At the top of my 2014 travel list: evolving economic landscapes home to a wide range of social enterprises that are empowering local communities. ASIA
Since the 2013 election of Tshering Tobgay, the small Himalayan country of Bhutan is gradually embracing modernity. A newly educated rural population is moving away from their family farms to find work in the capital, but job supply is limited, leaving young talent idle in the streets. The Learning Exchange Foundation is linking a center for social entrepreneurship to a four-star eco hotel in Thimphu under the leadership of TBLI Group cofounder Rieki Crins. Next stop: the mountains. For-profit social enterprise Mountain Hazelnut Venture is transforming deforested land into hazelnut farms run by local households.
Nairobi, Kenya is seeing a tremendous population growth, resulting in the expansion of urban slums. Witness firsthand the growth challenges apparent at Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi with over half a million residents. Want to see a solution? Head to Kaputei Town, an ecofriendly urban planning project built a few years ago by Jamii Bora Bank, a growing microfinance institution started by 50 street families in Nairobi.
CLOSER TO HOME
With a vibrant music and culinary scene and a growing contingent of young professionals, the charming Southern cultural hub of Nashville is a rising star—just like the young talent it nurtures. The city will host the Social Enterprise Alliance’s 2014 Summit next month, where Inspiring Capital’s own CEO/Founder, Nell Derick Debevoise, will speak about lean impact.