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Making Microfinance More Effective

Harvard Business Review

While meeting this challenge is a clear priority for policy makers and donors, it is also a major profit opportunity for commercial players who can solve market failures and create real value. Micro-insurance is not at scale anywhere except when heavily subsidized by government, a market we hope technology may change in the future.

Innovating The Brick-and-Mortar Injustice Infrastructure

Mills Scofield

1] ” Traditional economic theory dictates that market forces should spawn more affordable alternatives, but they haven’t. 1] [link].

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

Mills Scofield

Thoughts on Charity, Foreign Aid and Market Incentives - Tanzania. Reading about these market driven social endeavors is always exciting.

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. Nonprofit microfinance ANDE

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

Harvard Business Review

We serve two markets that are very different but united by the common need for reliable, safe access to energy: outdoor recreationalists and low-income households in emerging markets. We found an ideal storefront near a busy market in central Bhubaneswar. Experiment #5: Microfinance Institutions. At left, a CampStove.

How Large NGOs Are Using Data to Transform Themselves

Harvard Business Review

A critical part was adapting a proven model in a related field: microfinance. Frontline Data as Wake Up Call. Using Models Proven Elsewhere.

3 Things Driving Entrepreneurial Growth in Africa

Harvard Business Review

Firms are realizing what microfinance has known for a while: Local self-policing groups, or village headmen who police honor codes, can hedge cash flows in far-flung places. Emerging markets Africa Digital ArticleWhy the downbeat mood? Another reason is that investors are myopically infatuated with snazzy technology.

Microfinance Is Good for Women, but It's Only Part of the Solution

Harvard Business Review

Career paths are not one-size-fits-all, yet in emerging markets, it's often assumed that microfinance — the use of small loans to foster self-reliant small businesses in a community setting — is the only path for women seeking economic opportunity. Microfinance was one issue that we considered.

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.

An Approach to Ending Poverty That Works

Harvard Business Review

Microfinance and other market-based interventions don’t generally reach them. And we may have found a way to do this.

What Makes Social Entrepreneurs Different

Harvard Business Review

When social entrepreneurs say that they want to "work themselves out of a job" they are not making a glib statement to sound cool.

How Social Entrepreneurs Can Have the Most Impact

Harvard Business Review

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. In the broader U.S.

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.

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

Harvard Business Review

Which are likely to achieve significant social impact within an attractive business model? It turns out one of the best clues may be on Facebook.

Making Sense of the Many Kinds of Impact Investing

Harvard Business Review

Everyone agrees that impact investing is on the rise. Faced with this uncertainty, most investors have chosen one of three options. Type of impact.

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. The assumption is that company growth is good. Maybe.

Transforming Rural India Through Agricultural Innovation

Harvard Business Review

Addressing the agriculture value chain—soil testing, facilitation of inputs and credit, market linkage, and field advisory services—is part and parcel of agriculture development initiatives. Over 1,900 beneficiaries have established micro-enterprises for which microfinance has been facilitated. NAF is an interesting experiment.

Entrepreneurs: You're More Important Than Your Business Plan

Harvard Business Review

The kids develop discipline and focus, but also practical, marketable skills. "Would you take a look at my business plan?". Purpose and Passion.

Servant Leadership Observer ? November 2010

Modern Servant Leader

Book Says Servant Leadership Critical for Marketing Leaders. Peer-to-Peer Microfinance: A Sustainable Solution to Poverty. Twitter.

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. We know that microfinance alone will not break the poverty cycle. percent lower than its value in 2007. Finance Innovation Nonprofit CED

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

Harvard Business Review

cents for a sachet that could purify 10 liters, Pur achieved penetration rates of 5% to 10% in its test markets — strong by almost any yardstick — but in 2005 the company gave up on Pur as a business, because the numbers simply hadn't worked. The microfinance industry is a rare D and E success story. Solae closed the pilot.

The Smart Way to Make Profits While Serving the Poor

Harvard Business Review

However, as I discussed in my last post , the model has a fatal flaw: It inevitably requires an impractical penetration rate of the target market — often 30% or more of all consumers in an area. Any business that starts off needing a 30% or higher penetration rate is built on a shaky foundation. Localize and bundle base products.

Global Entrepreneurs Need New Funding Models

Harvard Business Review

The White House has called this gap between the demand and supply of finance for small and medium enterprises a "market failure.[and] Some microfinance organizations are also moving out of the purely micro and toward larger lending. Around the world, leaders talk about how start-ups can create new jobs and lift regions out of poverty.

It Takes a Village to Raise an Entrepreneur

Harvard Business Review

A hybrid approach is exemplified by startup Frogtek, which develops software for local shopkeepers in emerging markets to more efficiently track their inventory, leading to better purchasing decisions and greater profits. Hybrids thus risk mission drift, as they may over time start targeting wealthier and more profitable market segments.

Using Games to Get a Handle on Bank Risk

Harvard Business Review

Bank marketing materials focus on the dreams, anxieties and goals of consumers. 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). Data suggests that these are not sufficient.

President Obama Can Make Start-Up America Succeed

Harvard Business Review

Opportunities and markets are global. this week, the White House specifically, for the start-up of Start-Up America. Bravo President.

The Downside of Focusing on Women and Girls

Harvard Business Review

Second, the marketing pitch for focusing on women and girls increasingly is stereotyping men in the effort to combat the stereotyping of women. What could possibly be wrong with focusing aid programs on women and girls? This fallacy attributes the results of context and culture to the core nature of people. And that's exactly what we do see.