Poor leap-frogging the rich?

Just read an intriguing Mother Jones article on the adoption of solar power in India’s slums. The two solar startups profiled in the article? Bangalore-based Simpa Networks and Bangalore-based Pollinate Energy. Here’s another interesting nugget – the co-founders of Simpa are two Americans and one Canadian while the co-founders of Pollinate are Australian. Australia vs. …

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Will Poole, on the 10 commandments of pitching BOP startups

[Editor’s Note: A few weeks ago, I had an engaging coffee chat with Unitus Seed Fund‘s (USF) Srikrishna Ramamoorthy and Eleanor Horowitz. The bulk of our discussion was on early stage social enterprises (USF’s sweet spot) and brainstorming on social entrepreneurship’s ‘top of the funnel’. If you are a current (or aspiring) social entrepreneur, you definitely …

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House of Dignity: Mighty Madiath’s Life Mission

Gram Vikas (GV) is my favorite Orissa organization. Heck, if I ever curated a Top 5 pan-India list, it would probably be in it. When I asked Bangalore’s rainwater harvesting guru for his Top 10 list of Indian NGOs, Gram Vikas inevitably made it there. I don’t wax eloquent about too many non-social enterprise organizations on this blog …

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Meet Ashok Khemka – the incorruptible Indian babu

Newton’s Law of Corruption: an Indian babu’s likelihood of  being corrupt is inversely proportional to the number of times he’s transferred. Higher the transfers, lower the likelihood of being corrupt. While babudom and anti-corruption agitation are topics that are not within the primary ambit of this blog, every once in a while I feel compelled to stray (for …

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The Ugly Indian Chronicles Volume 13: Close Encounter of the Babu Kind

Last evening, I visited the The Ugly Indian Facebook page after a long time. While I was sleeping, they’ve apparently continued doing what they do best, you know, beautifying Bangalore and changing people’s behavioral patterns. The latest iconic street that received their makeover was Commercial Street. It’s all Mr. Manivannan’s fault that I’m writing this …

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Mentor or advisor? What do you need for your enterprise?

[Editor’s Note: Ennovent, an early stage social investor fund which morphed into an accelerator of innovations for sustainability in low-income markets, recently hosted a gathering of entrepreneurs and mentors. The insights from the gathering were gleaned into an article which their Communications Manager (Perzen Patel) has shared with me. How mentors are different from advisors and …

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This Week in Social Enterprise Jobs – Volume 4

Disclaimer: The title of this post suggests that I do these posts every week but alas! the reality is that it’s more like every quarter or so. Volume 3 (Aug 2012) featured jobs from Mumbai-based Desta and in Volume 2 (May 2012) I cherry picked jobs from Khosla Impact’s portfolio companies. The trigger for this edition …

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Annual State of Education Report (ASER) 2012

Pratham’s Annual State of Education Report (aka ASER) for 2012 is out. You’ll find it here. Odds are you have an allergy towards massive PDF documents or you are the quintessential procrastinator. So what’s a man to do? Well… you wait for the good Krupakar Manukonda to read the report and start tweeting. Update: he has started …

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The Last 500 Feet

[Editor’s Note: Paul Polak, social entrepreneur and author of Out of Poverty, wrote this highly informative narrative of the problems (and some proposed solutions) in the rural transportation area (what he terms as the ‘last 500 feet’) with stories from Orissa to Uganda to Bangladesh to Nepal to Somalia to Zambia and back to (Eastern) …

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