Fight Poverty With Entrepreneurship: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
In an op-ed in The Huffington Post, Lemmon explains that there are numerous benefits when a woman starts a business in a poverty-stricken community. "When women have income coming in research shows that the entire family benefits in the form of better nutrition and health," she writes. "More money also means that parents must no longer face a choice between paying a son's or a daughter's school fees—a contest which the daughter usually loses—since there is enough money for both boys and girls to be in the classroom." This last point is especially crucial given that education is one of the most powerful tools to combat poverty.
While many business owners still struggle with finding access to start-up funding, there are just as many who have been successful in doing so. "So file 'entrepreneurship' in the category of what works when it comes to the poor lifting themselves out of poverty," she writes in the article. "The innovation gap that remains, particularly on the question of access to funding, is one that requires creativity, an embrace of risk and, most importantly, determination." But, Lemmon says that the payoff is well worth the effort. Lemmon is a leading voice on the role of entrepreneurs in the developing world. She writes regularly for Newsweek and The Daily Beast and is the deputy director of the Council on Foreign Relations' Women and Foreign Policy. In her keynotes (like her recent TEDx Talk) she shares her on-the-ground reporting experience with her audiences. She shows us the ways that innovation is changing—and why we should be supporting entrepreneurs, whether female or male, in the developing world.