Join us at 3.30pm GMT / 10.30am EST on Thursday, 12 December for a live Google Hangout with Paul Polak, Founder of IDE.


Paul Polak is widely regarded as the father of market-centered approaches to development. He started harnessing the energy of the marketplace 30 years ago when IDE, the organization he founded, sold 1.5 million treadle pumps.


Paul will talk about the ideas in his new book, The Business Solution to Poverty.


The interview will be conducted by Graham Baxter, Senior Adviser at Business Fights Poverty.


Post your comments and questions below!


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Looking forward to it!

Hello Paul and Graham
With the range if business solutions to poverty you have been working on, what would you say are the key measures of impact that you can use that not only demonstrate outcomes, but also help direct your business investments for shared value? We are looking at social value measures for business and really want to find those that help transform business. Thanks!

So glad to be here !

Any business hoping to work effectively in the developing world should plan from the beginning to create local jobs as a key strategy for building local stakeholder interest and investment in your business sustainability and success. Local support and enthusiasm (while simultaneously building your future market) can also be achieved by zero-based design collaboration with end-users.  Our business, Eniware, LLC, brings affordable, portable, power-free sterilization for healthcare settings to the 1.2 billion people without access to electricity and the hundreds of millions more with intermittent or insecure access to power.

We are big fans at Eniware of the three business "S"s - sustainable, scalable and shared value - implied in Paul's model.

We also embrace Paul's innovative strategies of combining ruthless affordability, designing for radical decentralization and ensuring sufficient margins to attract the big money investors for scaling.

And thank you for bringing up "aspirational branding"!  Paul's approach is all about human dignity.

Rachel- hello from Paul Polak's team- if you'd like us to send you an edited version of this Google Hangout video to just have your answer from Paul- please email us directly at

I am a masters student in strategic management in Sweden, i am interested in a masters thesis on this issue of Business fights Poverty, could you provide some of the existing gaps in this field.

Dorothy, Linköpings Universitet, Sweden.

Thank you for your idea about creating a "play" to act out instructions. At New Vision Renewable Energy, we have created a solar LED light in partnership with 3M and it is available as an unassembled kit or assembled. Would it benefit the recipients of our light to receive the kit with an instructional video so that they are empowered by the building of the light with their own hands? We have over 1100 lights in over 25 countries and written material in so many different languages is often not possible when working with tribal communities of various dialects.Does the social value of empowerment override the need for light? Thoughts?

I'd suggest that more serious consideration of the principles behind Earthships be considered, these provide a sewage treatment, drinking water, thermal mass to stay warm without needing to burn something since comfort zone doesn't vary much using the passive solar methods.

These have been built in 2-3 weeks using hand tools from tires, dirt, plastic bottles and basically  only  require cement & rebar to bring them up to code.

There is no better investment to establish a community than getting people out of the mud with little inputs, this is a recent design done for Haiti relief:

Paul will be available to reply to your comments Friday- So watch for his reply here soon!
Also- please share a link about your company- it's sounds great!

Here is more about Paul's business that follows a similar model to yours

Paul will be available to reply to your comments Friday- So watch for his reply here soon!

Paul will be available to reply to your comments Friday- So watch for his reply here soon!

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