For more than 150 years, MIT has been lauded for educating innovators and entrepreneurs. Many of these pioneers have launched their ventures in developed countries. But in recent years a new trend has emerged, as an increasing number of MIT innovators and entrepreneurs are now working in the emerging economies of Asia, Africa and Latin America. This trend is exemplified by the Fellows at the Legatum Center, which serves students from all five MIT schools who wish to be entrepreneurs in low-income countries.
Legatum Fellows Arie Dukes and Akash Bhatia worked with Mayank Kapoor to establish Infinite Analytics, a web analytics company. While one might expect the business to be based in Silicon Valley, Infinite Analytics is actually located in India.
Envy, a woman's apparel company founded by Legatum Fellow Mercy Wakweika, uses a business model that capitalizes on excess inventory. Rather than selling to consumers in the United States, their flagship store is located in Uganda.
Geonecta is a platform for aggregating sensor networks developed by Legatum Fellow Fernando Tubilla. With services being tested in the U.S., it grew out of Fernando's determination to create support and execution systems that improve the operations of organizations throughout Latin America.
In 2010, Legatum Fellow Javier Lozano opened Clínicas del Azúcar, comprehensive care clinics that use new technologies and data analysis software to provide low-cost monitoring to diabetics. Without such innovation, the costs are prohibitive for low-income families in Mexico.
Aminata Kane, a current Legatum Fellow, has taken an IKEA approach to designer clothing, selling clothes in boxed kits comprised of pre-assembled fabrics and matching accessories that customers bring to their tailors to ensure the perfect fit. Her business, Fula&Style, opened in Senegal.
Find out more about the MIT Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship, http://legatum.mit.edu/.