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Dozens of gender lens funds launched in 2018

As published in The Marketplace Magazine Jan-Feb 2019

More than two dozen private funds that make investments in women-led businesses were launched in 2018, a study by the Wharton Social Impact initiative suggests.

The study, spearheaded by social impact and gender lens advocate Suzanne Biegel, shows considerable growth in gender lens investing — investing to generate financial returns and a positive impact on women. The Wharton School is part of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Great ideas don’t always get good grades

As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

Take the example of delivery giant FedEx, which had its genesis in a college term paper.

Founder Frederick Smith was an undergrad student at Yale in 1966, studying topology — ways to connect service points through a central hub to geometrically improve efficiencies. Smith recognized that guaranteed overnight delivery would be required in the new economy, and no one was at that time prepared to meet the need.

He got a poor grade on the paper but used the idea five years late to obtain planes, set up a hub and incorporated delivery trucks. The company bled red ink for its first four years but had sales of $1 billion by 1983.

An article in AdWeek magazine notes that each day, FedEx ships 14 million packages to 220 countries. Sales now top $60 billion. ◆

Believing the best

As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

Bosses who want superstar employees need to think of them as such, research into the field of “expectancy effects” suggests.

But the physical and verbal cues they present in interactions with workers need to match, says an article in Entrepreneur.com. Employees who are made to believe in their own effectiveness can improve performance by up to 30 per cent, working harder and undeterred by setbacks. Workers seen as mediocre are micro-managed, which leads them to become defensive, reinforcing the tendency to micro-management and undermining their confidence. ◆

Canadians have mixed views on overseas development

IMG 5907By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace – July/August 2018

Canadians hold fascinating, and sometimes contradictory, attitudes on overseas development work, an infographic article in Faith Today magazine points out.

More than seven in 10 Canadians take pride in overseas development work supported by Canadians, and 75 per cent say helping even one family or village is worthwhile.

At the same time, more than six in 10 Canadians think Canada should deal with domestic problems before increasing spending abroad, and 69 per cent prefer to donate to charities working within the country rather than on international issues.

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Print is more memorable

Support for longhand writing and reading print publications instead of electronic screens can be found in a recent issue of Fast Company magazine. An article entitled, “This is How the Way You Read Impacts Your Memory and Productivity,” cites studies showing that taking notes by hand helps a person remember content better than if your notes are typed into a smart phone or laptop.

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Good news in poverty reduction

As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

An even-handed newspaper “could have run the headline Number of People in Extreme Poverty Fell by 137,000 Since Yesterday every day for the last twenty-five years,” Daniel Pinker notes, citing German economist Max Roser. In his new book Enlightenment Now, Pinker argues that contrary to widely-held views that the world is in ever-worsening shape, things are in fact getting better. There is a fascinating analysis of his argument in an article entitled “The Big Question” in a recent edition of New Yorker magazine. ◆

What can business do?

By Mike Strathdee

As Printed in The Marketplace – March/April 2018

“What can you do as a business manager in the world? I would say you can give people employment. If you give a thousand people, or even 20 people, or five people employment, meaningful employment, you are making a great contribution to this world. What is more destructive of human personality than forced idleness? I would think that one of the great incentives of being in business is to make it possible for some people to live, and to live decently, and live well.” — The late J. Lawrence Burkholder in a keynote address to the 1986 MEDA convention

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