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Clay Water Brick

Finding Inspiration from Entrepreneurs Who Do the Most with the Least

By Jessica Jackley
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Clay Water Brick by Jessica Jackley

Clay Water Brick (2015) explores the author’s unusual business career in connection with stories of successful micro-entrepreneurs all over the globe. These blinks reveal the strategies of entrepreneurs who make something out of nothing while making a difference in struggling communities.

Key idea 1 of 9

While conventional charities are floundering, entrepreneurs in developing nations are making a difference.

Designer suits, expensive cars, cash to burn: that’s how most of us picture the life of a successful entrepreneur. But not all entrepreneurs are enjoying life in the fast lane. Some of the most ingenious, resourceful and innovative entrepreneurs live and work in the poorest areas of the world.

In recent years, entrepreneurs from developing nations have become beacons of hope. Far from widening the divide between rich and poor, the entrepreneurial spirit could help us close it.

Entrepreneurship may even be a far better solution to poverty than any other current method. Why?

Well, consider how the average charity works. A person donates a given amount of money knowing that it’s for a good cause. They don’t know how that money will be spent, who it helps or the quality of the charity’s assistance.

Individuals that want to feel more involved in a charity’s activity may volunteer. The author herself volunteered in many organizations. But no matter whether she was helping out at a hospital, at a sports club, in a soup kitchen or a halfway house for teenage mothers – she couldn’t help feeling like she wasn’t making a lasting impact.

Moreover, seeing the same people return every day for assistance with little motivation to change their own lives is disheartening to many volunteers. Charities, of course, are an indispensable part of society. But there are more ways to make a difference.

As the saying goes: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” The author understood the significance of this after gaining firsthand experience in East Africa with Californian nonprofit Village Enterprise. After interviewing local small business owners about their lives and the positive impact of Village Enterprise’s financial sponsorship, one thing was clear:

These people had the ideas, motivation and aspirations to fight their way out of poverty. All they needed was a little financial support. This gave birth to a revolutionary way of improving conditions in developing communities. The following blinks will tell you more about how it happened.

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