Charles Mann offers a big story in the latest issue of the Atlantic. It’s 11,000 words, and it’s based around an audacious premise: the end of energy scarcity. The peg for the story is Japan’s ongoing research on methane hydrate, an amalgam of natural gas trapped in water ice that occurs in oceans around the world. If methane hydrate can be harvested, Mann tell us, the global supply of hydrocarbon fuels are virtually unlimited. This, he argues, would have massive geopolitical and strategic implications, as the history of the twentieth century can be read in part through the lens of wealthy nations without oil seeking the black stuff in less developed lands. New forms of power might center on who can extract ice that burns like natural gas.
The bulk of the Mann piece is a debate over “peak oil”, an idea put forward by M. King Hubbert in the 1950s, when he correctly predicted that US oil production would slow. Mann’s piece pits Hubbert against Vincent E. McKelvey, his boss at the US Geological Survey for years, who argued that energy supplies are virtually inexhaustible, though the costs to extract them increase as we use up the “easy” oil ready to burst above the surface. While Hubbert’s predictions about US oil production were initially right, Mann argues, the rise of techniques like horizontal drilling and hydrofracking means McKelvey is right in the long run. If we need methane hydrate – and Japan does, as it lacks other hydrocarbon resources – we’ll find a way to pay for it. The argument only looks like a contradiction, Mann argues, because it’s an argument between geologists on one side and social scientists on the other, and from the social scientists’ point of view, so long as there’s economic demands for hydrocarbons and the means to extract it, we should expect these fuels to keep flowing.
There’s something very attractive about Mann’s argument. He writes as an insider who’s going to let you in on what the smart guys know that poor, dumb saps like me would never imagine. It’s a tone you hear a lot in Washington policy circles, a realpolitik view of the world that suggests you can entertain yourself with solar panels as long as you’d like, but the adults in the room are deciding who gets invaded for their petrochemical wealth and whose civilizations will collapse into a new Medieval period.
Fortunately, there are some smart responses to Mann’s article, some vitriolic, some patient and thoughtful. (To the Atlantic’s credit, they published both Mann’s piece and Chris Nelder’s excellent response.) The essence of the responses is this: yes, there’s a whole lot of methane trapped in ice. Yes, if we could extract it, we’d have a whole lot of fuel that burns with half the carbon emissions of coal. But it’s unclear we can ever extract this at an affordable cost. (Canada just dropped out of the methane hydrate race, perhaps because they see extracting oil from tar sands as a more plausible source of hydrocarbons.)
And even if we can, then what? Methane burns cleaner than coal, but we’d be still emitting massive amounts of CO2 in a methane-based economy.
Mann’s not wholly unaware of the environmental implications of methane hydrate for global CO2 levels, but he frames his argument simply: natural gas may be bad, but coal’s worse. He acknowledges that we’ll need to move to renewables, but worries that we won’t be able to store power during periods of low solar or wind intensity. (These are real problems, but ones where a great deal of innovation are taking place, from high tech solutions like power-storing flywheels to effective low-tech solutions like pumped storage.)
In his cursory consideration of how a near-infinite supply of methane might have negative environmental implications, Mann dedicates 2 paragraphs of his love-song to natural gas to a minor problem: methane is a potent greenhouse gas. When a gas well leaks more than 3%, it’s worse from a climate change perspective than burning coal. And it’s not just the wells – America has a long system of pipelines that carry natural gas, and no one is sure just how leaky those pipes are.
Mann assures us that repairing the holes in natural gas pipelines (3,356 in Boston’s pipelines alone!), is “a task that developed nations can accomplish”. It’s not as hard as changing the laws of economics, Mann asserts, which ensure that cheap natural gas will help America recover its geopolitical might.
So let’s talk for a moment about those laws of economics. If you’re a natural gas pipeline operator, losing 3% of your supplies in transit is a rounding error, so long as the gas dissipates and doesn’t present an explosion risk. My friend at the Department of Energy who made me aware of natural gas leakage noted that current requirements for pipeline inspection largely involve flying over vast lengths of cast-iron pipe and looking for browning of vegetation from leaking gas, a method that would be humorously inexact if the environmental consequences weren’t so serious.
The laws of economics Mann is so focused on won’t force pipeline operators to replace their leaky infrastructure. Markets don’t do a very good job of correcting for “externalities” like climate impact, unless governments force them to. The modest success of cap and trade in the northeastern US under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative required nine states to spend political capital and impose new requirements on industry, requirements that were politically unpopular, especially with Republican governors, like Mitt Romney who pulled Massachusetts out of the compact. (Deval Patrick pulled us back in, thankfully.)
The ultimate point of Mann’s essay, I think, is that environmentalists have hoped that peak oil and the threat of losing our energy supplies would push developed economies to embrace zero-emissions power. That’s not going to happen, Mann argues – so long as we’re willing to pay for it, hydrocarbon energies are inexhaustible for the foreseeable future. What Mann doesn’t say is this: if we are worried about climate change, the market won’t solve things for us – we need governments to help us.
That’s a deeply unsexy position to hold these days. Authors like Mann are fascinated by ways in which new technologies can save us from ourselves, discovering energy sources where none existed before, and developing even more profound technological solutions to handle the waste, like sequestering CO2 deep into the ocean, where it becomes trapped in water ice much as methane is trapped in methane hydrate. The problem is that these technologies cost billions to develop, and there are always cheaper alternatives that have externalities not calculated in market equations. The market for CO2 sequestration exists only if meaningful, widespread controls on greenhouse gas emissions come into play and create “artificial” incentives to invest in these technologies.
My friend Ivan Krastev has a smart essay – a short TED ebook – called “In Mistrust We Trust: Can Democracy Survive When We Don’t Trust Our Leaders?” Of the several problems he identifies with contemporary democracies, one of the most challenging is this: “Economic decision-making is methodically being taken out of democratic politics as the spectrum of acceptable policy choices has been dramatically narrowed. Politics has been reduced to the art of adjusting to the imperatives of the market.”
Krastev is largely focused on the ways European economies are wrestling with austerity, trying to provide social services to their populations but facing market pressures to be globally competitive. Voters become systematically disenfranchised because their popular will is held in check by what markets “want”.
We face similar disenfranchisement in the US. A large majority of Americans see climate change as a serious problem. But carbon taxes remain largely off the table in the US, due to fears of reducing American competitiveness in a global market.
Mann and the Atlantic missed a great opportunity here to celebrate what’s actually working: a slow conversion towards solar and wind in parts of the world where cap and trade and other emissions controls have been put into place. It’s not as sexy as burning ice, but it’s a future far more livable than the one Mann posits.
Organization: Invested Development
Overview Title: Investments Intern
Start/End Date: Spring Semester 2012
Schedule: 15 hours per week
Invested Development is looking for a highly motivated business student at the junior or senior undergraduate level. The ideal candidate enjoys learning about technology startups and businesses that create impact in emerging markets. Specifically, an interest in international business, investing, entrepreneurship, and mobile tech and/or alternative energy startups is preferred. The intern should possess a strong commitment to social enterprise.
The intern will report to the ID Marketing and Research Manager. Primary tasks will include compiling key findings documents from research reports, online research, sourcing pipeline, lead generation, and creating deliverables for internal and external use.
Initial assignments will include:
Send resume (PDF preferred) and cover letter to Christina at ctamer[at]investeddevelopment.com. Use “ID Intern - first name last name” as the subject. Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.
About Invested Development
We are a for-profit, impact investment fund manager sourcing and funding the most impacting solutions to global poverty. We invest in seed stage social enterprise with mobile technology and alternative energy solutions that are affordable and scalable in emerging markets.
Organization: Waste Capital Partners
INDIA COUNTRY DIRECTOR
Waste Capital Partners, a solid waste management company with a social mission, is seeking a country director for its India operations. Waste Capital Partners employs waste pickers to conduct doorstep garbage collection while also utilizing the collected garbage to create and market compost and recyclables. We are a rapidly growing young international company with a focus on delivering better livelihoods for waste pickers, cleaner cities, and a better environment. We seek an experienced professional that has strong field operational experience and is now seeking to build a high-performing business working with marginalized communities.
Manage Waste Capital Partners’ two service lines in India: Household and Municipal Solid Waste Management Services.
COMPENSATION is competitive and will be a combination of salary and vesting stock.
LOCATION is flexible Please apply by submitting your resume and cover letter at http://www.wastecapitalpartners.com/jobs
Authored by: Myra Valenzuela
(Pictured: Abduallah Abdel Qassim, 47, a partner in aluminum shop making window frames that received microloan from Social Welfare Fund for equipment. Image credit: World Bank Photo Collection).
High rates of youth unemployment across the Middle East and North Africa were a major catalyst for the Arab Spring revolutions. To help address this pressing issue, the Development Marketplace is preparing for a country-level competition in Egypt early next year. The proposed DM competition will focus on social entrepreneurs with projects that have a strong impact on creating sustainable job opportunities, especially for low-income and marginalized groups. The main focus of the Egypt DM will be on supporting projects in the agricultural supply chain sector.
In order to understand the bigger picture of social entrepreneurship in Egypt, I spoke with Ehaab Abdou, who recently joined the Development Marketplace team to develop the Egypt DM program. Prior to coming to the Bank Ehaab was an Ashoka Fellow and advisor for the Middle East Youth Initiative at Brookings. For Ehaab, there are three main challenges facing social entrepreneurship in the MENA region and in Egypt in particular:
Although the social entrepreneurship field in Egypt has its challenges, there have been some recent positive trends. The SE ecosystem is growing; for example, Technoserve is likely to expand its work to Egypt, joining other major players like Ashoka, Acumen, Endeavor, Schwab, and Skoll Foundation, all of whom have been working in the region for the last few years.
Plans to hold public-private dialogues around the restrictive regulatory framework are in the making. Additionally, civil society groups interested in becoming implementing partners of the Egypt DM program have expressed a desire to work collaboratively and not competitively. There is a strong sense of urgency now to build on this recent momentum and offer social innovators in Egypt the support they need to transform society. (Pictured: A Yemeni woman entrepreneur who rents the use of this pool table to the residents of her town. Image credit: World Bank photo collection).
As Ehaab asserts:
"For social entrepreneurship and inclusive business models to thrive and play their desired and much needed role in the region's development, we have to create the necessary ecosystem which includes the missing intermediaries as well as addressing the restrictive legal and regulatory framework."
Organization: Calvert Foundation
Calvert Foundation seeks an Investor Relations Associate to work closely with impact investors supporting low-income communities throughout the US and around the world. The Associate will support the organization’s work with investors, donors, and financial professionals at the cutting edge of investing for social impact.
The Associate will be a primary point of contact and provider of administrative support for impact investors. The successful candidate will be a talented and socially-committed individual, with strong communication and administrative skills, a sharp attention to detail, and a can-do spirit.
Principal Duties and Responsibilities:
Qualifications, Skills and Required Experience:
Comments: This position is full-time with generous benefits that include medical, dental, life, PTO & sick leave, 401(k), transportation subsidy, and more. The position is based in Bethesda, MD. No phone calls please. Interested candidates should send a resume and cover letter to email@example.com with “Investor Relations Associate” in the subject line.
Organization: H2O Venture Partners
What is H2O Venture Partners? H2O Venture Partners (www.h2ovp.com) is an exciting, ground-breaking business in the field of social entrepreneurship and impact investment.
Based in Oxford, UK, but with activities in India and Africa, we are a team of ten entrepreneurs and support staff. We style ourselves as ‘pre-business plan investors’ who then run a full, highly creative process of business creation. Increasingly we apply our skills to impact investment: creating sustainable, profitable enterprises benefiting the poor of developing countries.
As part of H2O’s East African agricultural program we are establishing processes for identifying and mentoring a cadre of local entrepreneurial managers who can work to validate nascent commercial opportunities and, if appropriate, develop these into full businesses.
What is the Job?
We are recruiting a New Businesses Manager to be based in Kigali to identify and recruit entrepreneurial managers in-country (supported by executive search consultants) and thereafter to support the business development activities of those managers on their individual projects, including:
The New Businesses Manager will also undertake some travel to provide business development support for other H2O projects in the region.
Who Are We Looking For?
Educated to first degree level or higher in a relevant subject, you preferably have experience of working in the region.
You are a creative self-starter, who enjoys working autonomously and with considerable discretion to deliver high level outcomes. You are an experienced pair of managerial hands, able to run a process to tight timescales, willing to identify and address problems promptly, and able to work effectively with a range of people of different backgrounds, personalities and skill sets.
You will have a strong ability to communicate in written and spoken English, and a good grasp of Excel and PowerPoint.
Experience of business development is also highly desirable, but for candidates with demonstrable entrepreneurial potential the post will provide an opportunity to gain considerable exposure to the excitement and challenges of business creation.
What are the terms of employment?
Please respond with a CV and covering letter to Dr. Antonia Cardew
Closing date: we will run a rolling recruitment process, but in any case, please submit applications before 16 February 2012.
Organization: Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship
The Skoll Centre is looking to hire an entrepreneurial leader to help grow the Centre as the Skoll Centre Manager. This is a senior position within the team dedicated to designing and driving forth overall strategy and its operational implementation. They should have deep experience in global social entrepreneurship and a proven track record of managing teams and organisations.
The Manager will work directly with the Centre Director in all external facing efforts in building a collaborative network, including partnership and business development, as well as relationship management across Oxford University, the Skoll Foundation, and other investors.
The Manager oversees all operational aspects (including budgeting, marketing, finance, human resource and reporting) whilst also serving as a strategic advisor on the Skoll Centre activities, especially its Developing Talent portfolio.
The right candidate will need to know how to spot opportunities, manage people and key relationships, and create structures in flexible and open environment. They will be a collaborative self-starter, an excellent written and verbal communicator and an experienced ambassador for social entrepreneurs.
Full details available here.
Closing date February 10, 2012
Authored by: Stuart Hart
Editor's note: This post originally appeared on Stuart Hart's blog.
Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, economies of scale have ruled the day, with massive investments in power plants, pipelines, factories, transmission lines, dams, and highways to more efficiently serve the burgeoning consumption needs of the rising consumer classes. Industrial-era technologies (such as electricity, petrochemicals, and automobiles) were also closely associated with mass production, the assembly line, and centralized, bureaucratic organization, resulting in the rise of organized labor, worker alienation, and growing social stratification.
As we enter the second decade of the new century, however, the "dark satanic mills" of the Industrial Revolution are giving way to a new generation of technologies that promise to change dramatically the societal, economic, and environmental landscape. The information economy powered by the microchip has already begun to revolutionize society by democratizing access to information and empowering the repressed. Indeed, YouTube, Twitter, and the rapid emergence of the "blogosphere" have spawned a bottom-up revolution in user-generated content.
Authored by: Ignacio Mas
Mobile money helps people pay for things in two ways. Directly, by sending value to suppliers of goods and services; and indirectly, by getting remittances from friends and family members which can be used to pay for things. Mobile money works best when there is a coincidence of timing between sources and uses of funds, as then the transaction is immediate. But when there is separation in time between when money is available and when it needs to be paid out, mobile money has so far proved less useful.
The separation in time can occur for two main reasons: (i) if the payment needs to be made on a specified future date (e.g. rent, school fees, electricity bill, seeds for planting), or (ii) if the payment is sizable relative to income flows, such that there needs to be an accumulation of funds prior to the commitment of the expenditure (e.g. buying a motorcycle or new farming implement). These expenditures constitute spending goals, and people will use a variety of mechanisms to achieve them.
Bridging that gap is the role of the store-of-value account in a mobile money system, except that it appears that most people don't leave much value in there. That is probably to a large extent because for regulatory reasons mobile money is usually not marketed as a savings vehicle. But it could also be that people find mobile money too liquid, too easily available: like cash in the pocket, it is best gotten rid of in favor of something valuable (a chicken or a pig), lest it comes to be used for something superfluous.
Since these spending goals represent future expenditures, one could use a system of deferred payments to apply current income to these future goals (see this detailed paper, Savings as Forward Payments: Innovations on Mobile Money Platforms, written by Colin Mayer and myself). Think of these as Me2Me payments (across time), instead of the garden-variety P2P payments (across people, in real time). All it takes to create them is one additional optional field in the standard money transfer menu: the date when the transaction is to take effect. (Immediate execution could be the default, if no date is specified.)
Thus, if I had a good day and made $5 today, I'll cash in the $5, send $2 to myself for February 28 because that's when school fees are due, and another $2 to myself for June 30 because that's when I aim to buy a bicycle; the remaining $1 I'll keep in my liquid mobile money account for daily expenditures. Or if I am a farmer, I'll cash in the value of my crop at harvest time, but can then send good chunks of it to myself to those dates when I need to pay for the rent of the land for the next season, and pay for soil preparation and seeds at planting time. With the remaining value, the farmer could even create monthly payments to himself emulating a salary until the next harvest.
Me2Me payments to future dates are functionally equivalent to commitment savings sub-accounts, each of which is associated with a particular future date. Through this scheme, there is no need to pre-define or open multiple accounts. In the customer's mind, each date, and hence each sub-account, would be associated with a purpose. In this fashion, mobile money providers can create an easy-to-use commitment savings platform that maps out how people think about their needs and their money.
Most people save because they want to buy something. Applying a payments logic to savings behaviors makes it more tangible and relevant for people. It's parking money for a purpose, it's pushing it forward until you have enogh. It's reinforcing the positives (the spending goals) rather than the sacrifices (savings).
Enabling Me2Me payments is a value add for mobile money providers. But more importantly, it can help soften the brutal network effects that are inherent in the early phase of development of P2P networks. With Me2Me, mobile money may be a very useful even when few other people are on the network, because it helps people manage their own money.
Authored by: Blair Miller
Editor's note: This post was previously published on the Acumen Fund blog.
I had an interesting moment of reflection the other day about the field of social entrepreneurship. We are reaching a point where we are seeing a second wave of professionals moving into this space. I look back to about 7-10 years ago when I started pursuing this work. We were all entrepreneurs in our own right trying to define a career path that just didn't fit with the mold. We all came at if from different angles and were experimenting in different sectors, geographies, and educational degrees.
The other day though I began to realize that the field of social entrepreneurship is becoming more professionalized. We have people prescribing their careers. First consulting out of undergrad, then a one year stint at an NGO or social enterprise abroad, then B-school, then they land a "job" at an organization in this field. It is so interesting that people are pursing "jobs" in this space, and it is also exciting to see as it is demonstrating that the industry is growing and becoming more institutionalized.
So as I observe this shift, there are two things I am thinking about.
First, what does this mean for the level of innovation pumping in and out of the industry? With a more "traditional" career path into this field, will it stifle the entrepreneurial drive of our industry and/or bring in the systems and processes we need to really grow?
Second, while there is a more traditional path into the field, there are still not traditional career progressions within the field. I find that many people who come into the field for a "job" struggle to see what their career path beyond that job looks like. That aspect of our industry is still very entrepreneurial: the people who are successful at staying in this field understand how to move in and out of sectors and organizations.
With this in mind, it is interesting to see how our field will evolve...
Authored by: Marc Gunther
In the developed world, brewing giant SABMiller, whose global brands include Miller, Peroni, Grolsch and Pilsner Urquell, competes with the even bigger brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev, which owns Budweiser, Beck's, Stella Artois and Michelob. They're the Pepsi and Coke of beer, which, by the way, is the world's third most popular drink, after water and tea.
But in Africa, SABMiller's biggest competitor is the guy (or gal) who makes beer at home. That's a big reason why the company, which had revenues of $28 billion last year, recently began selling Impala, a beer made from cassava, in Mozambique. Similarly, for about a decade, SABMiller has been selling Eagle Lager, a beer brewed with sorghum, in Uganda.
Using ingredients local like cassava and sorghum crops appeals to local tastes, supports local farmers and keeps costs down so SABMiller can price its beer lower to compete with homemade brews.
"By using locally-sourced raw materials, we can make high-quality, but affordable products for consumers who would otherwise be drinking informal or illicit alcohol. So the long term commercial opportunities are significant," Andy Wales, SABMiller's global head of sustainability, told me in an email interview.
Beer at the bottom of the pyramid, you could call it.
Authored by: Tracy Elsen
Opportunities in China for impact investing are growing, where investors look to create positive social and environmental benefits alongside returns. Impact investors actively choose to put their money into companies that address social and environmental issues through their business models. Tao Zhang, the Chief Operating Officer of New Ventures, WRI's center for environmental entrepreneurship with local operations in China and five other high growth markets, answers questions on the country's current investment climate for environmentally-focused small and medium enterprises (SMEs).Is there a culture of impact investing and impact-focused companies in China?
Zhang: Impact investing is a very new concept in China and most companies remain very commercially focused. Many companies with environmental and social benefits inherent in their business models are not yet familiar with the impact investing concept, and thus are not in a position to present themselves as "impact" companies. At New Ventures, which is led in China by Country Director Walter Ge, we have worked with companies that have only realized the environmental impact they create after they have gone through an exercise to help them manage their environmental performance. In this exercise, New Ventures helps companies to quantify the positive impacts of their products and services, such as reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
However, on the other hand, there are many companies that provide real environmental solutions in China, such as those that we work with in the energy efficiency, water quality, and recycling sectors.
Zhang: There is abundant opportunity in China for impact investing, particularly relating to the environment. A lot of the big business decisions in China are driven by government, not by the private sector. However, there is a huge demand and room for the private sector and investment, particularly SMEs, to help implement the government's goals for environmental protection and poverty reduction. The government has a "top down" approach, and it makes sense to add in a "bottom up" approach, which is where SMEs and their investors can play a significant role.Who are the investors in China right now putting money into companies creating impact?
Zhang: Right now it is very much commercial capital, as I don't think there are many self-declared impact investors. There are a few trying to gain traction, but they face challenges building capacity on the ground to source deals and interact with entrepreneurs. These developments will require significant time commitment from investors. Impact investors from more mature markets in the U.S. or Europe do not have enough resources to set up an office or hire staff on the ground in China. And it's hard to find and hire the right type of people in China because qualified investment professionals tend to choose to work for more traditional investors.What needs to take place in China for impact investing to grow?
Zhang: Given the need for China to create sustainable economic growth over the decades to come, impact investing has an important role to play and should gain traction in the country.
The government has an opportunity to develop policies that encourage more investment into Chinese impact companies both internationally and domestically. Specifically, policies relating to foreign investments in Chinese start-ups need further clarity. Investors have been finding it challenging to convert their money into local currency upon entry and vice versa when they repatriate the capital upon a successful exit.
Meanwhile, organizations that promote impact investing can do a better job marketing its potential benefits. When one talks to different stakeholders in China, including government officials, about impact investing, time and energy is required to explain to them what it is all about.
The good news is that some Chinese cities, like Shanghai, are starting to pilot foreign limited partner-friendly policies to improve the investment climate for international investors. This growing trend in China will potentially make international investors feel increasingly comfortable investing in local companies.
The government is also starting to take notice of impact companies. At the recent China New Industrial Development Forum in Shenzhen, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced a report on the "Green Impact of Chinese SMEs", which is scheduled to come out in March 2012. The report, which makes extensive use of the environmental performance indicators that New Ventures uses, will collect and analyze the financial, environmental, and social performance of Chinese green SMEs, highlighting their environmental and social contributions to the economy.What is New Ventures planning to do in China to grow the impacts of the environmental companies it works with?
Zhang: New Ventures China recently received funding from a Hong Kong-based foundation to look into the feasibility of creating China's first genuine environmental impact fund. The objective of the study is to look at the macro picture and figure out how to take advantage of New Ventures China's portfolio of environmental enterprises to either set up or help facilitate a fund.
Hopefully, New Ventures can help provide these companies not only with technical assistance but also the necessary financing to help them scale up to the point where they are sufficiently attractive to traditional venture investors.
We will also work with the Information Centre of MIIT to tackle the barriers to the growth of environmental entrepreneurship in the country. By sharing best practices from New Ventures China's high-impact environmental SMEs, we are well placed to develop recommendations for policy-makers and investors to accelerate environmental entrepreneurship and green investment in China.
Organization: MaRS Centre for Impact Investing
Position Type: Full-time
Location: ON - Metro Toronto
Application Deadline: 2012-01-30
The Director, Centre for Impact Investing will provide strategic direction for the Centre’s programs and initiatives, manage the operations and staff of the Centre, and manage an extensive network of external stakeholders and partners.
About the Centre for Impact Investing
Building upon the foundational work of the Canadian Task Force on Social Finance, which was supported by Social Innovation Generation (SiG) and MaRS, the Centre for Impact Investing is a national social finance hub dedicated to advancing impact investing in Canada. The MaRS Centre for Impact Investing will increase awareness, develop and share knowledge and expand the effective application of social finance, by catalyzing new partnerships, mobilizing new capital, attracting and developing talent, and stimulating innovation focused on tackling social and environmental problems in Canada. The Centre will support the growing, vibrant network of players active in social finance across Canada, and help connect Canadian partners to the active global community working in the field of impact investing in both developed and emerging markets. The Centre will be active in market and product development, as well as develop and deliver programs and services focused on research and policy, impact measurement, education and multi-sector engagement initiatives to mobilize private capital towards public good. The Centre will also deliver current MaRS programs such as the Social Venture Exchange (SVX), the Canadian B-Corp licensing hub, and SocialFinance.ca.
For more details, visit: http://www.marsdd.com/careers/directory/director-centre-impact-investing/
How To Apply:
Interested candidates should forward their resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 30th, 2012.
MaRS thanks all candidates; however, only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.
If you have any questions about the position, please contact Allyson Hewitt, Director, SiG@MaRS and Director, Social Entrepreneurship. Allyson can be contacted via email at email@example.com.
Organization: Root Capital
The Lending Analysis Assistant supports the growth of the analytical capacity of the Lending Team by providing additional analytical capabilities to the Lending Analysis Manager and to the Junior Analyst. He/she will also support ongoing projects between the Lending Analysis and the Impact Assessment team as appropriate. This position will work closely with other members of the lending team, accounting team, and supervisors. Through his/her work, s/he will reflect the organization’s belief that a well-supported and well-informed strategic team will be the most effective in achieving RC’s mission.
MISSION AND HISTORY OF ROOT CAPITAL
Root Capital’s mission is to grow rural prosperity by investing in small and growing agricultural businesses that build sustainable livelihoods in Africa and Latin America. Root Capital is a nonprofit social investment fund that grows rural prosperity in poor, environmentally vulnerable places in Africa and Latin America by lending capital, delivering financial training, and strengthening market connections for small and growing agricultural businesses.
a. Conduct analytical analysis for portfolio management and reporting purposes.
b. Assist in identifying and creating a set of reports for different levels of lending staff.
c. Assist in the updating of the Lending Model by providing background and trend information.
d. Provide ad-hoc analytical support on a case by case basis for different projects.
e. Provide analytical support for the 2013-Annual planning process.
2. Collaborate and co-manage other interns in the construction of a "Lending Team Master Database"
QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE
SALARY: Commensurate with experience.
APPLICATIONS AND NOMINATIONS
More information about Root Capital is available at www.rootcapital.org
Applications are due by February 29, 2012. Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.
Applications including resume and a cover letter describing your interest, qualifications, language abilities, salary requirements, and how you learned of the position should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please type “Lending Analysis” followed by your name (Last, First) as the subject line of your email (e.g. “Lending Analysis – Marrero, Marc”).
Authored by: Eric Kacou
2011 will live in history as the year Africa made a dent in the world, to paraphrase Steve Jobs. As previously discussed in this NextBillion series, The Economist, a 'beacon of afro-pessimism', headlined "Africa Rising" late last year. What a jump from "The Hopeless Continent" in 2000.
Thankfully, the cover underscores solid empirical evidence. Africa leapt forward at 4,9 percent last year in a growth starved world. While the Arab Spring heralded a new era of accountability, inspiring - some might suggest - the occupy Wall Street movement.Moving beyond the Survival Trap
Anyone visiting Africa would be hard pressed to see Africans celebrate this feat. This is not for being an ungrateful people. Rather, it is because the growth spurt has not materialized into tangible improvements in the life of the average African citizen. At least not yet...
Who is the average African citizen? It is a young woman (or man) living off subsistence farming on a very small plot of land in a rural area. This citizen feels stuck scrapping to survive in the pre-industrial age while the rest of the world moves forward in the digital age.
In reality, most Africans are still mired in the 'survival trap', a vicious cycle that makes individuals, businesses and nations react to short-term crises instead of developing long-term strategies for prosperity.
This where Haiti and Africa share a lot more than meets the eye. Beyond a shared history and deep cultural roots, one realizes that their development indicators are very similar.
Today's greatest challenge is the struggle for prosperity. It is also, arguably, today's greatest opportunity.
Make no mistake: Freeing the 2.7 billion people struggling on less than two dollars per day from the survival trap is not optional. In reality, it is not only a moral imperative, but it is also an economic one.
Authored by: Renee Manuel and Felix Oldenburg
Over the years, financial indicators and quantitative metrics have grown in importance in evaluating society's competitiveness. In spite of this, the most important indicator remains remarkably simple: How many changemakers are there?
As representatives from Ashoka, we talk about making a world where "Everyone is a Changemaker" - empowering people to engineer social change in a way that no one has thought of before. From 30 years of experience searching for leading social entrepreneurs, we have learned two things:
1. Social entrepreneurs emerge in every society, no matter how progressive or traditional, and often from the most unlikely backgrounds.
2. As resilient and creative as they might be, the speed of growth of their innovations depends on whether we can create and support the needed infrastructure for their ideas to scale.
But what happens when the financial ecosystem in which social entrepreneurs work is fundamentally broken? Where, for instance, the financing structures that are offered encourage dependency, organizational growth, and shrinking salary pools to pay top level talent?
Instead of empowering social entrepreneurs to unleash their innovations on the market, the current forms of capital hinder citizen sector organizations and box their ideas into programmatic grants and traditional non-profit models, or offer loans and equity at conditions that threaten to undermine their social purpose.
Authored by: Carmelina Macario
When you start to think about investing your money to save for retirement or to grow your net worth, you are faced with a lot of questions:
How much do I put aside every month? Who do I trust with my money? I am a high- or low-risk investor? What do I want to invest in? Enter the financial advisor - they can help answer those questions, set up a portfolio for you and give you piece of mind. But what about when they can't offer you something you want to invest in? What happens with even Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) funds don't met your needs?
Enter impact investing. Of course it isn't a new concept (NextBillion has covered it extensively) but it is a concept that is gaining popularity in the investment community. For the uninitated, impact investing is the act of investing your money into projects that will have a positive social or environmental impact and getting a return for it. Impact investing experts credit the gain in popularity to among other things: the instability of financial markets, the creation of a common framework for reporting on impact investments and to the shift of donors lending money to causes rather than giving money to causes.
INTERN WITH EIGHTY2DEGREES
Position: GRAPHIC DESIGN INTERNSHIP
Location: Washington, DC
Wanted: *Intern on a mission to drive social change through design!
MUST POSSESS THE FOLLOWING QUALITIES:
*passion *drive *creativity *professionalism *innovative thinking *an affinity for fun! *social consciousness
Eighty2degrees is a multifaceted, creative studio that specializes in strategic and compelling solutions for those doing meaningful work. Our mission is to help our clients achieve their goals by effectively crafting their message through branding, communications, and design.
HOW EIGHTY2DEGREES CAME TO BE:
Eighty2degrees is the dream project of a graphic designer who has taught design at the university level for several years before taking a leap of faith and starting her own socially conscious design firm. Client roster includes the UN Foundation, Shakespeare Theatre Company, the Smithsonian Institution, UNEP, Indego Africa and The mHealth Alliance.
WHY THIS IS THE BEST INTERNSHIP EVER:
As an intern at Eighty2degrees you’ll be exposed to all areas of the design, both print and web, as well as business and marketing through hands-on training and experience on projects. Eighty2degrees will provide our interns with the opportunity to gain a better understanding of graphic design, our mission, culture and commitment to our work and clients. If you want to have an impact using your design skills this is the right internship for you! In addition, you will be able to create a network in our office space at the Affinity Lab, a shared office space for entrepreneurs. Read about the Affinity Lab in the New York Times.
OPPORTUNITIES & RESPONSIBILITIES:
» Work closely with the Creative Director on various projects (including branding, marketing materials, website design, publication design etc.)
» Attend client and internal business meetings, as well as brainstorming sessions as needed
» Gain comprehensive knowledge of the design process for print and web
» Help with production on ongoing projects
THE IDEAL CANDIDATE WILL HAVE:
» A minimum 3.0 GPA & have completed their sophomore year
» Passion and experience for using design to make a difference
» Excellent design skills
» Critical thinking skills and the ability to solve complex problems with creative solutions
» Strong writing and communication skills
» Technical knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite & own a personal laptop
10–15 hours commitment per week for the Spring semester Modest stipend will be provided to cover travel and miscellaneous expenses.
Please send cover letter, resume and samples to: Ambica Prakash, Principal Email: email@example.com | Website: www.eighty2degrees.com
NextDrop, a social enterprise that provides water delivery timing information via mobile phone to residents in urban India, seeks a candidate to serve as the technical lead to work on developing the NextDrop IVR/SMS platform, as well as custom dashboarding technologies for urban water utility clients.
How we make a difference: “Will I get water today?” Hundreds of millions of people around the world ask this question everyday. In cities with intermittent water (90% of the cities in South Asia)—where piped water is available only for short and unpredictable intervals—people spend hours waiting next to dry taps, and are forced to buy water from private suppliers at high cost or use water from unsafe sources. NextDrop leverages the ubiquity of the mobile phone and delivers water delivery information via SMS and voice, thereby saving people time, reducing stress, and improving the quality of life for millions.
NextDrop Solution: NextDrop partners with water utilities to provide timely, reliable information on water delivery to residents via text message. When utility employees open valves at the neighborhood level, they call into our interactive voice response system. These updates are turned into messages for residents subscribed to the NextDrop service and live data for utility engineers, enabling them to identify and resolve problems as they come up.
Current Business Status: In September 2011, we officially launched our first product, a water notification system for urban households in Hubli. To date, we have over 5000 paying customers, and anticipate offering our service in all of Hubli (a city of 1 million people) by December 2012. To Date, NextDrop has raised over $450,000- the bulk of which has come as investments from Google and the Knight Foundation.
Responsibilities: The technical lead will be responsible for:
Compensation: On Par With Market
Interested? Contact Anu Sridharan: firstname.lastname@example.org
Authored by: Akshay Mani
Editor's Note: This article is cross posted from TheCityFix.com, an online resource for sustainable transport news, research and best practice solutions from around the world. The blog is produced by EMBARQ, a nonprofit program of the World Resources Institute. This blog post is a part of the catalyzing new mobility program and receives support from the Rockefeller Foundation.
Auto-rickshaw services in Indian cities are predominantly unorganized in nature, wherein services are provided by individual owners and operators competing against each other for the passenger market. This structure, coupled with an improper governance framework, has created significant problems for both drivers and passengers, and it has resulted in negative externalities in the economic, environmental, and social realms.
Some of the key issues include: