Global Ideas News Brief: Entrepreneurs vs. Multinationals

Global Ideas News Brief: Entrepreneurs vs. Multinationals

Photo: Suraj Shakya for Mercy Corps.

Global Ideas News Brief
April 29, 2014

A weekly roundup of mainstream news about the context in which Mercy Corps works.

Shared value

Why Entrepreneurs Will Beat Multinationals to the Bottom of the Pyramid
Harvard Business Review
Five years since the seminal book The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid was published, there is scant evidence that multinational corporations have expanded any further into the bottom-billions market. We believe they’re unlikely to do so, and that entrepreneurs working solo or in teams are far better positioned to go serve these customers.

Premise of ‘creating shared value’ risks misleading MBA students
Financial Times
"Creating shared value" offers the seductive promise that company success can be aligned with social progress – and that business can be re-legitimised in the process. Unfortunately, despite all its attractions, the concept risks misleading today’s business students about the reality of the societal challenges facing business.

Financial inclusion

Microinsurance: If you can't sell it, give it away for free
The Economist
In the developed world, insurance is an every day part of life. However, insurance coverage is much patchier in the developing world. Yet economists generally agree that insurance for the poorest people in the world is a good thing. Should we give it away?

Show Them the Money
Foreign Affairs
Many of the poor are working below their potential because they lack the capital, credit, or insurance products necessary to grow their businesses. In the absence of financial services, which can take decades to develop, cash can fill the gap.

Converting Small Change Into Something Far More Useful: Savings
Fast.Co.Exist
For poor people who want to save rather than borrow money, the world's "first commitment savings account" could help them send their kid to school or pay hospital bills.

Partnerships

Shaping Global Partnerships for a Post-2015 World
Stanford Social Innovation Review
The principles of collective impact offer important lessons for architects of global collaborative efforts.

Youth skills and employment

9 Future Jobs That Will Power Africa
Fast.Co.Exist
Ever heard of an "Invisible Executive" or a "Nutrient Banker"? Those are just a few of the positions that are being created in Africa today that will drive economic development in the coming decades.

Innovation

How Sanitary Pads Can Help Women Improve Their Health and Education
The Atlantic
When Arunachalam Muruganantham went to purchase disposable napkins for his wife, the only ones available were imported and quite expensive. So he figured out how to make them.

The World's Resources Aren't Running Out
Wall Street Journal
Ecologists worry that the world's resources come in fixed amounts that will run out, but we have broken through such limits again and again.

Financing development

Who Is Silicon Valley's Most Effective Global Giver?
Inside Philanthropy blog
Ed Scott, a relatively unknown philanthropist who helped found the Center for Global Development and who understands the importance of policy and advocacy better than most funders, particularly in the tech world, where government action is often seen as yesterday's solution.

As Kickstarter Evolves, Investors Watch For Next $1 Billion Idea
NPR
As Kickstarter grows up, its language is changing, from backers and creators, to customers and startups, pre-orders and mass adoption. While the average person may not know it, the crowdfunding campaign is the site of a new mating ritual.

Bangladesh garment factory disaster's 1 year anniversary

Garment making: still Bangladesh’s “escalator” industry
Financial Times
Following the Rana Plaza disaster has come a mounting concern that while Bangladesh is still the go-to location for low-end garments manufacturing, other emerging markets may soon develop the capacity to compete.

Supply chains and forced labour after Rana Plaza
The Guardian
On the first anniversary of the fall of the Rana Plaza, have western suppliers learned their lesson?

Politics

Egypt is just one example of how the West is not ready for a true Arab democracy
GlobalPost
Panel experts, in a conference at the USC Annenberg School on Friday, said the US must respect democratic outcomes, even if they do not adhere to American liberal ideals.

20 years since apartheid: What's changed in South Africa, and what hasn't
GlobalPost
The country is better wired and better protected, but more unequal.

How To Survive In Iraqi Politics
NPR
Low to the dusty ground, by a reed-fringed river and a lush date palm orchard, is the farmhouse where Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, grew up.

Interest

Not Just Playing Around Anymore
NYT
The Games for Change festival has become a platform to introduce video games with altruistic goals. This year, a United Nations program devoted to urban planning in countries affected by poverty or natural disasters began developing a sports field in the slums of Kibera, Kenya, designing it in the popular sandbox video game Minecraft.

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