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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SELCO Labs announces sustainable energy challenge

Earlier today, I read a tweet from SELCO’s official account that talked about a sustainability energy challenge launched under the umbrella of SELCO Labs. SELCO Labs, the innovation and incubation arm of SELCO started in April 2009 and is hosted inside the premises of SDM Institute of Technology, Ujire, Karnataka. The most interesting and revealing aspect …

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Two bright lights in India’s Impact Investing Landscape

The two bright lights in India’s impact investing landscape are Harish Hande’s $10 million fund for sustainable energy enterprises and Khosla Impact. Sustainable Energy Fund Last month I finally got a chance to spend some time with Harish Hande at the SELCO office in JP Nagar, Bangalore. Our conversation ranged from ‘SELCO culture’ and non-English …

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Social Enterprise Jobs in India – Who’s Hiring?

A few months ago, a 2nd year MBA student from Mumbai (let’s call him “Nikhil”) emailed me asking for advice/leads on the social enterprise sector. Nikhil had some exposure to the social enterprise sector and, when I last met him, was looking at “regular MBA” jobs as well. My immediate response was to send him …

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Color of money

A few weeks ago, I attended the two-day Unconvention 2011 – a social enterprise conference hosted by Villgro in Chennai. Nilima Achwal (Villgro Fellow) and I co-authored our conference report on the NextBillion blog – Villgro’s Unconvention 2011 – Key Takeaways. In social enterprise conferences, impact investing topics get a fair bit of air time and …

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Calling bullshit on Forbes’ List of Top 30 Social Entrepreneurs

Normally I don’t pay much attention to Top [X] rankings. Maybe today was a slow news day. Maybe I just returned from Villgro’s Unconvention and am still chewing the cud so am hyper-sensitive on who is(isn’t) a social entrepreneur, what is(isn’t) a social enterprise. Scott Anderson’s article on NextBillion alerted me to this freshly released …

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The curious history of conditional cash transfers

[Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series of six excerpts from chapter 4 (education policy) of Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo’s Poor Economics. According to World Bank, more than 30 countries have some form of Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programs.] In a recent interview, Harish Hande (Founder of SELCO) and 2011 Magsaysay Award …

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