CONTACT: Sandra Bunch, ICRW
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Shanta Bryant Gyan (202) 412-4603;
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ICRW TO TIME : NONPROFITS KEY PARTNERS IN CREATIVE CAPITALISM
ICRW President Geeta Rao Gupta joins Bill Gates, other experts to discuss how
businesses can profit from good works and investments in women
WASHINGTON , D.C., Aug. 4 – Nonprofits can be catalysts for new ways of doing
business that benefit both a company’s bottom line and the bottom half of the world’s
population economically, says ICRW President Geeta Rao Gupta, who participated in a
recent roundtable by TIME magazine on creative capitalism.
To take innovation a step further, Rao Gupta called on the group of global business
leaders and thinkers – including Microsoft-co-founder Bill Gates, the champion of this
concept – to invest in poor women who not only constitute the majority of the world’s
poor, but also are the key producers, entrepreneurs and drivers of economic growth in
“Women are not just victims, they are agents of change,” Rao Gupta says, pointing to
the more than 30 years of evidence by ICRW and other researchers that makes the
economic case. “[Women] could create a ripple effect to even stop the inter-
generational transmission of poverty if we do it right,” she adds, “and that's a story that
hasn't been told that well.”
“Creative capitalism” is an emerging idea around the question of how businesses can
do well – financially and otherwise – by focusing on improving the world, especially
reducing poverty. Gates introduced the concept at this year’s World Economic Forum in
Davos, Switzerland, and TIME and other media have been following its discussion since.
At the TIME roundtable, Gates acknowledged that capitalism has done “a great job” in
doubling life expectancy and increasing literacy and economic opportunity in the last
century, but he adds that the rate of improvement for a majority of the world’s people is
nowhere near what it should or could be.
Creative capitalism asks the question, “How do we change that?”
The other panelists, including Whole Foods founder and CEO John Mackey; Ogilvy & Mather
chairman Shelly Lazarus; and University of Michigan professor C.K. Prahalad, author of The
Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, focused on a key ingredient: innovation.
ICRW’s Rao Gupta noted that nonprofits are well placed to help companies think creatively
about how to blend innovative business strategies with a commitment to building a better world.
“A lot of the entrepreneurship happens within the nonprofit sector,” says Rao Gupta,
highlighting the many microfinance initiatives, which combine a business and community
cooperative model to improve how poor people, especially women, get small loans. “I often say
that NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] are the incubators for new, innovative ideas,” she
adds, that corporations and governments can then “take to scale.”
Transcripts of the discussion may be found on TIME.com at
ABOUT ICRW: The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) is a leading
Washington, D.C.-based international research organization with offices in India and Uganda
that works to advance gender equality and human rights, fight poverty, and promote sustainable
economic and social development for all. Learn more about ICRW and its work at www.icrw.org.