Coca-Cola (KO) sells millions of bottles of its fizzy sugar water in the poorest villages of the world at 15¢ to 25¢ per bottle—prices locals can barely afford. What would happen to the multinational’s business if a well-funded Chinese soft drink startup decided to crash that market with a sweet but relatively nutritious beverage it sold for 5¢ a bottle? Coke would most likely get crushed. The village children, many of which are probably malnourished, would benefit tremendously from the rapid and disruptive shift to a cheaper, healthier soft drink.
That’s the example Paul Polak uses in his April TED talk to underscore the possibilities he sees for disruptive, massively scalable for-profit businesses serving those who have the least. After decades working as a psychiatrist, Polak skipped retirement to start International Development Enterprises, a nonprofit that advises, invests in, and launches ventures aimed at solving problems facing the 2.6 billion people who live on less than $2 per day.
We’re already seeing extremely compact, lower-priced, portable medical imaging systems made by General Electric (GE) for the developing world that cost orders of magnitude less than traditional imaging systems in the U.S. but could easily be used for many of the same medical imaging tasks.
Good idea on social entrepreneurship