Entrepreneurs for a World Free of Poverty
“Entrepreneurs for a World Free of Poverty” (EWFP) was an initiative created by a dedicated group of senior managers to examine ways to reduce poverty. The idea: empowering people in poor rural areas with financing, technology and training to secure an income and improve their quality of life through entrepreneurial activities.
The original concept was based on three elements:
- Assistance in developing financing tool, and the eventual creation of a micro-finance fund focusing on the provision of forms of micro- or mini-finance for the financing of micro technology for their businesses and income generating activities
- Appropriate micro technology packages
- Training and technical support for small and micro enterprises
Over a 10 month period, the Canopus Foundation, in cooperation with the EWFP task force, investigated the possibility of the actual implementation of such a mechanism.
- Micro finance institutions (MFIs) interested in financing micro-technology for income generation purposes are not able or willing to take a lead without costs being covered largely or entirely by donor or grant money. At the time, the financing of micro-technology for micro-enterprise was not being pursued and not viewed as an interesting and value-added new product line by MFIs.
- Those MFIs who are financially stable and able to take on high interest/risk debt in foreign currency, who have a large client reach, and could implement the proposed EWFP mechanisms, are not willing to take the risk of financing sustainable technologies or be involved in developing local markets.
Another lesson learned was that each project, depending on local needs, technology and geographic region requires specifically customized financing package.
The Canopus Foundation has continued the poverty alleviation work initiated within the Entrepreneurs for a World Free of Poverty initiative. Canopus developed the approach further and pursues a very flexible mechanism that supports the needs of the local entrepreneurs without neglecting the dynamics of a free market: Entrepreneurs in poor areas are supported with technology, training and financing to improve their quality of life through entrepreneurial and income generating activities.