Making Microfinance More Effective

Harvard Business Review

billion people who live on less than $2 per day , shocks such as illness, crop failures, livestock deaths, farming-equipment breakdowns and even wedding or funeral expenses can be enough to tip them, their families, or even an entire community below the poverty line. Traditional microcredit hasn’t lived up to expectations, but we are learning how to improve it. This model makes small loans, usually to women, without requiring collateral. For the 2.5

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.

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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. At the prevailing ratios, management failed to act prudentially.

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

Jason Womack

Ok for the first 3 people to suggest loan recipients, I will loan to entrepreneurs at www.Kiva.org. If you'd like to recommend someone I loan to, simply @ me over at Twitter: @ JasonWomack. That's right, I found out how to be my own bank!

Guest Post: An Entrepreneur's Thoughts on Market Incentives & Foreign Aid

Mills Scofield

See what two not yet 20 year olds were able to do and sustain. MedInternational was started in 2011 to raise the standard of healthcare in resource-poor regions of the world by sharing and maintaining appropriate hospital technology in these areas, initially Zanzibar, Tanzania.

How to Create Youth Jobs After Conflicts

Harvard Business Review

Its aim is to target an important segment of the labor force, young people who have not received adequate education and training due to various external and internal factors. With fragile economic structures, young people are very vulnerable to political manipulations. This represents a threat to peace and stability. At the seminar (I've been invited), we are expected to offer ideas on how best to create sustainable youth jobs.

How to Make Room in Your Work Life for the Rest of Your Self

Harvard Business Review

” Yet, despite Rhimes’ passion and unparalleled success, her deep, single-minded investment in her work drove her to the point of burnout and exhaustion. To heal, she refocused on the parts of her self—a mother, a friend, a sister, and athlete—that had been neglected because of her tunnel vision. If the hum of your career has become so deafening that you struggle to hear those other parts of your life, you’re not alone. How is triggered?

How Large NGOs Are Using Data to Transform Themselves

Harvard Business Review

Let’s look at how The Salvation Army, a 150-year-old Christian charity that provides a variety of social services across the U.S. “But only 10% of the units said they were able to do anything that was close to problem solving for the family.”

Funders Can Give More than Money

Harvard Business Review

In 2012 the world's problems grew more complex, but America's top 400 charities saw very little growth in their resources to address them. With the country still dangling from the fiscal cliff, charitable organizations like ours are finding that the individuals and foundations we depend on are more discerning than ever in their choices of how to spend their philanthropic capital. It has always been true of Opportunity that we dare to believe in those who dare to dream.

Scaling Up Without Losing Your Edge

Harvard Business Review

Without economies of scale, they argued, developing societies would never develop the efficiencies needed to modernize. If you want to do significant work, you have to be large," Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, the founder of BRAC , the world's largest nongovernmental organization, told Forbes in 2008.

An Approach to Ending Poverty That Works

Harvard Business Review

Unfortunately, these trends still have little to no impact on the lives of a critical and chronically marginalized subset of the extreme poor around the world, those living on less than 60 to 70 cents per day. If we’re to end poverty, we can’t ignore them.

How One Startup Developed a Sales Model That Works in Emerging Markets

Harvard Business Review

As the heat continues to blister during this summer in New York, I think back to the first time I ever bought an air conditioner: fresh out of college. I stumbled through a few consumer report roundups online, asked the advice of friends and coworkers, and eventually found myself at a local hardware store, where the owner enlightened me to the complex world of BTUs, replaceable filters, and square footage calculations. That’s what we set out to create.

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

Harvard Business Review

federal budget goes to foreign aid. ” In less mature economies and fragile regions of the world, entrepreneurs are just as, if not more, critical to livelihoods and development. ” But if its approach to foreign aid is any indicator, the U.S.

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

Harvard Business Review

Fledgling social entrepreneurs may have a lot of passion, but they usually don't have much of a track record, a circumstance that leaves would-be backers to wonder: Which have the potential to become genuine world-changers? So what does it take to create these larger online networks?

Using Games to Get a Handle on Bank Risk

Harvard Business Review

A better understanding of the drivers of behavior is needed for both banks and consumers to understand risk, and for the financial system to provide timely and targeted interventions. Just as importantly, the warning label details the potential interactions and provides guidance on when to seek help, regardless of how remote the risk is believed to be. We've all been given generic guidelines on appropriate levels of savings and how to evaluate new purchases.

How Social Entrepreneurs Can Have the Most Impact

Harvard Business Review

Looking at a recent release of data from The Great Social Enterprise Census , only a fifth are larger than $2 million in budget, just 8% employ more than a 100 people, and 60% were founded in the past 8 years, when the movement really began to gain momentum. You can find the answer to the timing question nestled among the facts that David Bornstein lays out in the preface to his book, How to Change the World. Social enterprise in the U.S.

President Obama Can Make Start-Up America Succeed

Harvard Business Review

I spend most of my time at Babson launching projects in other countries to foster entrepreneurship , but I was in the U.S. Start-Up America is getting a few things right, not to be taken lightly; but it is far from a done deal: Obama has convened a broad group of entrepreneurship stakeholders.

It's Not All About Growth for Social Enterprises

Harvard Business Review

If you ask venture capitalists in Silicon Valley how they measure the success of business entrepreneurs, they would no doubt list off metrics having to do with fast growth: funding raised, people hired, customers acquired, revenue produced. To continue this success, we need two things.

Entrepreneurs: You're More Important Than Your Business Plan

Harvard Business Review

And we are often happy to review these start-up plans — which include the typical elements such as a product description, competitive analysis, estimate of market size, and projected financials. We use other criteria to find new people and ideas that can create large-scale social change.