Jul 23

The Growing Alternate View on the Emerging and Developing Markets


In our current economic times we are experiencing an unprecedented global recession in Europe and the US. The focus on these markets has dominated the headlines for the last two years, and will do so in the near future.  What has truly been overlooked is the alternative business models and companies that have found a way to join new world technology with emerging market needs.


A New Path to Profits and Social Progress


The last ten years, thanks to the advent of micro financing, the perception of making money in emerging or developing countries has changed. Investors and the overall public have seen the power of collective economic micro loans and the potential for making profits and bringing along needed positive change to these countries.


Microfinance has entered the mainstream investment mechanisms and eliminated many of the stigmas and misconceptions about social business models. The microfinance industry has garnered the most accolades and attention. However, it is by no means the only business model that focuses on bringing social change while earning a profit.


Jana’s Role in Redefining the Market


In Boston, a new startup is trying to bring about social change and progress through mobile phones. Across the developing world it is much more likely to find a family with a cell phone than a computer.  In the most remote jungles in India and Africa, electricity is scarce, life is difficult, yet locals still carry and charge their cell phones.  Travelling through these areas one can find cell phone models that were popular in the US and Europe over a decade ago.


Many of these locals have never been surveyed, are not accounted for in census data or are very hard to access by advertisers and research agencies. In Boston Nathan Eagle, the founder of Jana has created a proprietary technology that allows these locals the ability to have free airtime in return for completing market surveys about themselves and their communities. These surveys have proved crucial to such organizations as the World Bank. The World Bank uses these surveys to compile and assess research data across the world to make crucial economic and investment decisions.


In its short time of existence Jana has been able to secure partnerships with cell phone providers in over 50 countries.  This has allowed Jana to apply its technology to bring about change all over the world.


In a world where there is decreasing investor confidence and bad news abound, companies like Jana are a welcome refuge.  We should all take solace in knowing that there are still companies in both the US and Europe that are helping to redefine our local and international economies. No one can be sure what the future is for Jana, however there can be no doubt in the power of social progress and profits that can still be made in these emerging and developing countries.


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