How Big Data in the Backroads of Africa Will Help Feed the Hungry
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
To do good, gathering donations from good-hearted people isn’t enough. The most efficient and effective way to bring about positive change is through business, partnering the profit motive with a project that helps improve lives.
That’s the kind of model Chamutal Afek Eitam is trying to develop in order to feed starving kids in Africa – the last scenario in the world where one would expect an investment and profit model to work. Yet Eitam has developed a model that will bring aid to the neediest and food to the poorest people in the world, in a program that will be funded not by donations, but by investments – which Eitam believes will return a profit for investors.
“Investments are a better way to fund things than donations, and our model marries business methods with assistance,” Eitam said. “Our objective is to change the way aid is distributed, eliminate waste in the aid industry, and spread resources more effectively.”
Eitam was one of 200 entrepreneurs, investors, and visitors from abroad who gathered at the annual ID2 (Israeli Designed International Development) conference in Caesarea to discuss ways investors can impact the developing world, both for positive effect and for profit.
“We see ourselves as an incubator for potential future collaboration, connecting the unconnected,” said conference co-chair Daniel Ben Yehuda. “There are lots of great ideas out there that can help emerging markets, but you need a practical plan in order to bring those ideas to the people who need them. This is the place for entrepreneurs to learn how to do that, and to connect with investors who are interested in impacting the developing world.”
“We recently spoke with investors from the KfW German Development Bank, who are very interested in impact investing,” said conference co-chair Danielle Abraham. “Israel was not too long ago itself a developing economy, and Israelis in areas like farming and agricultural technology know how to develop technologies that help farmers thrive, despite challenging environmental and social situations. The Germans see Israel as a window into the developing world, which can help them reach large populations that were until now unreachable.”