Business Week: Can Greed Save Africa?

Don’t have time to read and analyze this right now so I’ll just link:

Demand for African stocks is so robust, in fact, that it has created a bottleneck. Because these markets are tiny and illiquid—Zambia’s total market value is just $2 billion—foreigners can’t pile in all at once. Those who don’t want to wait on the sidelines must find their own opportunities away from the stock exchanges. “The private equity skill set is really in demand here,” says Gibian. His firm has invested more than $400 million in sub-Saharan Africa this year, vs. $325 million in the previous six years combined.


Food banks around the country are reporting critical shortages

From the New York Times:

Food banks around the country are reporting critical shortages that have forced them to ration supplies, distribute staples usually reserved for disaster relief and in some instances close.

Experts attributed the shortages to an unusual combination of factors, including rising demand, a sharp drop in federal supplies of excess farm products, and tighter inventory controls that are leaving supermarkets and other retailers with less food to donate.


Global Microfinance Investment Congress

I guess it’s not too early to promote the Global Microfinance Conference, which will happen in May 2008

PlaNet Finance and American Conference Institute invite you to attend the Global Microfinance Investment Congress taking place in New York City on May 14-16, 2008.

The agenda for the Global Microfinance Investment Congress is based on extensive, in-depth research with investors like you. We’ll not only
provide context for the current market transactions, but explore their implications and present a blueprint for a sustainable microfinance business model going forward.

As investment activity increases, with almost daily announcements by the biggest players in the capital markets, don’t get left out in the
cold. Attend the Global Microfinance Investment Congress and capitalize on the growing returns social and financial!

We welcome you and looking forward to seeing you in New York in May 2008.

Acumen Fund is hiring for a new associate who can work with them on community building, new media, and communications…

Seth Godin posts an job listing for Acumen.

Acumen Fund is hiring for a new associate who can work with them on community building, new media, and communications… this individual would join the Portfolio Strategies team which focuses on sharing knowledge and influencing how the world tackles poverty. The associate would be primarily responsible for using the internet, video, and a range of tools available for building community to share what Acumen Fund is learning about effective ways to bring critical goods and services to people living in the developing word who make less than $3 per day.


Echoing Green Fellowship: VISIONARIES WANTED

Here’s a quick introduction on the Echoing Green Fellowship!

The Echoing Green Fellowship provides the seed funding (up to $90,000) and technical support (fellows learn how to develop a strategic plan, create a budget, and run an organization) to turn a visionary idea for social change – be it a sustainable energy system, a new model for middle schools, or a cutting-edge public health program – into a reality.

And social entrepreneurs in dozens of countries and just about every field of social change, from education (Teach For America) to human rights (EarthRights International), from public service (City Year) to microfinance (SKS India), have used this fellowship to launch their organizations.

Do you have an incredible, new idea that could change your community, country, or world? Are you an entrepreneur who won’t rest until your idea has been brought to life? Or a leader who has recently started an organization to do just that? If so, apply for an Echoing Green Fellowship. You could receive up to $90,000 in seed funding and support to launch a new organization that turns your innovative idea for social change into action.

Follow in the footsteps of the founders of Teach For America, City Year, and over 400 other social change organizations and apply online by December 3, 2007.

Watch the video:
Find out whether you qualify.

Apply online.

Questions? Contact us at

Note: The deadline for fellowship applications is December 3.

Maatiam (formerly FreePledge) Launches Today

Officially launching today is, the website known as FreePledge during its beta. The release is just in time for the upcoming holiday shopping season. You can read more about the launch here.

The revamped website offers a fresh new look, an even simpler user experience, and a couple of new capabilities to enhance users’ giving and shopping experiences.

These include:
* The Ability to customize your home page with your favorite retailers.
* An inclusive directory enabling to select any of the 800,000 (501(c)3) nonprofits, powered by GuideStar.
* 200+ retail partners.
* An Effortless Tell-A-Friend with webmail contact import (AOL, Hotmail/Live, Gmail, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and more), and contact files upload.

NYTimes Examines The Impact of Social Networking On Charitable Causes

In 2007, the explosive growth of online social networks seems poised to drive a similar upheaval in the world of philanthropy.

A flood of new ventures — like Bill Clinton’s and Dollars for Darfur, an initiative by two high-school students — aim to use Web-based communities to raise money for charitable causes.

Check out this NYTimes articles that examines the impact that some online ventures have had on charitable causes. In particular, three organizations are described in some detail:, Dollars for Darfur, and If you are up for it, here’s a related article in the same issue of NYTimes: In the Fund-Raising Game, Blogs Cut Both Ways

T-Mobile Helps OLPC

T-Mobile is participating in a pretty neat marketing program for the OLPC where if you participate in the buy one give one program, T-mobile will give you a year’s worth of their hotspot service for free.

“T-Mobile believes in helping people stay connected to those who matter most in their lives. The Give One Get One program delivers on our unmistakable commitment to enhancing personal relationships,” said Joe Sims, vice president and general manager for Broadband Services, T-Mobile USA. “We are excited and proud to partner with One Laptop per Child, and are hopeful that our contribution will not only encourage other people to participate, but also make a positive difference.”


Here’s a plug for the Pace University Pitch Contest:

Thursday, December 6, 2007
5:00 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.

Pace University (east of City Hall)
1 Pace Plaza, NYC

3:30 – 5:00 Special Bonus Session on Technology Entrepreneurship, conducted by faculty from the Ivan G. Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems

Directions to Pace’s Downtown NYC Campus:


  • $1,000 prize for the top New Business Concept and for the best Social Venture.
  • Pace is partnering with Ashoka/Youth Venture and the M.I.T. Enterprise Forum of NYC. Ashoka/Youth Venture will provide EVERY team with a successful Social Venture Action Plan with $1,000 in seed funding (i.e. 30 teams = $30,000). Ashoka is one of the oldest and most respected social entrepreneurship organizations in the world. The M.I.T. Enterprise Forum was founded in 1978 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Alumni Association.
  • David Bornstein, author of How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, is the Keynote Speaker.
  • The event is being sponsored by Goodwin Procter LLC, one of the nation’s leading law firms.
  • The Judging Panel includes: Thatcher Bell of DFJ Gotham Ventures; Lori Smith, a partner at the law firm Goodwin Procter LLC, Liz Hamburg, co-host of Launchpad on WOR Radio 710, and Bernie Siegel, a CPA and professional business coach.
  • Last year’s contest drew participants from a number of outside universities, including Harvard and Princeton.
  • The winner of the Third Annual Pace University Pitch Contest, Bill Phelps, is one of only three student Finalists in Fortune Small Business’ 5th Annual Business Plan Competition –
  • Pace’s Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship, SCI2 incubator, and Small Business Development Center are also supporting the Pitch Contest.
  • Detailed information and an online registration form can be found at Or contact Professor Bruce Bachenheimer at (212) 618-6580 or