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NIDAN: Tapping into ‘the Wealth of the Poor’ — Their Numbers

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Nidan: Tapping into ‘the Wealth of the Poor’

When Arbind Singh was named Social Entrepreneur of the Year for 2008 in India, one of the award’s sponsors described Singh’s non-government organization (NGO), Nidan, as “[building] profitable businesses and people’s organizations led by assetless, informal workers.”

“Social entrepreneurs embody excellence in creating disruptive technologies and ideas that empower the poor or the marginalized,” said Don Mohanlal, president and CEO of the Nand & Jeet Khemka Foundation, which sponsors the annual award with the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Nidan’s “innovative techniques have fundamentally altered conventional development and business logic.”

Based in Patna, Bihar, with additional operations in the states of Jharkhand, Delhi and Rajasthan, Nidan comprises “a range of cooperatives, self-help groups, trade unions, and individual and community businesses launched by Nidan that have positioned unorganized workers as legitimate competitors in India’s globalizing markets,” according to the Khemka Foundation’s website.

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