At Balloon we’re focussed on having the greatest possible impact we can on the businesses, and therefore the lives, of the entrepreneurs we work with in emerging markets. This focus means we’re constantly innovating our own working methods and approaches, and constantly trying new things. We’re going to be writing a lot more about this in coming posts, including next week’s introduction to our “This is Balloon” series.
But every now and then, in the course of pursuing this impact, a question will come up that is so fundamental to our work that it seems ridiculous that we don’t think about it more. The problem is, though, that often the same question is so big and complicated that it seems equally ridiculous that we should try to answer them at all. Questions like ‘what is poverty, anyway?’ and ‘how does business affect poverty?’
"These are questions which, of course, are all about what we do...but they're also much bigger than that."
These are questions which, of course, are all about what we do and what we’re trying to achieve, but they’re also much bigger than that. And so we’re really excited to have turned our top analytical minds to answering some of these questions. Dr Nicholas Andreou heads up the Insight & Impact Team at Balloon Ventures, and is ably supported by Enrico Calvenese, based in our London Office; and Gerishon Were, based in Kenya. Nick, Enrico and Gerishon will attempt to tackle (sometimes, they assure us, even answer) these big questions in short (ish) blog form.
This series will cover key themes related to Balloon’s work, but also more widely the work of livelihood-focussed interventions in emerging markets. They’ve got a long list of questions they’re looking to answer, and it looks as though that list is only likely to get longer.
Understanding poverty, development, and the link to entrepreneurship
- What is poverty?
- How does development happen?
- What has business got to do with poverty alleviation?
- What’s the link between psychology and poverty alleviation?
The informal sector, its potential, and why we engage with it
- What is the informal sector?
- Is the informal sector all bad?
- Why is the ‘gig’ economy a positive thing but the informal economy a negative thing?
Data in development
- When is data good enough to be ‘true’?
- How does data help in development?
The team are going to use existing literature; data from Balloon’s own projects and elsewhere; their own experience working in this context and conversations with others who have interesting ideas to share.
If you have a big question you’d like us to consider tackling, then comment on the post below and we’ll look at incorporating the best, most relevant ideas into future posts.