Building on Existing Social Norms

Entrepreneurs will find it far easier to weave their webs of trust in the developing world if they capitalize on constructive, preexisting social norms and practices. These have often been in place for decades, if not centuries, in long-running, thriving societies. Here, we see this play out on a nationwide scale with entrepreneurs trying to develop financially and socially sustainable microfinance firms in both Mexico and India, while in the process propelling millions of their clients—mostly poor women—out of their subsistence existence.

Avoid Starting from Scratch

The little shop was buzzing with activity. ...

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