SEATTLE — Many have taken on the fight against poverty, but entrepreneurs and microfinance institutions have often been the most successful at enacting widespread positive change. Developing markets have triumphed and this has set the foundation for economic self-sufficiency in many countries. Thus, entrepreneurship has been an ally of the poor.
When provided with adequate amounts of training, young people from rural communities attain higher levels of education and skill. As a result, they are able to join the labor market and start their own businesses. This increases economic growth and impacts countries for the better. Countries also provide their youth with skills training to combat high rates of unemployment.
Countries like Uganda, Thailand and Brazil have benefitted a great deal due to the opportunities offered by entrepreneurship. An analysis conducted by a Huffington Post source highlights that entrepreneurs contribute to a staggering 78 percent of full-time jobs in developing countries.
Jack Harriman, Beth Schmidt and Leila Jannah have all founded nonprofits and helped raise entire communities out of absolute poverty. Leila Jannah, for example, created Samasource, a nonprofit based on the principle of crowdsourcing that provides jobs for individuals from the developing world.
The 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit at Stanford University recently brought together 700 entrepreneurs across 170 countries to discuss ways to increase innovation. It is imperative that prospective entrepreneurs attain the resources and knowledge to invest in and undertake new projects.
At the 2016 summit, U.S. President Barack Obama said that ‘’people succeed and communities prosper when they have the skills and resources needed to start their own businesses.” Consequently, USAID has been involved with organizations such as Village Capital and Intellecap.
Along with providing grants and funds to support investment and skill development, USAID’s own program, Development Innovation Ventures, has directly amplified the number of investments in new developing markets.
Social enterprises have reaped these benefits and many women have been encouraged to take on ventures. Power Africa, another program by USAID, has spearheaded investments in new technology, partnerships and aspiring enterprises. The project revolves around making clean energy affordable to rural families by adopting off-grid solutions.
The World Toilet Organization (WTO) has also harnessed the power of entrepreneurship by empowering local businesspeople in their strongholds in Cambodia, Sub-Saharan Africa and India. Their pioneering work has led them to train 500 local masons who supply their communities with cheap but durable toilets. This has addressed the the problem of sanitation and helped poor communities who now have a steady source of income.
Organizations like Echoing Green and the National Social Entrepreneurial Forum have extensively promoted and accentuated the vitality of entrepreneurship. Echoing Green focuses on raising growth capital by maintaining a strong network of funds to draw from. The nonprofit has trained social entrepreneurs in many sectors around the world through their Fellowship programs and strive to improve global education and alleviate poverty.
The Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India is another ally of the poor—they have increased innovation by providing various degree programs in addition to entrepreneurship education throughout India. Micro and social entrepreneurship have flourished greatly as a result of their work.
The Make-in India campaign, established by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, encourages companies to manufacture their products in India. This project has further incentivized up and coming local entrepreneurs to carry out their ventures, and led to an increase in foreign direct investment (FDI).
Encouraging entrepreneurship is the most sustainable way to help the poor. People can use products of innovation to survive and support their families. Entrepreneurship continues to be an ally of the poor, and has improved the wellbeing of generations of individuals.
– Shivani Ekkanath