Month: January 2010

Mass Weddings for the Poor

The following was written for the Kiva Fellows blog.  Read the original here. This job is unique, in that it offers an endless supply of intellectual satisfaction.  Every day, I learn something new about something interesting.  For the time being,…

Hapinoy

Here in the Philippines, the most common use for a microloan is a sari-sari store – otherwise known as a general or convenience store.  There are an estimated 700,000 of them here, and you can find one on just about…

Baudelaire and the Red Horse

It is the greatest art of the devil to convince us he does not exist. – Charles Baudelaire, 1821-1867 Here in the Philippines, the brewery is called San Miguel.  Founded in 1890, the company employs 26,000 people and holds 90%…

Community Loans: Part II

The following was written for the Kiva Fellows blog.  See the original here. I spent all last week touring a province in the Philippines with a 7-person team in an effort to gather market intelligence about the region.  The purpose…

Community Loans: Part I

Microfinance is a term to describe the broad umbrella of financial services to people without access to a traditional banking system.  Microfinance institutions (MFIs) provide these types of services, which include microcredit, insurance (health, life, crop), savings accounts, remittances, and…

Primer on Mobile Banking

The Philippines is called the “texting capitol of the world.”  Everyone has a phone, mostly because they are a) inexpensive (starting at $20 USD), b) offer flexible plans (everything is prepaid), and c) texting makes life easier.  SMS messaging is…

Deal or No Deal

Anyone who has been to Southeast Asia (or anywhere outside the United States and Europe) knows that the price you are given by a vendor is not the price you are going to pay.  That is because we Westerners are…

Another Approach: Investing in SMEs

This is the first in a three-part series about small- and medium-sized enterprises In March of 2008, James Surowiecki wrote an article for the New Yorker, titled “What Microloans Miss,” that suggests that the disproportionate amount of attention given to…