Nathan Wyeth

Weekly Roundup April 26-May 3

From the past week on NextBillion, in case you missed it…

Social Enterprise in India

Sriram Gutta covered Sankalp 2010 – still in progress and showcasing the leading edge of the social enterprise movement in India. “Some of the Winners of 2009 include Vaatsalya, Suminter Organics, DesiCrew, LabourNet, and A little World. Many of these 15 organizations have now grown in to sustainable businesses.”

Sarabjeet Singh covered the Social Entrepreneur Boot Camp held by Unltd India in Mumbai, an event for the investee applicants of that social incubator.

Meanwhile, Rishabh Kaul conveyed the impending collision of a well-meaning Indian government subsidy scheme for sanitary pads with existing entrepreneurs who say they are producing cheaper products manufactured locally but may get swept out of the market in a flood of government-subsidized products. I’m curious to hear where NextBillion readers come down on this intersection of scale, the role of multinationals, the role of government, the role of subsidization, and the fate of innovative local businesses.

The McKinsey Global Institute has just come out with what might be considered a market sizing of Indian urbanization needs during the coming decades. There will be plenty of work for these social entrepreneurs, as well as anyone who wants to invest in efficient urban infrastructure. On the plus side, I somehow missed this compelling coverage of a range of innovative “eco-entrepeneurs” in India in the Financial Express, especially of mobile-enabled smart irrigation management, desperately needed as water tables drop across northern India.

New Thinking

Heather Fleming flips the “design for the other 90% idea” about 90 degrees to discuss the other 90% of the designers in the world – not working in lofts in London.

Manuel Bueno digs into microinsurance, which he memorably calls the “ugly duckling” of financial services to the poor:

“A second and very important unrealized development in the microinsurance landscape is the neglect of women in the design of their insurance products… very few insurers have taken a gendered approach to microinsurance. However, women have needs that are not met with standard insurance services. Women face special health risks, such as those related to pregnancy and childbearing or those arising from greater vulnerability to diseases such as HIV/AIDS, which are very rarely covered. This represents a missed opportunity which should not be hard to tackle.”

Focus on Students…

Moses Lee covered Engineers for Social Impact’s Fellowship Program for bringing technology expertise from India’s top technical schools into social entrepreneurship in India. (I’d call this a 21st century approach to linking engineers with social impact.)

Rachael Rho, a junior at NYU, chronicled the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative University conference in Miami, including a discussion she participated in with Álvaro Rodríguez Arregui from Banco Compartamos on that MFI’s IPO.

Current Events…

For those not taking the Lean Startup path like Frogtek, I covered Toniic, a new impact investing angel network launching soon in San Francisco and looking to make angel investment for impact a less scary endeavor.

Diana Hollman covered the opening in Washington, DC of the President’s Summit on Entrepreneurship focused on the Muslim world.

Updates and Improvements to Next Billion

Don’t miss updates to our research section added by Maria Zheng.

Beyond NextBillion…

The World Bank opened up its fairly vast stores of development indicator and development finance data for use by the public and the development community, available in four languages, and with the intention for software app developers to be able to link into this to create their own dynamic interpretations of this data.

IDEO shares a video on the Ripple Effect in Kenya focused on innovations in clean water delivery and business models. And I wish I had an office as cool as the iLAB Nairobi from which to write these roundups.