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Transforming the lives of thousands in South Africa

Taffy Adler is hardly the most likely candidate for taking on the role of social entrepreneur. He had an impressive track record as a trade union organiser who shunned the world of business during South Africa's turbulent past and became the CEO of the Johannesburg Housing Company.


Where Grameen Bank meets eBay in an African marketplace

While share prices have been falling and banks have been offering measly interest rates, MYC4 investors have been earning an average gross interest rate of 12.9 per cent a year from investments made from the comfort of their home. Too good to be true? According to Mads Kjaer, CEO of the online marketplace MYC4, “investors set the interest rate themselves and bid for it, and many hard-core investors realise even much higher yields.”


An experience that changes lives

Many stage actors – even veterans – will tell you they experience an indescribable ‘high’ while performing on stage.


Empowerment through the arts

Hua Dan, a non-profit organisation based in China, is taking a novel approach to helping workers hone their skills. Founded by Briton Caroline Watson, Hua Dan aims to harness the arts to improve people's lives in emerging countries.


Empowering the young in an ageing society

Influential decision makers are seldom youthful, but in Italy young adults could qualify as a marginalised minority group. Precarious and poorly-paid employment is endemic even for university graduates. Unemployment for those aged 15 to 24 is among the highest in Europe at nearly 20 per cent, and hovers roughly fourteen points higher than Italy’s general population.


Why mainstreaming CSR still make good business sense

A. Dearnell, N. C. Smith

With the economy still experiencing a slowdown, one might expect interest in corporate social responsibility to wane, or perhaps even die a natural death.


Social entrepreneurship in India: going beyond the symptoms

If social entrepreneurs in India focus on causes when mapping out challenges, rather than just fixing the symptoms, half the battle is already fought, says Rathin Roy, chairman of the board of directors of Rural Innovations Network, a Chennai-based company that helps social entrepreneurs incubate innovations and take them to the market to benefit the rural poor.


Gold lures small-scale miners into global market

Victoria Paxi used to live in Lima, the capital of Peru, working in a restaurant or washing clothes to earn about 60 dollars a month, while her husband worked hours away in a mine.


African entrepreneurs must pressure their governments to regulate their business environments

Although many African companies will be hit by the current global slowdown, there is a lot that local entrepreneurs and their governments can do to improve their business environments, says Arthur Levi, former head of the World Bank’s private sector arm, International Finance Corporation (IFC) Europe.


The Millennium Promise

The Millennium Promise, which runs some 80 villages in sub-Saharan Africa, aims to help communities move towards sustainable development. It is also trying to encourage the private sector to find solutions to key problems contributing to extreme poverty in Africa, such as Malaria, which kills between one and three million Africans a year.


Harnessing Africa’s medicinal plants to create new business opportunities for the rural poor

African farmers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are taking part in a social entrepreneurship project to cultivate medicinal plants for the pharmaceutical industry.


Can NGOs work successfully with international oil and gas companies in Africa?

One agency representative describes what it’s like to join forces with the American Marathon Oil Corporation to combat malaria in Equatorial Guinea


Combating malaria: How an oil company is helping to tackle the problem

INSEAD Knowledge

For Marathon Oil Corporation, its project to tackle malaria on an island off Equatorial Guinea is paying off. It reckons that for every dollar invested, the economic return is around four dollars.


Maximising shareholder value: an ethical responsibility?

Finance professors often get criticised by ethics professors because they tell their students that the goal of the firm is to maximise shareholder value. Financial scandals such as Enron, Tyco and others are regularly blamed on the excessive focus on shareholder value maximisation


Jet Li’s world of One

It reads like a script of a traditional Chinese movie: the dutiful son promises his mother at her deathbed to spend his life in the service of the less fortunate. But that was indeed the promise international film star Jet Li made to his dying mother who only managed to utter a sigh when he asked about her final wishes.