, primarily women, have been lifted out of poverty through the opportunity to become small entrepreneurs and access financial service...

    Brookings Institution (link opens in a new window)
  • ICICI Seeks 25 Million Rural Clients to Lift Growth

    ICICI Bank Ltd., India’s biggest by market value, plans to lend to 25 million rural clients in five years to sustain record loan growth as the government curbs credit to customers in the cities. The bank will use branches, franchises, telephone kiosks and automated teller machines to lift its rural customer base eightfold, Deputy Managing Director Chanda Kochhar said in an interview in Hyderabad, southern India. Mumbai-based ICICI aims to screen borrowers and approve loans of as l...

    Bloomberg (link opens in a new window)
  • New Report Reveals Potential for the World’s Poor to Bank Through Mobile Phones

    Vodafone Group, with the permission of The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), today publishes a report that reveals the economic and social benefits being created by mobile banking (m-banking) amongst the world?s poorest communities. The report, titled Economic Empowerment through Mobile, is the third in a series of Corporate Responsibility Dialogues produced by Vodafone and includes the results from three independent research projects. Vodafone partnered with Th...

    CSR Wire (link opens in a new window)
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