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Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.
Economic gardening nurtures local business
The poor are just like everyone else: they do not save as much as they would like. Yet unlike their richer counterparts, poor people do not receive the cleverly marketed, carefully tested financial products that could help them reach their savings goals more easily. To enrich the bottom of the pyramid, bankers to the poor should make saving money easier by using the latest findings from economics and psychology.
Troubled by the fact that an estimated 20,000 educated professionals leave Africa every year, Fred Swaniker, MBA '04 and Chris Bradford, MBA '05 founded the African Leadership Academy in Johannsburg, a secondary school they hope will help change the face of the continent.
The dual goals of scalability and sustainability have eluded many development projects. In recent years, however, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has reached out to corporations, nonprofits, and even private citizens to build alliances that are making large-scale, long-term change. In this article, the former head of USAID describes the public-private partnership model that his agency forged, the successes that the model has won, and the struggles that it continues to face. —By Andrew S. Natsios
In India, microlending has been a powerful tool in helping individuals with leprosy move from a life of begging to economic self-sufficiency, leaders of the group Rising Star Outreach told a Business School student audience.
Development initiatives that rely heavily on partnerships with local communities are far more likely to create sustainable value, social entrepreneurs agreed during a panel discussion sponsored by the Center for Social Innovation.
How one of the world’s largest companies builds loyalty among Mexico’s poor.
How did the Jacobs Foundation help revitalize a neighborhood? By listening to its residents.
When a Canadian multinational laid off hundreds of gold miners in South Africa, it went many extra miles to help them get back on their feet.
ApproTEC’s pumps are designed and marketed with an understanding of the culture and psychology of African farmers.
Nonprofit accounting rules should not be forced on anyone.
The author takes a crystal ball to the 2009 economic landscape.
Kiva, the world’s first person-to-person microlending Web site, has facilitated nearly $40 million in loans to entrepreneurs worldwide.
Africa is finding Chinese investment less demanding than that of the West.
To what degree will Chinese investments in Africa add long-term value?
One of the greatest human rights abuses is sex trafficking. Millions of women and girls each year are tricked, trapped, bought, sold, and forced into service in sex industries. In this audio lecture, Dechen Tsering explores the causes of trafficking and the techniques used by traffickers. She advocates a holistic approach to stop this grave violation against women and describes the work Global Fund for Women undertakes in Southeast Asia and around the world toward this end.
Combining idealism with a genuine love of business, John Sage cofounded the social enterprise company Pura Vida, one of the largest distributors of fair trade organic coffee in the world. In this University podcast, he discusses his mission to improve the lives of people in coffee-growing regions. Sage explains how Pura Vida works at the intersection of the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, showing how the two can be blended to generate both revenues and social good.
Starbucks has taken environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility seriously in its work with coffee farmers. In this audio lecture, Dennis Macray discusses how the United States' leading coffee retailer is reshaping its business practices and reinventing the international coffee trade.
Microfinance is bringing the world's poor the kind of service that used to be reserved for bank customers in developed countries. Drawing on the work and philosophy of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, Alex Counts talks in this audio lecture about microfinance's social and financial impact to an audience of Stanford MBA students.
From clean water to disease control and global climate change, a new breed of business people is designing sustainable solutions to promote international development and reduce global poverty. Hear from the leaders in this panel discussion about how they are applying business discipline to improve livelihood in many different nations.
Hau Lee explains how value chain innovations can help entrepreneurs in developing economies grow their businesses, and what multinational corporations can learn from them.
Just off a plane from Africa, Bill Gates visits Stanford to talk about innovation, but not the software kind. Scientists and engineers, he said, need to focus on products that help improve the lives of the world's poor even though the market directs people to help the wealthiest.
Jane Chen, MBA '08, has a vision of a place “babies no longer die from being cold, where people no longer die from preventable causes. And where every person has the ability to choose [his or her] own fate.”
"There is, perhaps for the first time in history, a reasonable chance of transforming the quality of life and the creative opportunities for the vast majority of humanity."
In 2006, Stanford's Graduate School of Business students Scott Raymond and Katherine Boas took a service learning trip to Thailand and Cambodia. The result? A program that helps to alleviate poverty in Thailand that is now being duplicated at microlending organizations around the world.
Solving the world's big problems takes large-scale solutions, says Fazle H. Abed, founder of Building Resources Across Communities in Bangladesh. In this audio lecture, Abed outlines the development and market perspectives that have enabled his organization to expand and meet his country's needs in key areas, including microfinance, agriculture, and education.
Microfinance, the extension of small loans to entrepreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans, has proved to be an effective strategy for raising millions of families from poverty worldwide. Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, who pioneered the microloan revolution in Bangladesh, explains in this audio lecture how he saw rural poor and women struggle against deeply institutionalized economic systems, and realized the massive change that small loans could provide.
Social Accountability International President Alice Tepper Marlin has been leading the push to create a credible, comprehensive, and efficient verification system for assuring humane workplaces around the world. In this audio lecture, she describes the strategies the Social Accountability International's SA-8000 standard has used to get global supply chain stakeholders operating on the same page when it comes to providing employees with safe, equitable, and financially beneficial working conditions.
Transparency International is a global network with a mission to create a world free of corruption. In this audio lecture, Peter Eigen chronicles the experiences that led him from a directorship at the World Bank to the head of a movement to strengthen civil society by stamping out corruption. He reports on new incentives for good conduct that have made the elimination of corruption a cornerstone in the international effort to promote global equity.
Muhammad Yunus started a movement that has lifted millions out of poverty. When he formed the Grameen Bank in 1983 and started giving out microloans, Yunus bridged the divide between business and social needs. In this audio lecture, he describes how he created microcredit, collateral-free lending, and began offering other business services to the poor. Yunus lays out the path to his extraordinary vision and success, which is driving global social change.
This case provides an overview of the nonprofit organization PATH and its Safe Water Project. One of the key objectives of this effort was to explore how the private sector could help make HWTS products more affordable. By conducting a portfolio of field-based pilots in collaboration with commercial partners, the PATH team sought to better understand the effect of different pricing, consumer financing, and subsidy models on demand within low-income population in developing countries.
This case provides an overview of the nonprofit organization PATH and its Safe Water Project—a five-year effort launched in late 2006 with $17 million in funding from the global development unit of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The purpose of the grant was to evaluate to what extent market-based approaches could help accelerate the widespread adoption and sustained use of household water treatment and safe storage products by low-income populations.
This case described the activities of Citadel Capital, a Cairo-based Emerging Markets Private Equity Fund, in Egypt during the tumultuous political environment following the Arab Spring and the country’s first democratic elections. The case focuses in particular on Citadel’s approach to investment exits and liquidation in order to realize value for investors.
This case updates the activities of Citadel Capital, a Cairo-based Emerging Markets Private Equity Fund, in light of ongoing political uncertainty in Egypt and the MENA region.
The Global Environment Fund (GEF) is a private equity fund focused on investments in environmental and energy solutions in both developed and developing markets. The case recounts two previous GEF investments in emerging markets, a South African forestry company and a Southeast Asian waste management business, as examples of successful management strategies for creating value in emerging markets.
What explains the enormous differences in incomes across countries? This paper returns to two old ideas: linkages and complementarity. These forces considerably amplify distortions to the allocation of resources, bringing us closer to understanding large income differences across countries.
Policy makers need to understand how early-stage companies in their own area work, rather than try to create another Silicon Valley, says Stanford management professor George Foster. He is coauthor of a new report published by the World Economic Forum.
In summary, we find evidence that firms in developing countries are often badly managed, which substantially reduces their productivity.
Virtue seems to pay according to Professor Charles M.C. Lee whose research shows that publicly-held firms in countries perceived as less corrupt trade at bigger market premiums than those in places deemed more corrupt.
Since the 2008 market crash, banking interests and economists have clashed over how much of their operations banks should fund with equity as opposed to debt. Bankers and others often say that, "equity is expensive." A recent paper, coauthored by three faculty of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, argues: "Quite simply, bank equity is not expensive from a social perspective, and high leverage is not required in order for banks to perform all their socially valuable functions."
This seminar helps participants develop strategically informed action plans that are imaginative, inspiring, and workable in highly dynamic environments. Through informed debate and the writing and presentation of position papers, participants evaluate and hone their views on the seminar's critical themes.
Students apply engineering and business skills to design product prototypes, distribution systems, and business plans for entrepreneurial ventures in developing countries. The aim is to address challenges faced by the world's poor.
This course gives students an understanding of international trade economics, and analyzes the political processes by which international trade policy is determined. It combines lecture and mini-case studies.
This course gives students the background they need to understand the broad movements in the global economy. Key topics include long-run economic growth, technological change, wage inequality, international trade, interest rates, inflation, exchange rates, and monetary policy.
A grassroots student effort led by Caroline Mullen, MBA ’12, Catha Mullen, MBA ’13, and Monica Lewis, MBA ’12, now has even more impact through a merger with Pachamama Coffee Cooperative.
Vision care is something that is practically taken for granted in the United States, but that’s not the case throughout much of the world. Some 300 million around the globe suffer from correctable vision loss, leading, as Ashanthi Mathai, MBA '04, says, “to people accepting their vision impairment and adjusting their lives around it.” The result? A lower quality of life, restricted job options, and even further economic distress.
A Stanford GSB student looks at the value of renewable energy in the developing world.
It was the suicide of a young man that turned Vivek Garg toward using business as a means of fostering peace and reconciliation.
Officials from developing countries, the U.S. State Department, and the United Nations met on campus with tech-savvy entrepreneurs to discuss how fast-spreading connection technologies can foster sustainable economic growth, improve public health, support agriculture, and protect the natural environment in many countries.
Online technology challenges citizens to build better societies, not just revolt against bad ones, Google Ideas leader Jared Cohen says.
A 2005 Stanford MBA says that mobile technology devices are revolutionizing banking and other services in Africa, similar to the way computers revolutionized industrialized countries.
Women and economic development have long been the focus for Cate Muther. Here she shares thoughts on tackling complex and entrenched problems, the effort and relentlessness it takes, and the sources of inspiration that sustain her.
The poorest regions of the world pose high risks for microfinance. Brian Cox, President of MFX Solutions, discusses how currency risk education can increase the flow of resources to Africa and other high-risk regions.