By some estimates, half of the world's poor make a living as micro-entrepreneurs in developing countries.
Few doubt that business impacts society – for better or worse – but usually they focus on global corporations. We believe there is vast, untapped potential at the other end of the economic spectrum.
Of the two billion people in the world living on $2 a day or less, half are micro-entrepreneurs in developing countries. Though they typically employ fewer than five people, they can, and should, have a profound impact on lifting prosperity in these nations.
They face challenges such as limited access to essential resources such as skills, finance, information and technology. Using our expertise in business, from infrastructure models to consumer behaviour - we research solutions and establish which interventions yield the most positive impacts.
In collaboration with a global network of partners in business and in policy making, we disseminate these solutions and facilitate their scaling.
Our initial focus is on African countries and India, in part due to the millions of micro-entrepreneurs in these regions. We already have resource and ongoing research that we can build upon.
We are in the vanguard of a movement that sees how business, perhaps more than charities, can break the poverty trap in many societies. Our students are increasingly inspired by our work in this space: creating meaningful impact is now an important career objective and they apply their skills in the developing world as part of their MBA experience. Through teaching and practical application, we believe they will help realise millions of opportunities to step-change societies.
See our latest campaign on Transforming lives through entrepreneurship.