Paul Polak founded International Development Enterprises (IDE) in 1981 with the goal of fighting international rural poverty with profit. The non-profit group develops and markets low-cost, low-tech irrigation devices to small-plot farmers. Farmers can recover the cost of the device within one season while marginally boosting their income. Polak believes that charity is the worst way of handling the impoverished...that instead, they should be treated as customers and entrepreneurs.
IDE's Common Set of Beliefs:
- Markets are a powerful force for fighting poverty.
- The rural poor are customers, producers, and entrepreneurs, not charity recipients.
- Development efforts will succeed by learning from the people needing help.
- Innovation and entrepreneurship are key to sustainability.
- Demand-driven, decentralized, private-sector led efforts succeed where others fail.
Listen to more of what Paul Polak has to say about IDE and his innovative approach towards alleviating poverty when Paul Polak speaks to eClips.
Read more about Polak and IDE in the June 20, 2005 Forbes article entitled, Trickle-Up Economics.