Monthly Archive for November, 2009

Small Business, Finance and Innovation in Emerging Markets

Microlending and social giving together, over the last decade, have significantly brightened the light on entrepreneurial activity across emerging markets. Much of the attention around this activity has been directed at individual agents – social entrepreneurs and individual donors – through small scale lending activity inspired by the success of the Grameen model.

A second tier of financial institutions direct investments and loans at small and medium sized businesses. These investments can often be seen as an infusion of capital greater than what a microloan will provide, but are too risky to secure substantial finance from traditional lending institutions like banks. Importantly, these new “social venture funds” pay close attention to both social and financial returns on investment.

I’m wondering whether there isn’t a gap in this landscape around finance for innovation.

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Why?

Over on his “Dare Mighty Things” blog, tech and social entrepreneur Ryan Allis writes, “As I sit on the 28th floor of a hotel in San Francisco I am angry, yet hopeful. I wonder why in a world with as much wealth as we see, as much luxury that we experience, should 40% of the human species live on under $2 per day?”

Ryan’s uncharacteristically outraged.

Always passionate, there’s a ring of clarity and urgency. This from a guy who, not even 20, founded a successful technology company and today spends alot of time inspiring others. Ryan’s young, smart, successful – he’s supposed to be optimistic about the human species and our capacity to shape the world for the better, right? So what gives?

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