Monday, January 18, 2010

Forbes: A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out

"Entrepreneurs are problem solvers - they identify a need and meet it with a product or service. Nowhere are their problem-solving skills more desperately needed than in the developing world. Handouts from the foreign aid community have proved incapable of solving the development issues plaguing the world's poorest. A hand up to budding entrepreneurs may be the development tonic global leaders have been looking for."

This article cites India as an interesting example of a country that has made amazing strides at achieving sustainable economic development - maintaining a steady 6-7% increase in their GDP, annually since the mid-1990's. Many attribute entrepreneurship and the cell phone as one explanation for India's drastic improvements. "Recent studies have shown that an increase in cell phone penetration by an extra 10 phones per 100 people have led to an increase in 0.6% GDP annually".

The impact cell phones have made is thanks to the entrepreneurs that saw this population as an untapped market and have since developed prepaid cell phone cards as well as applications that help to keep the population appraised of current conditions that effect their daily lives - applications such as water and power shutdowns, as well as produce price and weather forecasts. The cell phone is just one example of the innovation that markets inspire and how "the profit motive increases prosperity for entrepreneurs, consumers, and producers alike."

- Tiffanie Depew