Innovating The Brick-and-Mortar Injustice Infrastructure

Mills Scofield

This week''s post is by Andy Posner , Co-Founder & Executive Director of Capital Good Fund ( CGF ), a non-profit microfinance organization targeting the root causes of poverty through innovative micro-loans and personal financial coaching.

Learning from Microfinance's Woes

Harvard Business Review

A few weeks ago, I attended a lecture about microfinance, and got sucker-punched. Expecting to hear a litany of pros and cons about the business, and an exploration of good and bad models, I was instead greeted with a knockout punch: Microfinance doesn't work, at least not in the way we think it does. The pugilist-presenter was David Roodman, a fellow at the Center for Global Development and the author of a new book, Due Diligence: An Impertinent Inquiry into Microfinance.

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Book Review: The Social Entrepreneur’s Handbook

Chartered Management Institute

Rupert is the CEO of the foundation for International Community Assistance, a leading microfinance institution. The Social Entrepreneur’s Handbook by Rupert Scofield is written to guide the aspiring social entrepreneur through the full range of activities of starting, building and running a social business. Review by David Stephens FCMI. You are not watching this post, click to start watching

Under Fire, Microfinance Faces Falling Out of Favor

Harvard Business Review

Microfinance has come under fire in the past 18 months, triggered in part by SKS Microfinance's IPO. Critics complain that the institutions supporting microfinance have become too greedy, and many are using this as an argument to deeply regulate or, even more, cut support to microfinance operations. Dr. Muhammad Yunus introduced the concept of microfinance in 1983; in 2006, he won the Nobel Prize for his pioneering efforts. Such is the power of microfinance.

I'm a bank - well, with the help of Kiva.org!

Jason Womack

Intercontinental Ballistic Microfinance from Kiva Microfunds on Vimeo. What happens when 620,000 lenders fund 615,000 entrepreneurs, students, and other microfinance borrowers around the world?

Lessons for Social Entrepreneurs from the Microfinance Crisis

Harvard Business Review

The microfinance industry has in just a few years gone from making headlines for the Nobel Peace Prize to stories about limited impact, allegedly abusive tactics, client suicides, government crackdowns, major lenders struggling with insolvency and the forcible removal of Mohammed Yunus as Managing Director of Grameen Bank. But we shouldn't ignore how the microfinance industry made itself vulnerable to attacks with a political motive.

Can Technology End Poverty?

Harvard Business Review

BRAC Bank (the commercial bank owned by BRAC) launched the service as a pilot in five branches in November 2011, asking small enterprise borrowers to make repayments via local agents — who would send a receipt via text message — rather than in person at branch offices.

Can Technology End Poverty?

Harvard Business Review

BRAC Bank (the commercial bank owned by BRAC) launched the service as a pilot in five branches in November 2011, asking small enterprise borrowers to make repayments via local agents — who would send a receipt via text message — rather than in person at branch offices.

Servant Leadership Observer ? November 2010

Modern Servant Leader

September 20, 2011 Servant Leadership. Monthly: September 2011. August 2011. July 2011. June 2011. May 2011. April 2011. March 2011. February 2011. January 2011. Servant Leadership Observer – April 2011. Twitter.

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Banking on Women and Girls: Key to Global Poverty Alleviation

Harvard Business Review

On this 100th International Women's Day , it is right to reflect on how women have become the heart of the microfinance industry. It is easy to forget that the initial motivation for microfinance roughly 30 years ago was, to a great extent, gender neutral. The pioneering microfinance institutions sought to provide credit to poor entrepreneurs who had no assets to pledge as collateral and, consequently, were denied access to capital by the formal banking sector.

Facebook Presence Is an Important Clue to a Social Venture's Future

Harvard Business Review

Here, we gleaned some additional insights from a separate analysis of 281 social ventures that applied to participate in the 2010 or 2011 Summer Institutes run by the Unreasonable Institute , the Colorado-based social-enterprise accelerator.

It's Not All About Growth for Social Enterprises

Harvard Business Review

Successful examples of this approach are still rare; most people point to microfinance.

President Obama Can Make Start-Up America Succeed

Harvard Business Review

Microfinance (Bangladesh), securitization of revenues (Saudi Arabia), and royalty-pay-back funding (Israel) were all invented overseas. I spend most of my time at Babson launching projects in other countries to foster entrepreneurship , but I was in the U.S.

Using Games to Get a Handle on Bank Risk

Harvard Business Review

Popular games also tend to spawn communities who share information and strategies about how to overcome hurdles, suggesting that peer to peer education is also possible (this has been seen in microfinance). Bank marketing materials focus on the dreams, anxieties and goals of consumers. Risk management processes don't — but they should. Most audits and regulations of banks are focused on certifying the integrity of data and controls.

The Downside of Focusing on Women and Girls

Harvard Business Review

David McKenzie's research in Sri Lanka, Mexico, Brazil and Ghana has shown that urban male entrepreneurs typically earn far higher returns from microfinance than women do (in Sri Lanka average returns on capital for women were 0%, for men 10%). Yesterday was International Women's Day and there were many articles and blog posts championing the idea that anti-poverty philanthropy should focus on women and girls (see, for instance, Mary Ellen Iskendarian's post for The Conversation ).

Funders Can Give More than Money

Harvard Business Review

The outlook is only marginally better for endowments , with returns on their invested capital hovering around 5 percent—as they did in 2011. Six years ago, David and Donna Allman approached Opportunity with an idea that fell outside our traditional microfinance model: to build a Community Economic Development (CED) program in Nicaragua. We know that microfinance alone will not break the poverty cycle.

It Takes a Village to Raise an Entrepreneur

Harvard Business Review

We've extensively analyzed the applications to the Echoing Green fellowship between 2006 and 2011, and built a rich dataset that allows us to rigorously study trends in the field of social enterprise. In 2010 and 2011, almost 50% of the applicants to Echoing Green relied on hybrid models, versus 37% in 2006.