360° Coverage : MIT's Legatum Center Unleashes Entrepreneurs, Alters...

2 Updates
MIT's Legatum Center Unleashes Entrepreneurs, Alters Thinking About Developing Countries
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

MIT's Legatum Center Unleashes Entrepreneurs, Alters Thinking About Developing Countries

Feb 26 2014, 7:25pm CST | by

Find an innovative way to serve the average person in a low-income country. Develop your own business plan. Convince investors. Make a healthy profit for yourself and your investors by providing...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

26 weeks ago

MIT's Legatum Center Unleashes Entrepreneurs, Alters Thinking About Developing Countries

Feb 26 2014, 7:25pm CST | by

Find an innovative way to serve the average person in a low-income country. Develop your own business plan. Convince investors. Make a healthy profit for yourself and your investors by providing economically viable solutions. These are the expectations for the students, called Fellows, at the Legatum Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Iqbal Z. Quadir is the Founder and Director of the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT where he also holds the title of Professor of Practice. He brings meaning to that title through his current involvement in ventures in cellular phone-based money transfers and distributed power generation in Bangladesh. Mr. Quadir’s story has been captured many times over by Harvard Business School journals and case studies, The Economist, The New York Times and others. The short version is that he was the first member of his family to leave Bangladesh for an education in the United States; he worked his way through Swarthmore and graduate studies at Wharton; after working at the World Bank he landed a job on Wall Street as an investment banker; and then he left that job for an idea that nearly rendered him broke. The idea he had in 1992 that would bring him to the brink of bankruptcy by 1995 was that “connectivity is productivity.”

If he could bring cell phones to Bangladesh’s rural poor he believed he could help people in Bangladesh be more productive and that he could do so profitably as well. The cell phone company, Grameenphone, launched in 1997 and has over 50 million subscribers today.  In 2004 he sold his meager stake in the company that was formed from his initial idea. His career would then migrate toward being a professor of practice, first at Harvard, then at MIT To understand the boldness of Mr. Quadir’s first entrepreneurial idea, one merely needs to look up “1992 cellular phone” on Google images (the author’s family had the white brick-sized model). While Mr. Quadir has other projects in Bangladesh today, it is his passion to find and encourage others with bold entrepreneurial ideas to foster prosperity in low-income countries.

The Legatum Center was established through a gift to MIT by Christopher Chandler’s Legatum Foundation. Legatum means legacy in Latin. Mr. Chandler, the quieter of the two Chandler brothers, supports of the Legatum Center and its mission to bring prosperity to the developing world through entrepreneurship. The Center also enjoys support from the MasterCard Foundation, with an eye toward projects in Africa.

Mr. Quadir points out that when he first had the idea to bring the cell phone to Bangladesh, the argument against it was that the population’s GDP per capita could not shoulder the cost of cell phones. He explains that with innovations from the sewing machine to the cell phone, when people understand these as tools that increase productivity, the utility of the items is enhanced. Thus, the utility of the item outweighs the possible limitations of low per capita GDP; people will pay up for the opportunity to be more productive, and when they are more productive their income, and per capita GDP, will both rise. This is why, as Quadir notes, productivity tools such as bicycles and sewing machines spread throughout the developing world long before cell phones.

The goal of the Legatum Center is to support Fellows who bring elements of Mr. Quadir’s quadruple win style of entrepreneurship to low-income countries.

  • The citizens of the country win because they have increased productivity.
  • The entrepreneur and his or her investors win because they sell a profitable product.
  • The country where the venture is wins because the society becomes more productive.
  • The producer of the technology, often in a foreign country, wins as their technology’s implementation is scaled up.

The Fellows of MIT’s Legatum Center are on their way to having launched enterprises in 20 industries across 40 countries on five continents. One Fellow’s venture uses mobile phones and predictive analytics to track patients’ symptoms for better care and has regularly been cited as one of the most exciting mHealth companies. In Africa alone, two Fellows are improving sanitation by converting waste to fertilizer in Kenya; one has developed a leasing model for tractors in Tanzania; another is innovating in the apparel sector in Senegal; and still another two are pursuing a plastic recycling business in Nigeria.

Mr. Quadir notes the program is still young while highlighting one of its most successful Fellows, Javier Lozano. A graduate from MIT’s Sloan School of Management in 2010, he founded Clinicas del Azúcar in Mexico. He identified that 90% of Mexicans with diabetes were underserviced and decided to start a chain of low-cost diabetes clinics that “use innovative, evidence-based algorithms for diagnostics and care.” By reducing the cost of care, he has found a successful business model that meets a need. Diabetes is currently an all too frequent cause of death in Mexico that he is helping to mitigate. After launching a pilot clinic in his native Monterrey, Mexico and then opening a second clinic in 2013, he now plans to open a new clinic every three months.

The Legatum Center’s focus on entrepreneurship to foster prosperity in low-income countries can alter thinking commonly applied to developing countries. Mr. Quadir is the first one to admit that using business to improve lives, as opposed to aid to central governments, is not a new idea. Instead, he insists that people in high-income countries have long known that good businesses practices create new products, services, opportunities and possibilities.

In Mr. Quadir’s course, Entrepreneurship in Large Markets with Low Income, he discusses cases on successful entrepreneurs in low-income countries, as well as examples of how entrepreneurs contributed to prosperity in what are now high-income countries. By radically reducing costs and thereby improving access to goods and services, Henry Ford took cars to the average person, Isaac Singer empowered women, and Ray Kroc’s franchisees served hamburgers to millions. Mr. Quadir believes that what low-income countries need today are their own Singers, Fords and Krocs.

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
2

3 days ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new company ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

4 days ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double tragedies of MH370 and ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Return as India's envoys, Modi to India-bound Japanese youth
Tokyo, Sep 2 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday kicked-off a new initiative on training for Japanese youth started by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) at its various facilities in India, asking them to return to Japan as India's ambassadors.
 
 
Scientists get ready for mock on-site nuclear inspection
Washington, Sep 2 (IANS) Some 40 scientists and technicians from around the world will descend on Jordan in November to take part in a simulated on-site inspection of a suspected nuclear test site on the banks of the Dead Sea.
 
 
Russian space 'sex geckos' found dead
Moscow, Sep 2 (IANS) Four female lizards and one male who were sent to space to understand the effects of weightlessness on sexual intercourse have died, the Russian Space Agency said in a statement.
 
 
Nigeria to get Japanese drug for Ebola treatment
Abuja, Sep 2 (IANS) Nigeria will soon get a Japanese drug to treat Ebola, the country's Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said Monday.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Carrie Underwood announces pregnancy
Los Angeles, Sep 2 (IANS) Country star Carrie Underwood and NHL player Mike Fisher have announced that they are expecting their first child. Underwood and Fisher posted the news on their social media accounts Monday,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Look at India, Modi tells Japan
Tokyo, Sep 2 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday hoped Japan will follow "Look at India" policy. "Just as India is focusing on Look East policy, we expect Look at India policy from Japan," Modi said, adding...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Return as India's envoys, Modi to India-bound Japanese youth
Tokyo, Sep 2 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday kicked-off a new initiative on training for Japanese youth started by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) at its various facilities in India, asking them to return...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Scientists get ready for mock on-site nuclear inspection
Washington, Sep 2 (IANS) Some 40 scientists and technicians from around the world will descend on Jordan in November to take part in a simulated on-site inspection of a suspected nuclear test site on the banks of the...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Sam Smith was in love with straight man
Sam Smith fell in love with a straight man. The 22-year-old star - who opened up about his own sexuality earlier this year - has now revealed the man who inspired the heartbreaking lyrics to many of the tracks on his...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Diana Ross hosts 'farewell barbecue'
Diana Ross hosted a ''farewell barbecue'' for Evan Ross and Ashley Simpson. The 70-year-old star threw the party for her son and his new bride the day after their wedding to wish them well on their journey into married...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Family dinners protect kids from cyber-bullying
Toronto, Sep 2 (IANS) Make it a point not to miss family dinners to connect with your kids and help them cope with cyber-bullying. Like traditional bullying, cyber or internet bullying can increase the risk of mental...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Maradona meets Pope at 'Match for Peace'
Rome, Sep 2 (IANS) Argentine football legend Diego Maradona briefly met Pope Francis, an avid football fan, before the start of 'Match for Peace' exhibition game and presented him with an Argentina shirt. Pope Francis...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
India committed to peace: Modi
Tokyo, Sep 2 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday said that India is committed to peace and this commitment has "significance far above any international treaties or processes". "Commitment to peace and non-...
Read more on Politics Balla