Social programs will be much more effective if philanthropists and social entrepreneurs marshal the power of prices and incentives rather than ignore them.” —Eduardo Porter on the role of pricing in social innovation. His new book, The Price of Everything: Solving the Mystery of Why We Pay What We Do, is a must-read. (via curiositycounts)
Microfinance, giving small loans to entrepreneurs in the developing world, has been a fantastic step forward in the fight against poverty. Capitalizing on the innovation that already exists in impoverished communities is a brilliant anti-poverty strategy, that was long overdue and desperately needed. Solutions from the bottom are almost always more effective than solutions delivered from an ivory tower.
Microfinance is an incredible tool, but it is no panacea. The problem with microfinance lies in scaling it. The idea of extending loans to every community, to every impoverished person, is dependent on every impoverished person sitting on a brilliant business idea. And while the fact that every person can access capital is an enormous step forward in the fight against poverty, the average person isn´t seeking the fulfillment of running and operating their own business (and all the risks that come along with it), most people are seeking a paycheck, and a way to feed their families.
Most people would be better off if they had opportunity to capitalize on the best and brightest ideas, those which have already been tested and vetted in the market, and which don´t carry all the risk of a brand new enterprise. This is the model that creates a stable middle class, organizing labor under strong business models.
And the fastest, most effective ways to grow these organizations? Franchising.
Unmarked Streets was founded on the belief that all humans have the right to walk the road of life with dignity. Poverty denies billions of people the opportunity to build that life for themselves.
Unmarked Streets envisions a path to economic empowerment.
We aim to empower communities through the funding and development of social enterprises. Unmarked Streets is working to build a road, not only out of an unjust and unsustainable situation, but towards a life where individuals can choose and pursue their own dreams, and inspire the community around them.
“You will come to a place where the streets are not marked
Some windows are lighted but mostly they’re darked
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?”
Oh! The Places You’ll Go!