Monday, August 25, 2008

Kickstart and donor money to build markets

Britt Bravo over at Have Fun Do Good recently posted a great interview with Martin Fisher, CEO and co-founder of Kickstart. For me, the most interesting part of the interview was the discussion regarding the challenges faced by Kickstart, interesting because 1) I believe Kickstart has molded and adjusted to those challenges extremely well and 2) the issue of having to create entire new markets when introducing new products or services will be a similar challenge faced by most of the microfranchises discussed on this site.

It can be easy to talk about social enterprises as if launching a business were easy and success were automatic. Here we are reminded of the reality by one of the most successful organizations at introducing a new technological product at the bottom of the pyramid saying they expect it to take ten years of heavy promotion and reliance on donor funds to tip the market. That strikes me as a much longer time frame than is commonly presented in the industry. We like to talk about sustainability and revenue streams from social enterprises but we must not forget that there is still an incredible market failure in the funding for this market-creation stage. Even the most hard-nosed revenue stream proponents will need to understand the world of philanthropy and fundraising.

1 comment:

Britt Bravo said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed the interview!