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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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Intuit Fasal quietly disrupting the farm market intelligence space

What happens when you breed JustDial and ZipDial with a Nasdaq 100 software company in the Indian rural countryside? You get Intuit Fasal – a powerful agtech platform with a mission to help farmers make more money! For my non-Indian readers, I should mention that  JustDial is India’s leading voice-based local search engine and ZipDial is one of the […]

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Is Rangsutra the only recent Social Enterprise exit?

Put an impact investor on a panel at a social enterprise conference and you can be assured of at least two quotes. “There just aren’t enough quality social entrepreneurs” “The problem with the social enterprise ecosystem is that there are no exits” Social entrepreneurs (on similar panel discussions) would counter point #1 with “there just […]

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A second white revolution in India: it’s not what you think!

[Editor's Note: A decade ago, if a soothsayer had predicted that I'd someday write about female sanitary napkins, I might have reacted violently. But this story is much more than that - it's a story of job creation, of women's empowerment, of a problem solver with the dogged stubbornness of an inventor. It's the story […]

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ITC’s e-Choupal model to increase farmer revenue and its own bottom-line

[Editor's Note: Last month, I met with Sivakumar Surampudi, a 22 year ITC veteran, architect of e-Choupal, and head of their Agro Business Division (ABD) at his office in Hyderabad. This post is based on our conversation, email exchanges and related research.] ITC, among a handful of public Indian companies to adopt triple bottom line […]

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FarmsNFarmers – a full-service approach to maximizing farmers profits

[Editor's Note: A few weeks ago, I had an engaging conversation with Shashank Kumar, co-founder of Farms N Farmers, an end-to-end farmer consulting-and-marketing social enterprise with the goal to maximize profits for small plot farmers. This post is based on our conversation and subsequent email exchanges.] After 5 long months, I was finally reminded of […]

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Establishing commodity cooperatives – role of promoting organizations

[Editor's Note: This is the final part of a 7-part series on commodity cooperatives in drought prone regions, originally authored as a pre-published paper by Dr. Trilochan Sastry (Academic Dean, IIM-Bangalore and social entrepreneur/activist). Dr. Sastry is shaping a new model for farmer owned-and-run commodity cooperatives in Andhra Pradesh through Center for Collective Development (CCD), […]

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Establishing commodity cooperatives – promoter philosophy, leadership and cooperative rules

[Editor's Note: This is part 6 of a 7-part series on commodity cooperatives in drought prone regions, originally authored as a pre-published paper by Dr. Trilochan Sastry (Academic Dean, IIM-Bangalore and social entrepreneur/activist). Dr. Sastry is shaping a new model for farmer owned-and-run commodity cooperatives in Andhra Pradesh through Center for Collective Development (CCD), a […]

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Greenway Smart Stove: A cleaner smarter stove for 150 million BOP households

[Editor's Note: I briefly met Neha Juneja, co-founder of Mumbai-based Greenway Grameen Infra, on the sidelines of Sankalp Forum (covered here). I followed up with a phone conversation with her last week. This post is based on our conversation and related research. Greenway Grameen was one of the Sankalp finalists in the Agricultural, Food & […]

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The mud chulhas of India

I’m still halfway through my post on Greenway Grameen Infrastructure (published here). The Greenway Grameen Infra crew has done a fair amount of market research and have amassed a veritable photo collection that shows the diversity of mud chulhas (stoves) being used in different parts of India. I present to you those pictures (courtesy Greenway […]

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