Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Social Edge

Yesterday a colleague at the Kiva home office in San Francisco wrote to tell me that he forwarded my Fellows Blog post about working through load-shedding to The Social Edge, an online community for social entrepreneurs.

If you missed it before, you can now read my post here. If you have already read my post, I encourage you to explore The Social Edge anyway because it offers some great material about and by leading social entrepreneurs.

Two posts in particular caught my eye. The first is about crowdfunding, a concept that is changing the way small enterprises access finance. Instead of relying on traditional funding channels, which can be expensive and difficult to navigate, social entrepreneurs are increasingly turning to their social networks for funding, banking on the idea that individuals like investing in small businesses that they believe in. By pooling individuals' contributions, starting at $100 a pop, the crowdfunding concept allows small enterprises to access capital in a new way.

Brian and I entered the crowdfunding scene a few months ago when we invested in Prosperity Candle, which supports women in distressed countries to become entrepreneurs and produce candles for domestic and international markets. Co-founded by Siiri Morley, a former colleague of mine, Prosperity Candle currently has a pilot project in Iraq. Prosperity Candle raised crucial funds through ProFounder, a crowdfunding mechanism started by Jessica Jackley, who was also a co-founder of Kiva. Yes, the story comes full circle.

The second post that I jumped on at The Social Edge was this piece by Sam Goldman, the founder of d.light, which sells affordable, solar-powered lanterns in India and Africa. Another former colleague of mine has been working for d.light for the past couple of years in Delhi, so I first learned about d.light through him. d.light's products are revolutionizing the way people live and work in communities that previously relied on expensive and dangerous kerosene lanterns. By making a small investment in a solar-powered lantern at a price point that d.light ensures is affordable, people will save money over the long run and avoid the health hazards of toxic kerosene.

There is more to explore at The Social Edge, so hop on over and check it out!

1 comment:

Anay said...

Thanks for the shout-out Claudine! Nepal is an exciting market for d.light given all the power problems you recently highlighted.

I also heard that Prosperity Candle successfully closed their round of investment through crowdsourcing! good job investors!

look forward to more great insights!