How To Solve Economic Problems

How To Solve Economic Problems-60
The Acumen Fund is a New York-based fund that looks for early-to-mid stage sustainable businesses in emerging markets and asks for a 0,000 to ,000,000 capital investment up front.They get these companies started up, and then at a certain point they say, “Okay, this business is on its way; we are not going to be involved in the next level of financing.” At this point, others get involved.

The Acumen Fund is a New York-based fund that looks for early-to-mid stage sustainable businesses in emerging markets and asks for a 0,000 to ,000,000 capital investment up front.They get these companies started up, and then at a certain point they say, “Okay, this business is on its way; we are not going to be involved in the next level of financing.” At this point, others get involved.

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As such, they tend to be ‘built for scale’, with the potential to reach thousands—if not millions. It’s a platform set up by a couple of Americans where everyday citizens provide loans to social entrepreneurs and small businesses around the world.

In just half a decade, it has raised half a billion dollars for a million entrepreneurs in more than 70 countries.

They also launched a café to train young baristas, combating the city’s high rates of youth unemployment and homelessness.

Market innovators, on the other hand, specifically set out to address unmet consumer needs, filling a gap in a previously-untapped market.

The way the Solution Economy players approach problems is very different from the way governments have historically operated.

In particular, the people involved fully expect to be able to make an impact in a reasonable period of time.This initiative is focused on enabling entrepreneurship in rural India and increasing awareness of the importance of hand-washing, with an end goal of reducing infant mortality.Increasingly, the distinction between social enterprises and market innovators is going to be harder to make.These organizations operate on the understanding that caring solely about profits is no longer rational in this new economy and that in the long run, this is actually a liability.Multirational multinationals embrace this idea and understand that relegating socially-minded activities to the sidelines ignores the tremendous (positive and negative) impacts that a company’s mainline operations can have.The lines are often blurred, as in the example of Project Shakti, which is a market-innovation approach embedded with social benefits.Another example is what Safaricom—one of the leading integrated communications companies in Africa—is doing in Kenya.Safaricom extended its basic service offering to serve an unmet need, and while they didn’t set out to be a social enterprise per se, this initiative is providing significant social benefits to its users. The distinguishing feature, as in the case of Unilever and Safaricom, is the idea of embedding social good into your business strategy.You call these companies ‘multirational multinationals’. These companies take corporate social responsibility several steps beyond philanthropy in an effort to really understand their footprint in a community, in a country, and on a global basis, and how that can be addressed as part of their business strategy.The goal is for the business to eventually be self-sustaining, but in the early days, trade-offs are usually accepted with respect to financial return.That is not to say that an altruistic agenda precludes sound business savvy.

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