Connie Bruck published a very good article on the current state of microfinance in the 30 October New Yorker. It details the gulf between two approaches, roughly exemplified by Nobel Peace Prize-winner Muhammad Yunus and eBay-founder Piere Omidyar. Omidyar argues that microfinance needs a dose of commercialization to build it into a profit-making sector, while Yunus sticks to the belief that "anyone, provided the means, can become self-sufficient--even successful" through his model of small loans.
It's a curious debate and I suspect there is room for both aproaches. Yet, thinking about Omidyar's for-profit approach may provide a better means toward sustainability for social entreprenuers. (See my article "Drayton's Conundrum" on the Social Entrepreneurs Group at Gather.com
Read the full article by Connie Bruck: "Millions for Millions"
Categories: poverty, changemakers, microcredit, microfinance, innovation, socialentrepreneurs