Beckon – my coming onboard
I joined Beckon in 2019. At the time it was Nexus I had just bumped into a friend I had not seen since university days – Christopher Selth, founder of Beckon Capital.
We had coffee and Chris was telling me about his project. As he spoke my eyes widened because it so aligned with the most joyful point in my educational journey thus far. This may sound very strange but this high point was the research paper of the economics unit of my MBA.
I had been somewhat of a cynic about the social benefits of Darwinian capitalism since, well, possibly since my undergraduate days, but the discovery of Nobel Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus’ micro finance to village women in the developing world and also Prahalad and Hart’s work ‘The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid’ had given me a new hope with regards to breaking the cycles of poverty in third world communities and of our own. I saw it as a brilliant blue-print regarding kick-starting the local and wider economy in a holistically generative manner.
Ok. Here I go. The similarities in approach. Micro finance – as applied by Yunus’ micro-finance and Prahalad and Hart’s enablement of those living in poverty was applied by providing micro loans to women to establish small businesses that would benefit their communities. My case study was of Grameen Danone in Bangladesh – a joint venture between Yunus’ Grameen Bank and the dairy company Danone. Women in the Bangladesh community were enabled to produce a single-portion product of highly nutritious dairy product; the financial assistance enabling the manufacture, the purchase of refrigerated bicycles for delivery, the cows for raw material, the education assisting business know-how, and the selection of the most sustainable and environmentally friendly methods of production and distribution.
Not such a stretch while chatting with Chris was understanding how Nexus Initiative (now Beckon Capital) by getting capital and capability to where it is most needed – local communities, could assist local businesses to flourish and benefit their communities (generating employment, enhancing well-being, providing a needed service or commodity, etc). The most significant difference is that rather than the developing world, Beckon focuses its regenerating resources to nationally local projects.
The Prahalad portion of the equation? This brilliant economist detailed how, by turning those not economically contributing (at the bottom of the pyramid) into producers who had money and resource to put back into the economy, you were essentially assisting a once disempowered demographic in a dying economy to reactivate it. The analogy with Beckon again, is that local businesses in Australia are invisible with regard to financial investment by the big-end of town though these are the businesses that hold the key – through their commercial success – of regenerating both their local economies and that of greater Australia.
Both micro finance and Beckon finance, by focusing on businesses that improve social, economic and environmental outcomes in their communities, create value that spills into many other areas including health, education, quality of life and environment – all those things that break-through the many social and environmental obstacles that hinder equality. This disruption can lead to a more dynamic and positive economy, and both enriches those investors savvy enough to support Beckon Capital in its endeavour and those businesses that Beckon assists to flourish.
A brilliant initiative that can benefit all.
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