eBay: fostering entrepreneurship in developing countries?
Posted by: John Tozzi on September 03, 2008
Sarah Perez at ReadWriteWeb reports on a new eBay marketplace for green and fair-trade products called World of Good. It’s a partnership with the organization of the same name, which has both corporate and non-profit arms. The idea is that each product is verified by independent organizations to be fair-trade, environmentally conscious, etc. Many also have direct information about the producer on the product page.
This struck me as an attempt to bring full circle Kiva, the peer-to-peer microlender designed to give entrepreneurs in the developing world access to small loans to start businesses. eBay's World of Good could give those same entrepreneurs access to the global market. It's no surprise that eBay founder and chairman Pierre Omidyar has a big interest in microfinance. His philanthropic investment group, Omidyar Network, has backed many microlenders, as well as World of Good.
If the World of Good storefront becomes a central marketplace connecting developing-world producers and developed-world consumers, it could change the dynamics of entrepreneurship in the world's poorest nations. These (very small) businesses can expand beyond their local market and presumably get higher prices from Western consumers.
The partnership is also a play on eBay's part to get a piece of the growing market for green and socially-conscious goods, which ReadWriteWeb reports is $206 billion in the U.S.