Scott Anderson

From the BoP Summit: Next Steps In Finance

Graham Macmillan has been on both sides of the social enterprise funding question. Before joining the Citi Foundation as senior program officer – financial inclusion, he served as senior director of VisionSpring. (The low-cost eyeglasses company, which manages a network of sales agents and clinics in India and El Salvador, is practically a household name in social enterprise circles).

Macmillan carries the perspective of both of the donor/investor evaluating partnerships and deals, as well as that of a social entrepreneur with practical concerns like trying reach that all-elusive scale, making sustainable profits and securing investors.

I caught up with him at the BoP Summit just after he participated in a funders panel. We chatted about a wide range of issues including the evolution of business models for social mission companies; creating better partnerships between businesses, NGOs and funders; how to harness a growing pipeline of young talent (i.e., the new generation of business and multidisciplinary graduates who have studied and/or worked at inclusive businesses); improving financial inclusion through behavioral tools and algorithms that harness big data, and how financial innovation models from developing countries are playing a bigger role in the United States.

We cover a lot of ground in this video interview, so here are a few links to resources and NB posts Macmillan references in the course of our conversation:

  • U.S. Financial Diaries project, led by the Ford Foundation, the Citi Foundation and the Omidyar Network is tracking more than 200 low- and moderate-income households in the United States over the course of a year. Utilizing the same methodology found in the book, Portfolios of the Poor: How the World’s Poor Live on $2 a Day, researchers meet with families in the South, the Northeast, the Midwest and the West every two weeks to collect highly detailed data on informal borrowing and lending between and among neighbors and family members. The study, which will be published in 2014, is designed to capture spending and savings habits that often remain hidden in large surveys.

(Full disclosure: The Citi Foundation is the sponsor of NextBillion Financial Innovation as well as the NextBillion Case Writing Competition).

financial inclusion