Discovering sustainable, business-driven solutions to the biggest issues of our time by focusing on lasting – not temporal – strategies. From fighting global poverty to increasing organizational efficiency, we believe in the power of thinking outside the box.
\\ CURRENT PROJECTS
Working on a business strategy & marketing plan for a nonprofit engaging the Sierra Leonean Diaspora.
Incubating a finance model (focusing on idle capital) to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in underserved nations.
Our incredible team of fellows have a big presentation tonight in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They’ll be talking about some of their findings from the emerging market finance project they’ve been immersed in the past few months. We couldn’t be more thrilled with the work they’ve done and know they’ll rock tonight’s presentation. Stay tuned for many more updates as we prepare to pilot the SME guarantee model in the next few months. Couldn’t be where we are without an amazing team!
I read an insightful article earlier this week that challenged the concept of Africa Rising – the idea that the continent is on an upward swing, open for business, full of possibility. The author believes good things are happening, but at what cost? Is inequality rising at the same time? You can read more about her perspective here: http://africasacountry.com/against-the-gospel-of-africa-rising/.
While I don’t necessarily agree with every point she made, I do think the article brings up an important point: if we’re looking at investment, growth capital, and business frameworks on the continent of Africa (and beyond, for that matter), is inequality an inevitable part of economic growth? The author says that many African nations look toward the United States as an example of a successful nation. She questions whether or not this is wise, as there is great – and by some accounts, growing – inequality in this nation. This sparks an interesting conversation.
Competition is an inherent part of an open-market system. Some people will become more “successful” than others. If we tried to stop that completely, the system would no longer be an open one. But I believe all boats can rise together. One person achieving success doesn’t mean his/her neighbor automatically becomes stunted. Sure, in many cases, it seems opportunity keeps knocking on the same doors over and over.
But maybe rather than trying to stifle competition or stop pushing growth, we need to work more closely with locals to ensure opportunity is spread out, to ensure investment isn’t contributing to inequality, but is helping all of Africa rise together.
Our team is working hard on an emerging market financial model that will be piloted in Africa and beyond. We’re taking careful steps – without jumping into the role of regulators – to ensure the entrepreneurs who receive business support and capital from this project will promote job creation and equality in their operations.
The people of the underserved nations in the world can rise together, in unity, as a common voice. Will we help promote that common voice, or spend little time thinking about the intersection of growth and equality?
The application for our Spring 2014 internship positions went live yesterday, Nov. 4 & runs until the deadline, Dec. 20. If you think you might be interested, check out our internship page to see what we’re looking for, as well as how to apply.
If you have any questions, just shoot us an email. You can reach Chad at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Tara (designated intern wrangler) at email@example.com.
We look forward to looking over your application! We can’t wait to meet the newest members of the Cornerstone Team.