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Development Marketplace

The “Missing Middle” and the Growth of Social Enterprises

Aleem Walji's picture

SOCAP (via amsterdam.wordpress.the-hub.net)Every fall at Social Capital Markets (SOCAP), the who’s who of impact investing and social enterprise convene in San Francisco to network and share stories about topics like market-based solutions to poverty, social stock exchanges, and just how much capital is waiting to be deployed to solve the world’s toughest problems. It’s inspiring to be sure, especially the growth in the number and diversity of participation. It’s no longer the sole domain of Ashoka, Skoll, and Schwab who have paved the way for so many others. Today, mainstream Banks from Europe to Asia, fund managers, and wealth advisors are sending a signal that doing good and doing well is a more enlightened form of capitalism.

But behind all the feel-good energy and promises that impact investing will be a $50 billion industry by 2020, there are gaps in the story line and challenges that we must confront as a community. First, there is no clear definition of an impact investor. The industry brings together those who are primarily driven by a financial bottom line (finance first) with those who are seeking to optimize a social return without making a loss (impact first), and finally grant makers who are aiming to improve the efficiency of philanthropic capital (largely foundations). Their world views are different, their expected returns are different, and how they use the same vocabulary (e.g. impact, viability, and sustainability) varies widely.

A Locally Based Model Goes Global

Kirsten Spainhower's picture

Photo Courtesy: Pachamama Coffee CooperativeDevelopment Marketplace winner Pachamama Coffee Cooperative (PCC) was featured in the New York Times not too long ago. Its newest initiative CoffeeCSA.org found its roots in humble beginnings. Springing from the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement which began in the 1960’s in Switzerland, consumers receive their produce directly from the farmer through a household subscription paid for in advance. Then on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, the consumer cum subscriber receives a portion of the overall harvest.

CoffeeCSA.org is a platform that allows consumers to pay in advance for a coffee subscription ranging from one month to one year. There consumers have a direct link to farmers who grew their coffee in Ethiopia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru or Guatemala. And the advance subscription provides a more stable income to farmers. It’s a great adaptation of an old model for coffee farmers who often live on only $2 per day.

Blogging from the field: Kadogo and Oyugis, Yogurt Results from Kenya

Karen Vega's picture

Hi I am Karen Vega, and am responsible for oversight and monitoring for the Development Marketplace project portfolio. I am on mission visiting projects in Tanzania, Kenya and Burkina Faso. I am currently in Kenya visiting the Pro-biotic Yogurt project implemented by The Ministry of Health of Kenya in partnership with its research institute KEMRI and the University of Western Ontario.

The objective of this project is to establish a sustainable grass-roots food based development initiative for the purpose of improving the health and nutrition levels among vulnerable social groups in Oyugis-Rachuonyo district. The innovative character of the project is connecting the appropriate technology, training and local resources (dairy) to produce a community based intervention program. When pro-biotics are consumed in adequate amounts Canadian and Nigerian studies have shown pro-biotics to be effective in treating uro-genital infections and diarrheal disease including people living with HIV/AIDS!

Colombian Indigenous groups in Putumayo, taking action on Climate Adaptation Challenges

Karen Vega's picture

Image credit: Proyecto Madre Tierra

The Zonal Indigenous Organization of Putumayo (OZIP), was one of the 26 the winning institutions that were part of the 2009 Development Marketplace Competition on Climate Adaptation.

They have recently developed their blog to keep us posted! We encourage you to seek more information by visiting their blog in Spanish. You can also see the initial interview to the leaders when in the Development Marketplace Competition held in November 2009 in Washington DC.

Join webinar on WBI's 'The Power of Innovation'

Edith Wilson's picture

On Thursday, July 22, the World Bank Institute is launching a special e-issue of Development Outreach magazine whose theme is "The Power of Innovation," and we're inviting you to help us tell how innovation can be a game changer in solving the biggest global development problems.

Get involved by signing in to a special webinar on Thursday that will be led by WBI Innovation Practice Team Leader Aleem Walji, one of the lead authors of the Development Outreach special issue.

The webinar begins at 3 p.m., but sign in early -- by 2:30 or 2:45 p.m. -- because the number of participant slots is limited to 100.

In a post-crisis world, innovation may be the single most important driver of economic growth and competitiveness. The time is right to move development forward through creative uses of technology. We now have the capacity to scale up innovative approaches to meet the needs of people at the bottom of the pyramid when traditional markets fail to do the job.

How to do all this is detailed in "The Power of Innovation."  Top experts tell how to mobilize innovative solutions to reduce poverty--smarter, better, faster, and differently.

Development Marketplace leader Keiko Nagai says farewell for new assignment

Tom Grubisich's picture

Keiko Nagai was a key part of Development Marketplace for seven years – for the last two as Task Team Leader for the annual global competitions.  Now she’s going to head the portfolio management unit and monitoring and evaluation team for two major development funds of the International Finance Corp. – the World Bank Group’s investment lending arm -- in northern South Asia.  Before she headed off to Dhaka, Bangladesh, her new base of operations, we sat down with her for this interview.
 
Keiko NagaiHow did you get your start at Development Marketplace?

In 2003, I was finishing up my graduate program in development at Georgetown University.  I applied to the World Bank as a knowledge intern.  I was assigned to Development Marketplace.  I was told I was going to work in social entrepreneurship. That was a disappointment because what I thought I wanted to do was work in development statistics, not with, say, projects to help small farmers.  But as I learned more about the Development Marketplace program and worked with the project team and learned about things like African drip irrigation, I realized how this was really on-the-ground development work, and I was lucky to be exposed to this first-hand experience.  There are so many things happening on the ground that we don’t see from Washington, DC.  I had this pre-conception that development work was gathering data or having this multimillion-dollar project for roads and highways.  But I realized that while these are important, the most important thing is helping people living in poverty.

When Innovation Fails

Edith Wilson's picture

I’ve been having some interesting conversations with some of our favorite people like Mari Kuraishi, Jim Koch and Marla Capozzi, about a topic we don’t probe much in development: what we do with an innovative project fails.

In Silicon Valley, as Mari and Marla reminded me lately, you earn your spurs trying and failing. It is almost easier to get funding if you have failed a few times. Venture capital firms assume you learned some valuable things in the process. It’s a credential. But in development? Failing with a donor’s money? Even when you said you were piloting something or trying something new? Surely you failed because you didn’t get the job done, weren’t smart enough, or ran into politics.

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