Category Archives: BOP

The Blue Sweater a book by Acumen Fund founder Jacqueline Novogratz

I had gotten a copy of Acumen Fund founder, Jacqueline Novogratz’s, book “The Blue Sweater” a couple of months ago and had kept promising myself that I would read it. Finally as I was leaving on a short trip to India, I threw it in my bag hoping to get to it during my visit. As the long 15 plus hour trip from Newark to Bombay stretched before me, I settled myself in as best as I could and opened the book expecting to read a few pages and then sleep as much as possible for the rest of the flight.

Once I started reading I was hooked. Before I knew it I had plowed through the entire volume. This is an extraordinary and powerful book. My personal interest in social entrepreneurship, particularly in solving issues in the developing world, had led me to peruse many books in the field – from the seminal one by David Bornstein to Jeff Sachs and Prof. Yunus. Each provided a perspective on development with solutions and suggestions. Yet somehow this book was different. Continue reading

The Increasing Focus on the Rural Indian Consumer

I have been in India for the past week and one of the trends I have noticed is the increased focus on the rural market. Perhaps it is the ongoing elections or maybe the global recession, but companies across the board seem to have a renewed emphasis on targeting the rural consumer.

Culling thru the headlines there are a few key facts that seem to stand out: Continue reading

Beyond Microfinance: Opportunities for Change

Another Track in the upcoming ForSE 2008: Forum for Social Entrepreneurs

Beyond Microfinance: Opportunities for Change

Microfinance, as demonstrated by Nobel Laureate Mohammad Yunus, provides disadvantaged entrepreneurs with small loans to run their businesses and eventually help lift them out of poverty. This has become a wide spread phenomenon all over the world encouraging millions of families out of poverty.

What’s next? There is a huge business opportunity for both, investment in the MFIs and providing other business services to these micro-enterprises at the bottom of the pyramid.

While commercial banks are satisfying the demand for capital to the MFIs , the social entrepreneurs with social business ideas will hopefully fill the gap by providing services to the poor entrepreneurs to run and scale their businesses successfully. Prof. Yunus’ has exemplified this concept of a social business with a collaborative effort with Dannon in Bangladesh, that brings low cost nutritious meals to the poor while employing local farmers and citizens. This is a win-win situation where the commercial banks, MFIs, social businesses and the aspiring entrepreneurs all profit!

Adapting to Climate Change

We have over 80 people registered already for ForSE 2008: Forum for Social Entrepreneurs. Click here to register as we are going to quickly reach the limit of our 180 discounted admissions.

Here is the description of another one of the six tracks

Adapting to Climate Change

Rising global temperatures and erratic local weather patterns are of growing concern all around the world. Scientists worldwide have confirmed the reality of climate change and the impact of humans in increasing Greenhouse Gases (GHG) in the atmosphere. International treaties such as the ‘Kyoto Protocol’, state adopted legislations and activities at the local level are focused on acting to mitigate the effects of global warming. By changing policies, processes and habits, these actions may help the general public to gradually reduce the emission of GHGs and thus curb the severity of the impending climate change.

While it is important to mitigate climate change and its impact, positive results will be seen only after several decades. In the meantime, climate change and a rise in global temperatures will continue to occur, with changes in weather, ecology and environment impacting our daily lives on earth. Therefore it is important to adopt two strategies – mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

Several entrepreneurial spirits have taken up the challenge and established a creative response to the dilemma of high energy prices, high demand and low supplies concurring with global warming. This track will present an expert panel that will discuss strategies for adaptation to climate change and how social and business entrepreneurs are supporting this effort.

Mobile Solutions for the Masses

After the plenary session, ForSE 2008: Forum for Social Entrepreneurs will break into multiple tracks to maximize interaction between attendees. Within each track we will have:

  • An in-depth discussion with a panel of practitioners and experts in that field.
  • A case study discussion with an emerging social entrepreneur to review and provide feedback on their business challenges.
  • Additional “How to” workshops and panels.

The six tracks themes are:

  • Adapting to Climate Change
  • Mobile Solutions for the Masses
  • Beyond Microfinance: Opportunities for change
  • Sustainable Ventures for non-profits
  • Building a Sustainable Food Supply
  • Cultivating a Generation -Engaging Young Entrepreneurs

Here is a description of one of the tracks.

Mobile Solutions for the Masses

The internet and personal computers have had a significant impact on the developing world. The advent of cell phones provided a cheap technology platform that has penetrated the farthest reaches of the world. No place better exemplifies this than India, with over 8.5 million additional subscribers in 2007, making it the country with the second largest wireless subscriber base. The cheap and pervasive technology platform has spawned a number of innovative solutions to address the social challenges at bottom of the pyramid, such as access to finance, illiteracy, and health care. This track will highlight some of these innovative solutions that have a significant potential for impact in the developing world.

Click here to register as only the first 180 registrants will get the discounted fees.