Business Models with an Impact beyond $

We are living in exciting times. Some entrepreneurs involved in business model innovation are not only seeking for financial returns, but are also aiming at achieving social, development and environmental returns. In other words, money and fame are not their only motivators. They want to have an impact. What is interesting is that they are aiming at combining financial AND social success. These entrepreneurs try to prove that these two are not necessarily contradictory.

There are are a couple of interesting business models out there that I follow with quite some fascination. Grameen Phone is a telecom company founded by Iqbal Quadir, that has brought connectivity to rural areas in Bangladesh. What is interesting about their business model is that they partnered with the world famous micro finance institution Grameen Bank to exploit synergies.

I also very much like the business model of MyC4, which allows you and me to make loans to small businesses in developing countries. This means that I can diversify my investments away from the unstable global equity markets towards uncorrelated small businesses in developing economies. I make a return on my investment, while helping boost development. Really exciting.

I am very much a believer in the fact that you can do good while doing well. This is not about "giving back", but about creating value while making a difference. Since this is an area that I'm interested in I decided to help run a workshop on the topic in London this coming Thursday. Check out "Disruptive models: The art and science of VISUAL BUSINESS MODEL DESIGN for breakthrough social innovation" if you are curious (or sign-up if you are in London).

See you there!