I recently came across a very interesting venture on the Unreasonable Institute website:
“Uniting the tribes in a business entity that can form joint-ventures, make investments, and facilitate project development is a necessary step into creating the post-carbon economy. These lands can be opened for responsible clean energy development…”
Led by Dan Rosen, the project is called Mosaic Ventures. They are aiming to tackle two major issues at once: the current energy crisis and Native American poverty.
This is not you classic charitable fundraiser to help poor Native Americans. The project is not geared to induce your sympathy to their plight and asking you to donate funds so that we can build a school for them, or feed their impoverished children.
On the flip side, no one is asking you to “Save the Trees” by donating a dollar or battering you with statistics on The United States dependency on foreign oil. Their model is not based on guilt trips, environmental scare tactics, or warnings of impending doom.
Even more impressively, the venture simultaneously addresses two issues that are not intuitively connected. Instead of simply focusing on providing aid to a disadvantaged population, Rosen and his team focus on building a profitable infrastructure that takes advantage of natural resources in the area. They then combined that with interest the growing clean energy industry, and start a project that will give long-term hope to an oft-ignored population.
Now, I do not know if this idea is applicable for other socially conscious leaders interested in international development. However, I suspect that with the vast quantity of foreign natural resources in poor nations, especially in the African continent, that opportunities exist to adapt this model for use among other disadvantaged populations.