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The Front Line in Fighting Global Poverty

Global poverty is the major challenge facing our world in the 21st century. And behind every cold, clinical “data point” on poverty is a person, a face, a real life. Seeing them every day in our work in rural communities around the world, we are reminded of just how precarious these individual lives can be. As hard as they work, people simply cannot survive—in any meaningful sense of the word—on $1 a day.

In the developed world, small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) are a major driver of sustainable economic growth. They offer secure employment and new job skills, provide reliable markets for other SMEs and inject economic vitality into communities. SMEs reduce poverty! But SMEs are precisely what the developing world lacks.

TechnoServe—A Catalyst for Socio-Economic Change

TechnoServe, selected as one of America's “100 best charities” by Worth Magazine and named one of the “100 Best Social Entrepreneurs” by the Schwab Foundation, faces this challenge head on with demonstrated success. For more than three decades, TechnoServe has been quietly leading the way in showing how business can help alleviate poverty. We uncover new opportunities for entrepreneurs to satisfy unmet consumer needs. We then help entrepreneurs to create solid businesses that produce quality products for local, regional and international markets. These businesses provide jobs and income that enable people to lift themselves out of poverty. We thus provide a hand up, rather than a handout.

A Gift in Perpetuity

At TechnoServe we often talk about the "ripple effect" of our work: how one successful business will encourage other entrepreneurs to start tie-in businesses, creating more jobs and additional markets for smallholder farmers. Another aspect to the "ripple effect" is that economic activity supports social services such as schools and hospitals—without further reliance on aid of any sort. TechnoServe's approach is practical and cost-effective: every dollar we invest yields a return of more than $3 of increased revenue for the entrepreneurs' businesses, the effects of which are felt throughout the community long after TechnoServe has left. This makes a donation to TechnoServe a gift in perpetuity.

TechnoServe achieved the following results in 2004:

· 154: Number of businesses assisted by TechnoServe
· 9: Number of developing countries in which TechnoServe operated (El Salvador, Ghana, Honduras, Kenya, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Peru, South Africa, and Tanzania)
· $30,750,000: Sales generated by TechnoServe-assisted businesses
· $3,750,000: Net profits earned by TechnoServe-assisted businesses
· 7,300: Number of rural people employed by TechnoServe-assisted businesses
· $3,100,000: Wages/salaries paid to rural employees by TechnoServe-assisted businesses
· 94,000: Number of small-scale farmers supplying TechnoServe-assisted businesses
· $19,300,000: Income small-scale farmers earned supplying TechnoServe-assisted businesses
· 506,500: Rural men, women and children benefited from these higher incomes.

While we take pride in our progress, we are also humbled by the remaining needs. There are still 1.2 billion people living on less than $1 a day, and 20,000 people a day are dying because they are too poor to stay alive. We are currently working in 11 countries throughout Africa and Latin America, and we continue to expand our efforts each year to meet these needs.

We nominate TechnoServe for Fool charity of the year and request your support in our mission to help entrepreneurial women and men in poor rural areas to build businesses that create income, opportunity and economic growth for their families, their communities and their countries.

TechnoServe undergoes annual internal and external audits. Complete audited financial statements are available upon written request.

For more information and examples of our work, please visit us at

TechnoServe, Inc
1800 M Street, NW
Suite 1066, South Tower
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 785-4515
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