Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fairbourne Consulting: Jamaica Video Report

Fairbourne Consulting, the innovative consulting firm that deals with microfranchising and for profit business solutions for the bottom of the pyramid, displays one of their projects in Jamaica in this video. It helps show how things are actually happening.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fairbourne Consulting: For-profit Business Models for Development

In this video, Jason Fairbourne, founder of Fairbourne Consulting, discusses innovative ways to alleviate poverty through for-profit business models, such as microfranchising. Fairbourne Consulting is for-profit and for-good finding sustainable business models that they implement in developing markets. This video explains a lot of what they do and why it is so cool.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

E-Health Clinics in India

This is a health clinic in rural India using an interesting combination of clean water and e-healthcare. This business is being incubated by Ashoka, here is the original press release.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Recent Microfranchising News - Feb 2010

Vision Spring featured in March Entrepreneur magazine and a recent Parade Magazine.

The Feb Templeton Report leads with a story about a new report about franchising in frontier markets. It deserves further review. It cites the rise of SpotCity Taxi in India as an example.

Monday, May 11, 2009

MicroFranchise Toolkit available again

I received a notice today that the MicroFranchise Toolkit, published out of BYU's Center for Economic Self-Reliance, is available again for purchase after selling out of the initial printing. I do not receive any kickbacks for promoting it but I did think the announcement was post-worthy because of the apparent level of demand for this product.

Have any of my readers used this toolkit? Any reviews or insights?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Skoll announces New Winners, VisionSpring among them

A special congratulations to VisionSpring, one of the most cited organizations on this blog (Intro, TeamwithPSI, IntheNews, OnChangemakers, NameChange, NewBlog, ), for being one of the recently announced winners of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. Skoll is also to be congratulated for their willingness to give large unrestricted grants to those they have properly vetted, which I think is critical for growth.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Ashoka and Gates looking for Innovation in Rural Communities

Ashoka's Changemakers recently launched a competition looking for "sustainable change in rural development and agriculture" sponsored by the Gates Foundation. They are asking for nominations and ongoing comments from the Changemakers community.

I nominated the folks at Open Air Cinema from my last post; there is such great potential for them to inspire, educate, and shape rural communities through the power of film and media, particularly if they are simply providing the technology and empowering local filmmakers to create the content.

I look forward to future nominations and the full spectrum of innovations, here are two of my favorites:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Media Innovations in Rural Africa: Movies, Mobiles and the Web

Springwise did a year end summary of innovative business ideas, here are a few that caught my eye:
I was slightly caught off-guard by the movie screen business being on the list because I actually saw that particular team present at a business plan competition back in college and even watched an away football game on the inflatable screen but then watched them struggle to find a stable market in the area. I'm glad to see they have taken it to the bottom of the pyramid. I think there is huge potential there in terms of public education, journalism, and rural democracy.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ashoka and Gates announce partnership

Over the course of this blog I have highlighted multiple models focused on agriculture. I tend to become excited about agricultural innovations because I believe enhancing agricultural productivity is one of the most highly leveraged points of investment when tackling rural poverty and the myriad of negative outcomes that stem from that poverty. I am not alone in that evaluation: research continues to support those claims as do the entrepreneurial experiences of organizations such as IDE and Kickstart. I think the Gates Foundation also found that it could not fulfill its global health goals without investing substantially in agriculture and rural development.

Which brings us to this latest announcement of a partnership between Gates and Ashoka. Now that it is public I can likewise publicly share my enthusiasm for this opportunity and what it could mean for the sector. $15 million does not put this partnership in the top tier of grants made by the Gates Foundation by any means but I think the knowledge and models that can come out of this partnership could dramatically drive the spread of innovation across the entire Gates portfolio. Ashoka's expertise in grassroot, early-stage identification as well as pattern and trend identification across their network will be powerful tools for Gates who then has the resources to really bring those innovations to the rest of the world. It will be an interesting experience for both organizations.

When it comes to franchising I'm anxious to see if it surfaces in the early rounds of identification by Ashoka. Traditionally franchising has not been associated with agriculture and farming but that could mean innovation is right around the corner.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Difficulty of getting products in country

This is another story from VisionSpring. I realize I just made a reference to them in my last post but they are simply the most active participant online in this space and they provide a level of transparency that I cannot access from other initiatives. I hope to continue to provide variety in the examples but in the end we're looking for principles--

VisionSpring has been piloting with BRAC in Bangeldesh and are now about to "spring" into a full implementation of their program but they are struggling with meeting the inventory demands of BRAC, particularly in terms of getting product into the country from their factory in China.

This is a very common problem, I was just on a call with an organization that ships high-nourishment food packets across borders and getting through customs is one of their biggest challenges. I see the Grameen-Danone model of mini-plants as an innovation that will help to overcome these challenges in the short term and I think the model should be attempted by more but not all products can be streamlined into mini-manufacturing. The challenge of low prices and high volume for the bottom of the pyramid may ultimately be best served by large plants with great distribution systems.

Are mini-plants the engineering innovation needed for bottom of the pyramid products?