The challenge of international development requires a medley of ideas. At the Multilateral Investment Fund, we work in an array of topics that are at the forefront of efforts to spur the economic development of the private sector in Latin America and the Caribbean. Each week, this blog "Trends" brings you our latest research and thinking. 

Our complete list of blogs can be found here.

Wanted: Soft skills

By Yuri Soares

When Diogo Barbosa was hired to work at a construction site for the subway in Rio de Janeiro, he did not give much thought to the path that took him from the streets of a Rio slum, to the work site of a well-paying formal job. Nor was he thinking of the skills he had acquired throughout his lifetime, and how they would be key to his success. Rather, he was intent on making the best of the opportunity at hand. Diogo is one of those employees that bosses really like. He is always on time at the job site, and will often stay later if needed. According to job site supervisor he never passes up an opportunity to learn a new skill. He takes the initiative to help others get the job done. He is also known to solve complicated problems, and his peers often turn to him for help.

Equal potential, unequal paths: Explaining the gender gap in entrepreneurial success

By Yuri Soares

At the annual summit last week of the Global Banking Alliance for Women (GBA), it is was evident that we’ve learned much over the past few years on how to fashion effective approaches to help women entrepreneurs. GBA is a group of financial institutions, including some of the world’s main banks, dedicated to expanding access to financial services for women, with an emphasis on targeting women-led enterprises. Its member banks are experimenting with innovative—and profitable—approaches. 

Redefining property: The sharing economy

By Fernando Jiménez-Ontiveros

The world’s largest taxi company, Uber, doesn’t own a car; the fifth largest lodging company, Airbnb, doesn’t own a room; the biggest social network, Facebook, doesn’t produce content. 

These platforms allow a massive sharing of resources. Today’s combination of disruptive information technologies and globalization has achieved the death of distance. Any individual or company now has full access to information and global markets in real time. This has unleashed the power of people to share ideas, financing, and goods and service in a way that has changed forever how we communicate, interact, and exchange ideas and resources. 

Step No.1 to win low-income customers: discard your stereotypes

By Guest

By Susan Olsen

An unwillingness to overcome stereotypes about people at the economic base of the pyramid (BOP) could easily be the most important explanation of why some BOP-focused companies aren’t successful. Shattering stereotypes before starting an inclusive business model was the basis for a provocative panel discussion that took place during the Inter-American Development Bank’sBASE III Forum in Mexico City this summer.

Social entrepreneurship enters the mainstream

By Elizabeth Boggs Davidsen

Once a niche concept at the intersection of business and development, “social entrepreneurship” is now mainstream. A social entrepreneur, according to Ashoka founder Bill Draper, who coined the term in 1980, is a person with system-changing solutions for the world’s most urgent social problems. A social enterprise is one that deliberately expands access to goods, services, income, and employment opportunities for vulnerable populations as part of its core business while seeking return on investment. Social entrepreneurship is increasingly appealing to people, and the idea of using a MBA degree to do good while doing well has grown in popularity on campuses and in businesses around the globe.