Thursday, September 25, 2008

Why dream big, when you can dream small and get bigger?

The break-up of the former Soviet Union and the Eastern Block saw a rush of Western organizations eager to capitalize on new markets. Many were less than ethical. Others were unable to work successfully in a "foreign cultural environment". Many were ready to invest considerable sums of money hoping for massive return, but then got entangled in the messy politics, organized crime and lack of infrastructure which the previous system spawned. Most of these initiatives were designed to increase profit in the West and not to increase quality of life in the new host countries. The end result is a lack of sustainability and goodwill for future growth.

What is the answer? As with any issue there is more than one answer, but one answer with incredible potential is micro-enterprise or micro-finance. This sphere of business shot to prominence with the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Muhammad Yunus of Grameen Bank in 2006. But the larger organizations had been practicing this discipline for a couple of decades. CCT in the Philippines developed from a small micro-finance organization to a juggernaut. It has provided sustainable profitable growth affecting thousands of previously extremely poor Philippinos, transforming society. Now thousands have income, health insurance and pensions. CCT has also founded a Costco-type wholesale franchise, a hospital system, an education system and a charity dedicated to street people - and this is a "For-Profit".

If you like the idea of tapping into an incredible growth market, while at the same time enabling lasting beneficial change in societies across the globe, perhaps micro-enterprise and micro-finance are fields for you to explore.

Please connect to know more if you are interested.

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