Flipping the Paradigm of Poverty Reduction

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

"The whole idea of this old investment paradigm that is taking place today is, in fact, racist. It is discriminating against the bulk of the population in these nations that are poor. That’s where the paradigm has to change," stresses Marc Blumenthal, the Executive Director at Social Ventures Foundation. Simply put, the top-down approach of the poverty reduction industry must be reversed.

Handing out charitable donations to the poor does not create a sustainable market at the Bottom of the Pyramid. Giving out free food to the less fortunate does more for the rich folk's soul than it does for those at the bottom of the pyramid. Instead, we must create innovative and scalable business solutions for people at the Bottom of the Pyramid that will deliver social impact at a price the poor can afford. This is the only way to fight against the long-standing racist ideals that dominate the poverty reduction markets.

“Our approach is to engage students in understanding what the problems are and coming up with solutions for the problem that the poor have at the bottom of the pyramid and in that context work out those solutions business that is franchisable,” Marc continues. “I want to focus on franchising, meaning that we will facilitate a situation in which the workers will receive equity for their business.”

These basic principles are the basis of this year's End Poverty Innovation Challenge that is focused on making a real and tangible difference in the poverty reduction industry. We are calling on students to take the first steps in fighting these unjust paradigms

The idea that the poor need saving does more injustice. Instead, we must share our wealth—whether it be knowledge, money, or experience—to create a just and equitable society regardless of socio-economic status, skin color, or creed.

As part of EPIC, you can use your entrepreneurial spirit to create social ventures that help flip these paradigms and lift up the livelihoods of the poor.

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