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.

Why CEOs have Liberal Arts Degrees

Mills Scofield

They are leading global airline, chemical, healthcare, pharmaceutical, and financial companies, among others. She's spending the summer in Dhaka doing microfinance. Some of today's top CEOs were history, political science, sociology, chinese and music majors in college.

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The Microfinance Contagion Scenario

Harvard Business Review

So far, the Andhra Pradesh (AP) microfinance crisis has largely been viewed as a local issue, with relatively little impact beyond AP or India's borders. Other microfinance crises, in Bolivia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, and Bosnia, have not spread beyond the borders of a particular country. But as information trickles out about how bad the repayment situation in AP is, a plausible global contagion scenario is emerging.

What Makes Social Entrepreneurs Different

Harvard Business Review

Social entrepreneurs have also been some of the most attentive followers of the academic debate between the likes of Mark Pitt and Jonathan Murdoch about whether microfinance really helps reduce poverty. Entrepreneurship Global business Social enterprise

How Large NGOs Are Using Data to Transform Themselves

Harvard Business Review

and globally, and Habitat for Humanity, which works in 70-plus nations to provide home construction, rehabilitation, and increased access to shelter and financing, gathered data from their sites to make the case for profound change.

Can Technology End Poverty?

Harvard Business Review

If you believe the hype, technology is going to help us end global poverty. At the program's peak, 700 pumps covered 27,000 acres, with the loans constituting 9% of BRAC's total microfinance portfolio.

Can Technology End Poverty?

Harvard Business Review

If you believe the hype, technology is going to help us end global poverty. At the program's peak, 700 pumps covered 27,000 acres, with the loans constituting 9% of BRAC's total microfinance portfolio.

How Social Entrepreneurs Can Have the Most Impact

Harvard Business Review

That year, two global headlines raised the profile of social enterprise: Mohammed Yunus and the Grameen Bank won the Nobel Peace prize. Or consider Kwabena Darko of Ghana, who helped found that country’s microfinance sector by forging a collaboration between global NGO Opportunity International , his national startup Sinapi Aba , and a myriad of village- and town-based trust groups. Social enterprise in the U.S. is a fast-growing, but fragmented, movement.

Global Entrepreneurs Need New Funding Models

Harvard Business Review

Entrepreneurship seems to have become the silver bullet for a job-scarce, unemployment-saddled global economy still struggling to shake off recession. and] a serious constraint on efforts to promote strong and sustainable global recovery.". Some microfinance organizations are also moving out of the purely micro and toward larger lending. Entrepreneurship Finance Global business SEIFF

Entrepreneurship Needs to Be a Bigger Part of U.S. Foreign Aid

Harvard Business Review

These colossal “beltway bandits” work everywhere from Afghanistan to Zambia and purport to offer expertise in everything from microfinance to micro-irrigation. Here are two surprising facts. First, the average American estimates that over 25% of the U.S.

The 3 Preconditions for an Entrepreneurial Society

Harvard Business Review

This post is one in a series of perspectives by presenters and participants in the 8th Global Drucker Forum. And if you need access to money, crowdfunding platforms and microfinance options make that easier than ever.

Give Impact Investing Time and Space to Develop

Harvard Business Review

An estimated 250 funds are actively raising capital in a market that the Global Impact Investing Network estimates at $25 billion. We allowed microfinance and the venture capital industry the time and space to develop over a few decades.

Servant Leadership Observer ? November 2010

Modern Servant Leader

Peer-to-Peer Microfinance: A Sustainable Solution to Poverty. Leading Global Teams. Global. Twitter. LINKEDIN. The Modern Servant Leader Servant Leadership & Technology. Leadership. Technology. Resources. Other. Archives. September 20, 2011 Servant Leadership.

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Making Sense of the Many Kinds of Impact Investing

Harvard Business Review

According to the Global Impact Investing Network, the market for impact capital, currently sized at $60 billion, could grow over the next decade to $2 trillion, or 1% of global invested assets. Everyone agrees that impact investing is on the rise.

Businesses Serving the Poor Need to Get Over Their Unease About Profit

Harvard Business Review

The microfinance industry is a rare D and E success story. Microfinance banks, which provide desperately needed loans to low-income consumers, draw mainstream investors because of their attractive returns. Mexico-based Compartamos , a microfinance bank that sold 35% of the company for $450 million in 2007, generates a NIM of around 60%. Global business NIM

Why CEOs have Liberal Arts Degrees

Mills Scofield

They are leading global airline, chemical, healthcare, pharmaceutical, and financial companies, among others. She's spending the summer in Dhaka doing microfinance. Some of today's top CEOs were history, political science, sociology, chinese and music majors in college.

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The Smart Way to Make Profits While Serving the Poor

Harvard Business Review

Solae, a global manufacturer of soy protein, was able to double gross margins by getting repeat customers to use their own refillable containers when they bought bulk protein. Grameen Bank, the microfinance bank in Bangladesh, is well known for its use of peer groups: Self-formed clubs of five to 10 people, usually women, share responsibility for microloans. Global business Strategy

Funders Can Give More than Money

Harvard Business Review

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. It called for leveraging the profits of the global microfinance institution, and coupling them with private investments from the Allmans and their donor network. We know that microfinance alone will not break the poverty cycle.

How to Create Youth Jobs After Conflicts

Harvard Business Review

Upon graduation, the governments, nonprofits, or (more recently) microfinance companies give them loans to buy tools and opens shops. He recently edited Nanotechnology and Microelectronics: Global Diffusion, Economics and Policy. Global business Social enterprise Social entrepreneurshipOn December 2-3, the United Nations will host a seminar in Sierra Leone on "Strategies and Lessons Learned on Sustainable Reintegration and Job Creation: What Works in West Africa?"

President Obama Can Make Start-Up America Succeed

Harvard Business Review

Infuse Start-Up America with a global perspective. Opportunities and markets are global. Microfinance (Bangladesh), securitization of revenues (Saudi Arabia), and royalty-pay-back funding (Israel) were all invented overseas.

It Takes a Village to Raise an Entrepreneur

Harvard Business Review

Commercial microfinance organizations are perhaps the best-known hybrid organizations, but social entrepreneurs now use hybrid models to address a diverse set of social issues that includes hunger, healthcare, economic development, environment, education, housing, culture, law, and politics. A recent Monitor Institute report estimates that the size of the global impact investing market will be at least $500 billion in the next decade.

The Downside of Focusing on Women and Girls

Harvard Business Review

As Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo write in their forthcoming Poor Economics , if we want to make an impact on global poverty we have to stop painting the poor, women or men, as cartoon characters. I'm especially concerned because the nature of global poverty today means that the men in these caricatures are black and brown, calling to mind racialist theories of the past even if that is by no means intended.