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TED@State: Jacqueline Novogratz on patient capital in Pakistan

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Jacqueline Novogratz founded and leads Acumen Fund, a nonprofit that takes a businesslike approach to improving the lives of the poor, by investing in entrepreneurs who bring necessary goods and services — water, bread, healthcare — to communities that need it, and who would otherwise depend on traditional charity. In her new book, The Blue Sweater, she tells stories from the new philanthropy, which emphasizes sustainable bottom-up solutions over traditional top-down aid.

At TED@State, Jacqueline talks about a project in Pakistan that encapsulates what her work is about. Drip irrigation is a proven farming technology, but it’s only been available for large farms; Novogratz tells a story of how, with help from grants and then from “patient capital,” this vital tool was made available to smaller farmers.

Investments like this — which are typically unattractive to large investors because the target customers make less than a dollar a day — are the heart and soul of patient capital, allowing an entrepreneur to make something that improves people’s lives and helps them live with dignity and independence.

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