Tag Cloud

Entries in entrepreneurs (14)

Tuesday
Aug302016

Accelerating the next billion

Many tech startups and their corporate venturing partners or incubators focus on hitting it big within the hot consumer markets – U.S., Europe and China – aiming to be the next Unicorn or the next big target. Google, on the other hand, is using its accelerator program, Launchpad, to tap into the preferences and pain points of its next target market – the next billion (emerging markets like India, Brazil and Indonesia, which house the next billion people that will be coming online). It’s no secret that Google sees great potential within emerging markets, and is pulling out all the stops to make sure it does it right.

Speaking to the Financial Times, entrepreneurs from emerging markets worldwide offer up a few of the lessons they’re teaching their mentor Google when it comes to making progress – and importantly, an impact – within this digitally evolving group of emerging market consumers who are often hindered by spotty internet connectivity and low-bandwidth.

For example, FT points out, many Western developers make the assumption that online billing features are needed, when in reality this group of consumers doesn’t have widespread access to credit cards. Or, as Jorge Abraham Soto Moreno, the co-founder and CTO of Miroculus points out, regional regulations that restrict certain functions of an app are often taken for granted by Western developers, such as Brazil’s restrictions to house health data on the cloud. Cultural preferences should be considered when developing technology for emerging market consumers, such as India’s and China’s preference for a “crowded style of user interface.”

Lessons aren’t one sided at Launchpad, with emerging market participants learning of the benefits certain Western developments offer, such as live chat features and the possibilities made available through artificial intelligence and machine learning. Ultimately, Google has tapped into an opportunity to better bridge intel from all areas of the world, helping drive greater success opportunities for emerging market startups, while also gleaning insights into what drives the next billion and their quest for digital.

-- Clara Shen

Monday
Jun132016

Microsoft, social enterprise and last-mile innovation

Microsoft is providing seed capital for 12 social enterprises through its Affordable Access Initiative, a program that aims to leverage last-mile innovation in emerging markets.

According to initiative's director, Paul Garnett, the idea is to support low-cost, practical, high-impact, and scalable approaches by empowering local entrepreneurs with funding and access to peer resources. They're designed to increase connectivity for the 60% of humanity who are outside the digital loop. According to Garnett, local entrepreneurs not only understand local needs, they have the expertise to create new technologies and business models to meet market conditions.

Video source: Microsoft

-- Catalysts

Tuesday
Nov242015

Sustainability and poverty alleviation: focus on market-based solutions

I enjoyed a collection of recent articles in the New York Times focusing on the role of the private sector in sustainability and market based solutions to poverty, and recommend them to those interested in the topic. (Click on the headlines for the full articles).

Saving the World, Startup Style

The author notes that over the past 10 years, there has been a "quiet revolution" in the way many scholars and advocates think about aid. The revolutionary shift is the central philosophy that rich countries shouldn’t see themselves as responsible for coming up with theories about how poor countries can become richer. Rather, he says, "the rich countries allow the poor ones to determine what they think needs to happen — more girls in school, more vaccination, better access to global markets for farmers — and then pay money to whoever comes up with an actual solution. Governments, nonprofits and private-sector companies can compete on who can do this best."

Buffett's Grandson Seeks Own Investment Route: Social Change

Howard Warren Buffett, the grandson of the Berkshire Hathaway founder Warren E. Buffett has co-founded an operating company with big ambitions — essentially mimicking the structure of Berkshire Hathaway, but with a major difference in strategy. The plan is for the new company, called i(x) Investments, to invest in early-stage and undervalued companies that are working on issues such as clean energy, sustainable agriculture and water scarcity. “We’re looking at the long-term horizon and investments that are doing more than avoiding bad, but are actually trying to improve the world,” Mr. Buffett said. “It’s about taking the potential for capitalism to the next level.”

Unilver Finds that Shrinking Its Footprint Is A Giant Task

Unilever CEO Paul Polman has made sustainable production — of Hellmann’s, Lipton tea, Dove soap, Axe body spray and all the other products Unilever makes — the company’s top priority. Detergents are being reformulated, packaging is being reduced, and the company is taking steps to find more more eco-friendly food ingredients. But the transformation is not a simple one, and the article notes that before Unilever can "transform the world," it must focus on changes within the company.

Image source: New York Times

-- Clara Shen

Friday
Oct092015

Ashoka on ingredients for social intrepreneurship

We found a recent Forbes article on social intrepreneurship and changemaker companies interesting.

According to Ashoka, a changemaker company, one that is inclusive, adaptive and agile, is the "good soil" that is needed for social intrapreneurship to succeed. A changemaker company is a corporate ecosystem that nurtures new ideas, enables connections with external networks of co-creators, and allows for all employees to understand, recognize and engage in social innovation.

The changemaker company, Ashoka argues, incorporates the following three components:

  • A strong mandate and executive alignment towards creating social value, coupled with institutional infrastructure that prioritizes training and talent development needed for social innovation;
  • Integration of social impact objectives directly into corporate strategy, addressing the "charity" stigma associated with social good initiatives that generate revenue; and
  • Professional development and social impact engagement opportunities offered to employees at different levels of the organization, which include training in problem solving, empathy, innovation, resilience and creativity.

What are your thoughts -- are there other requirements for companies to be changemakers and/or foster social innovation? What about the role of sustainable performance?

Wednesday
Jul292015

Mars and Maua featured at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit

Mars shared its success story of Maua with hundreds of entrepreneurs from all over the world this past weekend during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in Nairobi, Kenya.The Summit, opened by President Obama and President Uhuru Kenyatta came alive with inspiring stories from entrepreneurs as well as multinational companies such as Mars, intentional in transforming the lives of millions of people around the world through innovation and inclusive entrepreneurship.
 
Speaking at one of the panel discussion forums focusing on how innovation can drive connections with consumers, Wrigley EA General Manager Daniel Omosa said that entrepreneurs should focus not only on quick gains but on how they can make their businesses more inclusive and sustainable. “Mars is keen on the sustainability agenda ensuring that our ingredient sourcing, ethical business policies as well as empowering communities are all high on our agenda and embedded in our mutuality principle.”
 
Maua is one of the innovative ways through which Wrigley is reaching customers while making a positive impact on social capital. Through the Maua program Wrigley has created more than 490 entrepreneurs in Kenya, a significant number of them being women, transforming their lives both socially and financially. “Currently over 30% of Maua entrepreneurs are women and this has changed their lives and the communities in which they live.” Daniel said.
 
Women and youth were a key focus at the summit and this was highlighted during President Obama’s opening speech in which he said that by empowering women, economic growth would be realized. “Women are powerhouse entrepreneurs. When women succeed, they invest more in their families and communities,” he added.
 
Also highlighted at the panel session was the importance of innovation and the ability to co-create products in order to connect with consumers. On this Daniel said, “The consumer is king and you must be ready to listen, adapt and improve on your product quality efficiently to ensure success.”
 
As a prelude to the Summit, the international media network Al Jazeera ran a feature “Counting the Cost – The Battle of Hearts, Minds and Trade in Africa” in which journalist Andrew Simmons interviews Daniel Omosa and takes a look at the US-Africa trade relationship [to watch click here]. Wrigley has been highlighted as an American company investing in Kenya and leading the way in instilling confidence in other investors to operate in Africa. Wrigley recently broke ground for the construction of a $63 million state-of-the-art factory at a time when multinational manufacturers are pulling out of the market and investing elsewhere.
 
The Global Entrepreneurship Summit is an initiative of the US government and this sixth edition was held in Sub-Saharan Africa for the first time. For more on this story please visit click on this link: "Wrigley and Mars Inspire African Entrepreneurs at Summit Opened by Barack Obama"

-- Wrigley Corporate Affairs, East Africa