In the lates issue of Technology Review there is an article titled Upwardly Mobile
. This is a great example of how technology can help entrepreneurs come up with unique solutions to problems. In this case, the problem was access to financial institutions for the rural poor and the high cost of capital. The solution -- mobile phones are being used in India to provide micro finance to small business owners. Due to the absence of infrastructure, banks do not have good coverage in rural areas but these localities are centers for many transactions. Under the traditional model, banks play an inefficient role in fulfilling transactions and delay the process by a great deal. According to the article, companies like mChek
have created solutions that are based on mobile phones. With a user base of over 300 million and growing at the rate of 8 million per month, mobile phones have become ubiquitous. In collaboration with banks and retailers, mChek has created a solution by which business owners can send and accept small payments without visiting banks. While it is not clear if this solution will prevail, it does show how entrepreneurs are creating unique solutions that fit the developing world context. I wonder if there are case studies of such solutions that we can use in our class rooms?