I heard about 6 months ago about the ingenious idea of Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank and recent Nobel Peace Prize winner, to build a new yogurt business in Bangladesh. The first factory just opened near Dhaka as part of a new venture called Grameen Danone Foods. The mini-factory produces a yogurt called Shakti-da… Continue reading The world’s smallest yogurt factory
Scojo Vision is a social enterprise. They sell hip reading glasses at first-world prices in developed countries and more basic versions at very low cost through a micro-franchise type network in developing countries. Scojo Foundation was recently recognized as a Fast Company 2006 Social Capitalist finalist (good overview of what they do and how they… Continue reading Getting reading glasses to the poor
In a previous post on for-profit microfinance, I summarized some of the benefits that I see for the poor in the trend for microfinance institutions (MFIs) to become for-profit entities rather than the traditional non-profit entity model. One of the key aspects of a for-profit entity is the ability to sell ownership shares to investors… Continue reading Why Equity Matters to Microfinance
One interesting (at least to me) emerging idea for defeating poverty is to make it easier for a poor person to start a very small (micro) business. Does microfinance have a limited market? Some of the critics of microfinance have argued that most humans (including the poor) don’t have what it takes to be an… Continue reading MicroFranchising — Another Income Generating Tool?
There is a major positive change starting to ripple through the microfinance industry … the trend towards running microfinance institutions (MFIs) as for-profit businesses rather than non-profit charities. Today, The Wall Street Journal ran a front page article on this trend highlighting a for-profit Indian MFI, SKS, which I have visited in Hyderabad last October.… Continue reading For-profit microfinance
KickStart, a non-profit based out of Kenya and San Francisco, is taking an innovative approach to fighting poverty by inventing tools optimized for delivering productivity for the world’s poor. I met KickStart’s CEO and Co-Founder, Martin Fisher, a few months back at an education event sponsored by Seattle Social Venture Partners. Martin has spent most… Continue reading Productivity tools designed for the poor
A recent article in Business 2.0 revealed what Dean Keman, inventor of the Segway, has been working on … a solution for not one, but two of the world’s biggest issues — clean water and electricity. An estimated more than 1 billion people don’t have access to clean water and more then 1.5 billion have… Continue reading Micro-inventions for the poor