Scott Anderson

NexThought Monday – Announcing the Most Influential Posts of 2013

We asked for your vote, and NextBillion readers cast more than 16,000 in our contest to pick the Most Influential Posts of the year. (That’s about 20 times more than voted during last year’s contest.)

These contests are always a tricky prospect. On NB we try to answer those four W’s and an H they teach in journalism school: who, what, where, when and how. And considering the wide swath of what you could call development through enterprise – from the what of investment/funding to enterprise development to the how of technologies like solar and infrastructure to the why of impact assessment and metrics – what constitutes “influential” to one might be irrelevant to another.

But, given the volume of votes this year, I’m feeling pretty confident that our winners are solidly influential with our engaged community. So, without further adieu, the winners:

First place with 36 percent of the vote

8 Defining Milestones in India’s Social Enterprise Landscape by Perzen Patel

Perzen, who is the communications manager for Ennovent, took the opportunity of India’s 67th year of freedom to explore eight milestones that have played an important role in shaping India’s social enterprise landscape. These aren’t just lessons for India enterprises alone, but for all social enterprises. Money quote:

“Steve Jobs – though unrelated to social enterprise – said: ’You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future.’ Similarly, not only do these eight milestones define India’s social enterprise landscape but they also act as important opportunities for reflection on the way forward – for entrepreneurs, investors, accelerators and governments alike.”

Second place with 24 percent of the vote

What’s Next for Impact Investing?: The value of a formal fund structure to maximize impact By Bob Webster

Bob’s post was part of our What’s Next for Impact Investing?: The value of a formal fund structure to maximize impact. As the chief operating officer of Grassroots Business Fund (GBF), he made the case for a for-profit/nonprofit hybrid model for developing entrepreneurs and investing in them. Here’s the money quote:

“GBF took a giant leap in this direction by recently establishing a hybrid model that includes: (1) a formal fund with institutional and angel investors (with the rigor, transparency and performance they demand); and (2) its not-for-profit serving as both the fund manager and the vehicle for ‘side-car’ business advisory services, providing support for the fund’s portfolio companies.”

Third place with 6 percent of the vote

Put Down the Champagne, Pick Up the Computer Mouse: For solar power to reach poor consumers, the focus must be on results By Yotam Ariel

Finally, Yotam Ariel, who railed against the status quo of big, flashy economic development conferences, stirred up plenty of discussion this year. Ariel is co-founder of BOPASA, an after-sales system for solar products used by rural poor.

Please join me in congratulating our winning contributors and all who made the list.




Base of the Pyramid, financial inclusion