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TechnoServe is an international nonprofit that promotes business solutions to poverty in the developing world by linking people to information, capital and markets. It is a registered 501 based in Washington, D.C., with over 1,300 employees across 30 countries worldwide. Wikipedia.

News Article | January 17, 2008
Site: arstechnica.com

Back in 2004, the Google founders decided to start diverting some of their company's resources towards charity. Determined to be different, Google did not found a charitable foundation, instead setting up a foundation that would mix grants with targeted investments that were hoped to turn a profit. Those profits, plus a percentage of Google's annual income, would fund Google.org going forward, and Google employees would be encouraged to donate time and resources to its work. Google.org had previously started some work focused on renewable energy, but this morning, it announced a number of new initiatives that greatly expands its scope. The Google.org home page now lists five initiatives, including three new ones: Predict and Prevent, Inform and Empower to Improve Public Services, and Fuel the Growth of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. We'll take a look at each separately below. Nothing new was announced regarding the prior work dedicated towards plug-in hybrid car development, but there was a new investment in the renewable energy initiative: $10 million in eSolar, a company that hopes to revamp existing power plants by replacing heat from fossil fuel combustion with solar-generated heat. This initiative is focused on emerging diseases. In a press call, Dr. Larry Brilliant, executive director of Google.org, noted that we've characterized roughly three dozen emerging diseases, all of which have originated in animals. They hope that by identifying patterns in their emergence, we can be better prepared for future cases. To that end, they're giving $5 million to InSTEDD, a group dedicated to enabling first responders to incorporate disease surveillance into their work. Another $2.5 million is going to the Global Health and Security Initiative, which is coordinating the efforts of nations on the Mekong River basin. This effort is focused on improving government services in the developing world. Brilliant suggested that there are really no mechanisms for the citizens of many developing nations to determine which schools and government organizations are actually doing an effective job; in the absence of that information, pressure for improvements never develops. So, funding in this area is going towards both evaluations of government initiatives and disseminating the results to the public. Pratham, an NGO based in India, is getting $2 million to produce a nationwide evaluation of education in that country. Smaller grants are going to Indian organizations that will provide local governments with budget analysis capacity and urban planning information. Brilliant indicated that the focus on India came in part through discussions with staff at Google's offices there, who helped identify some of these issues. This was presented as the flipside of the government focus: investing in the private enterprises that are most likely to make a difference in developing economies. Brilliant indicated that the success of the microloan at the low end created a large loan gap between personal business and the large loans available for multinationals to make major investments in infrastructure. Google.org hoped to fill that by funding the growth of intermediate-sized businesses under local ownership. As a start, they gave $4.7 million to TechnoServe, which runs business plan competitions in some of the stable democracies in Africa. The emphasis during the conference call announcing the new initiatives was on the fact that Google.org is "just coming to the starting line," as Brilliant put it, and they're hoping to learn from some of the major charitable foundations, such as those founded by the Gates, Moore, and Rockefeller families. At this point, they hope to act more as a catalyst than as a decisive source of money. Several of the projects, however, were noted as also receiving money from the same foundations that were highlighted as role models. If Google.org hopes to be a catalyst, it would seem to make more sense to fund groups that haven't reached the attention of the major donors yet. The organizations based in India, which were identified in part through Google's own employees, appear to fall into that category, suggesting this may be a more appropriate model for Google.org's future work.

News Article | April 26, 2013
Site: yourstory.com

Learning and imparting skills by way of classes has been prevalent since a long time. However, these classes are mostly restricted to a single geography and hence the sector has largely remained unorganized. While ventures supporting formal education like Start-up school, Pictualize exist, the new entrepreneurial generation have now trained their guns to the informal education sector, to tap and improve the skill development market. Raghuveer Malik, co-founder of SkillHippo, thinks skill revolution will be the next big thing in India. SkillHippo is an online platform where interested participants can connect with like-minded individuals to learn/teach an array of skills. Raghuveer, along with his co-founders Akshay Verma and Sambuddha Bhattacharya are strongly of the view that people learn a lot outside traditional classroom and we all have the appetite to pick up new skills to enhance ourselves. SkillHippo has built a platform that allows teachers to create classes with all relevant information, such as class structure, cost, location etc. on one page. It makes it easier for skill seekers to indulge in their passion or discover an edge they have, which they could not find out in the past. They enable this by providing a straight forward search method, which can be filtered by time, cost, location and other parameters. It knits the community together by providing them with reviews and endorsements for teachers by past students, thus making it easier for skill seekers to take informed decision. The co-founders and the team come from diverse fields with experience across consulting, banking, sales and marketing. Raghuveer is a London School of Economics alumnus, who was earlier with Yes Bank before he took over as the first CEO of SkillHippo. Akshay, who studied at Oxford and Columbia University followed by a stint with UBS Bank, handles the relationship and engagement part in the firm. Sambuddha has taken 18 startups from ideation to fruition as an Entrepreneurship Advisor at TechnoServe, and has previously worked with KPMG and Amarchand Mangaldas. All the co-founders have been friends since their days at St. Stephen’s College. SkillHippo is a mix of full time employees and interns coming from elite educational institutes. SkillHippo has also engaged the best strategic advisors for the legal, education and public policy. The journey so far Launched in November 2012 and fully operational since January 2013, the startup has generated good interest in students for classes, internships and jobs across various educational institutes through its outreach program. Having already built a database of over 3,500 teachers, SkillHippo will shortlist about 1,000 best teachers and only those will go live on the website. The SkillHippo team targets expats, children, corporate employees and college students. The target age group for SkillHippo is from 18 to 32 years, and their classes range across seven categories: arts & design, music & dance, careers & training sports & wellness, education, culinary and other skills. “The website allows classes to be filtered by price range for people who have a specific budget. SkillHippo also employs a thorough feedback system, which if taken very seriously can help improve existing systems and functioning,” says Raghuveer on what differentiates their venture from other players in the market like SkillSpace and Trait. SkillHippo also allows learners to make safe online payments to teachers. With a lean cost structure and access to funding to expand, SkillHippo charges a standard service fee to the teachers in exchange of services. However, SkillHippo makes sure that there is no price difference between a class posted on SkillHippo and those taught by teacher outside SkillHippo. They have joined hands with as ITC Classic Golf Resorts, Youth Ki Awaaz and Youth Parliament, a marked presence in social media circles and has done sponsorship titles for workshops and college festivals to promote the brand. “We have a Mumbai launch due very soon. SkillHippo aims to have a pan India presence five years down the line and be a big player in the skill market,” says Raghuveer ambitiously.

DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Marley Coffee (OTCQB:JAMN), the sustainably grown, ethically farmed and artisan-roasted premium coffee company, is announcing its support for the non-profit Water Wise Coffee™ program with a new documentary and crowdfunding campaign created in conjunction with strategic partner Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee, as part of their broader commitment to sustainability. Launching today, International Earth Day, consumers can view the documentary featuring Rohan Marley, son of legendary musician Bob Marley [Robert Nesta Marley O.M.] and Founder of Marley Coffee, which highlights the economic and human impact of coffee production and the importance of long term sustainability. Additionally, supporters can contribute to the crowdfunding campaign to support Water Wise Coffee in cleaning the Sidama region’s wet mills in Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee. The wet milling process is used in some portions of the world as a way to extract the coffee bean from its fruit. This produces organic waste that can threaten to pollute local water supplies. To counteract this, Water Wise Coffee helps producers naturally filter water by using sustainable vetiver grass. Independent tests have shown that in just 24 months, there has been a dramatic improvement in water quality within rivers surrounding these wet mills. Starting in Ethiopia, the goal is to convert all 220 accessible wet mills in the Sidama coffee region by 2020. To date, more than 26 wet mills have vetiver grass wetlands that are able to provide clean water to the local community; the crowdfunding campaign will help to move towards this goal. “Coffee connects us in so many ways – to each other, to our senses and to the earth that provides for us,” said Rohan Marley, Founder and Chairman of Marley Coffee. “Coffee has so much cultural importance in Ethiopia—it’s more than a commodity, it’s a way of life, and it’s our responsibility to instill sustainable practices that benefit the community where the coffee is harvested and grown, but also the global community. This crowdfunding campaign gives us the opportunity to expand the scale of our project, providing the Sidama coffee region with clean water and a clean life source.” Rooted in the Marley family values of love, passion and social responsibility, Marley Coffee is committed to global sustainability and transparency, donating one cent of every single-serve capsule sold to Water Wise Coffee to further their mission. Marley Coffee is also the first premium coffee brand to provide consumers with a great tasting, premium coffee in an easy-to-recycle sustainable single-serve capsule: the recyclable RealCup™. All Marley Coffee single-serve capsules will transition to the recyclable RealCup™ by summer 2015, five years ahead of industry giants. Funds raised from supporters of the crowd funding campaign will help the program convert more wet mills over the coming year to safe and sustainable systems. In addition, Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee has committed to matching up to $100,000 in public donations. For more information on Water Wise Coffee and to view the documentary or contribute to the crowdfunding campaign, visit www.waterwisecoffee.com. For more information on Marley Coffee, visit www.marleycoffee.com or contact Jessica Weeg at 219-212-0321 or weeg@formulapr.com. Marley Coffee (corporate name Jammin Java Corp.) is a U.S.-based company that provides premium, artisan roasted coffee to the grocery, retail, online, service, hospitality, office coffee service and big box store industry. Under its exclusive licensing agreement with 56 Hope Road, the company continues to develop its coffee lines under the Marley Coffee brand. The company is a fully reporting company quoted on the OTCQB under the symbol "JAMN." For additional information, follow Marley Coffee on Facebook, Twitter and visit MarleyCoffee.com or visit the Investor Relations section at Investor.MarleyCoffee.com. The program is administered by TechnoServe, a registered non-profit organization that has been recognized for nine consecutive years with four-star ratings by Charity Navigator, an independent evaluator of charitable organizations. The program is fully transparent and details of how Water Wise Coffee™ spends its investment are available. Mother Parkers is one of North America’s leading coffee and tea companies, providing best-in-class private label solutions for some of the world’s largest retailers and foodservice companies. It also manufactures its own brands, including Higgins & Burke™ tea, and Mother Parkers®, Brown Gold®, Martinson® and Marley coffees, in multiple formats. Mother Parkers is a leading innovator in the single-serve market with the patented RealCup™ brand of hot beverage capsules and the recyclable RealCup™ capsule. The Company combines state-of-the-art technology and new product innovation with more than 102 years of business excellence to consistently deliver solutions for customers.

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As entrepreneurship takes center stage in Africa this month at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, Citi Foundation and TechnoServe have announced a partnership to stimulate entrepreneurship and job growth in four sub-Saharan countries. Citi Foundation’s African Youth and Women’s Business Development programme will develop business approaches that can be taken to scale by local organisations to provide employment, enhance incomes and increase the economic participation of women and youth. Youth account for 60 percent of all Africans unemployed, according to the World Bank, with young women affected most severely. Underemployment is also a major concern, with more than 70 percent of Africa’s youth living on less than US$2 per day. The new partnership will address these problems by drawing on the Citi Foundation’s long experience supporting local economic development and TechnoServe’s expertise in promoting entrepreneurship and small businesses. The programme will seek to achieve the following: The Citi Foundation and TechnoServe will measure the effectiveness of the projects, identify the approaches with the greatest impact, and determine how to scale up the initiatives to achieve even greater economic impact. “Entrepreneurs make companies work, and companies make economies work. We are honoured to partner with TechnoServe as it promotes and develops businesses and mentorship programmes for women across West, East and South Africa,” said Amin Manekia, Citi Corporate Banking Head for sub-Saharan Africa. “Everywhere I go in Africa, I am struck by the vibrancy and resourcefulness of its entrepreneurs,” said William Warshauer, President & CEO of TechnoServe. “TechnoServe is proud to work with a forward-thinking partner like Citi Foundation to help unlock this incredible economic potential. We are also excited by the opportunity here to build proven models for transformational change.” The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation’s “More than Philanthropy” approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com TechnoServe is a nonprofit organisation that develops business solutions to poverty. We work with enterprising men and women in 30 developing countries to build competitive farms, businesses and industries. By linking people to information, capital and markets, we help them create lasting prosperity for their families and communities. With millions of people positively impacted by TechnoServe’s work since 1968, we believe in the power of private enterprise to transform lives. For nine straight years, TechnoServe has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, placing us in the top 1 percent of all its rated nonprofits.

News Article | March 29, 2011
Site: www.fastcompany.com

Tiny startups in developing countries have a savior in microfinancing organizations like Kiva, but what about the small- to medium-sized businesses that don't qualify for microloans? These businesses, commonly called "the missing middle," have between 10 and 300 employees and usually seek between $20,000 and $2 million. They are the backbone of economic growth in developing nations, but are tragically undersupported. That's where the two-year-old Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), the Aspen Institute's global network of 115 organizations—including the Gates Foundation, the Acumen Fund, and the Skoll Foundation—comes in. Members of the network provide both capital and training to the missing middle in countries like India, Kenya, Colombia, and Brazil. And according ANDE's just-released annual impact report this week, the network's members are doing some excellent work. The stats: Over the past year, ANDE has grown by 37 members and expanded into 18 new countries. In total, ANDE members now manage 63 funds devoted to small and growing businesses, and have invested over $900 million in 2,500 companies. Through capacity building and direct equity or debt investment, ANDE members have supported over 11,100 businesses. So who's getting all this money? Our favorites include Ecotact, a startup that installs pay-per-use toilets and showers in Kenya to improve local sanitation; Nandan Biomatrix, which provides energy and income to Indians by cultivating jatropha plants for use as biofuel; and TechnoServe, a company that trains farmers in war-torn Mozambique to produce high-quality cashews. There are still hurdles for ANDE to overcome in the small and growing business space. "We need to drive greater quality and consistency in measuring the impact of small and growing businesses. Getting data so we know their social and environmental impact is important," explains Randall Kempner, Executive Director of ANDE. These businesses also need mentorship and help building out their management teams before they can become attractive investment prospects. But ANDE is set to grow quickly—the organization is currently adding one new member a week. "The macroindicators are pretty good that there will be continuing resources flowing into this space," says Kempner. Follow Fast Company on Twitter. Ariel Schwartz can be reached by email.

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