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Friday, February 4, 2011

Weekly Review for January 31-February 4

Every week at Invested Development we scan the web for articles that relate to what we do and what we like. This week we read a lot about mobile technology in emerging markets, new applications for homeowners to monitor energy use, solar energy, and social entrepreneurship. 

Using Mobile Manners” by Abby Callard
In their latest post, Beyond Profit discusses the ways entrepreneurs are using the growing number of mobile phone users to create services that benefit the poorer consumers in emerging markets. A study in Gambia indicated that “cloud phone” services will benefit users in rural areas, where 86% of customer share their phones. Movirtu is credited for the “cloud phone” concept, allowing users to access their own prepaid phone service and account from any phone. The study points out differences in mobile habits between rural and urban users, helpful for social entrepreneurs looking for opportunities in mobile technology.

GOOD recently wrote about three applications that will help homeowners manage how much energy these use:  Microsoft Hohm, Google PowerMeter, and Tendril. The applications offer different ways to track, automate, and recommend ways to reduce energy usage.

Hewitt is the Director of Social Entrepreneurship at Toronto-based MaRS, “a convergence innovation centre,” where she has implemented a Social Innovation Generation team. MaRS supports entrepreneurs in the areas of “information technology, clean tech and social innovation” working towards “systemic, sustainable, social change.” Check out her post to read her inspiring vision for social entrepreneurship in 2011.

The Gates Foundation and USAID introduced The Haiti Mobile Money Initiative in June 2010 alleviate the devastation and to enable the mobile money industry. Mobile money allows for the safe and speedy delivery and transfer of cash, enabling humanitarian agencies to act faster and more efficiently.  Now, there are competing partnerships among Haiti’s prominent banks and phone operators.

A reflection on the process of “going green” in everyday households, Grover debates the downsides of solar energy. He relates that the solar feed-in tariffs in the UK are enticing everyday homeowners to invest in solar energy. Most importantly, taking the step and going solar changes the relationship people have with their energy. They are now much more aware of when it is produced and how much can be and is used.

The Acumen Fund pays homage to Husk Power Systems in their latest blog post. HPS works to deliver electricity throughout rural India. Not only does HPS work to alleviate poverty, the organization improves the lives of their employees. HPS provides their employees with health insurance, professional training to build long lasting skills, credit services, and a career to break the cycle of poverty.  

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