According to the Global Poverty Project, there are 1.4 billion people in the world that live in extreme poverty, which is equivalent to living on less than $1.25 per day.  We believe that there is no better way to combat this problem than to provide impoverished people with money to start their own businesses.  This will not only offer the individual with a sustainable source of income, but also lead to community development and improvement by providing many other disadvantaged individuals in the community with a job.  There is a huge wealth gap between the developing and the developed world, and there are many people who have never had the chance to even dream about pursuing their personal and business goals successfully, simply because there is no source of capital with which they can do so.  In our view, capitalism is important for creating wealth and the possibility for self-sustaining businesses that can lift individuals and communities out of poverty. We believe that entrepreneurship, not charity, will provide people with the ability to do what we all strive to do – follow our dreams and provide for ourselves.

In order for entrepreneurship to be possible for individuals, wealth in its broadest form, often termed “capital” in the discipline of economics, is necessary to make business vision and goals into a reality. This capital can come in many different forms like a social network, microloans, and access to educational tools, and can be created through many means. Any business enterprise must start with some form of this capital. However, access to such capital is not equally or justly distributed in any society in our world. There are a number of barriers that prohibit certain individuals with entrepreneurial vision from obtaining the capital they need to make their vision a reality. These barriers can be a product of lack of financial resources or education, social structures, political institutions, or even systematic oppression of these individuals. This creates a significant problem for individuals seeking to realize their business aspirations, which in turn can lead to increase livelihood.  Additionally, there are negative repercussions associated with microloans in the developing world, for example governments unfairly taking money away from successful businesses.  We hope to account for this problem by funding organizations that are familiar with the “politics” of the area and thus understand what can be successful.

Specifically, there are three barriers to capital that we have identified that we hope to address through our foundation: economic, political, and social/cultural.  Economic barriers to capital are often connected to political and social barriers to capital, and are simply the inability to afford necessary tools, education, or other types of capital to start or expand a business.  Political barriers to capital are government institutions that directly prohibit or disincentivize capitalism and entrepreneurial drive.  Finally, social and cultural barriers to capital are social structures or institutions that limit individual’s or group’s ability to acquire capital.  Social barriers usually involve inequality or oppression of individuals or groups– oppression of women in many Middle Eastern societies for example.

Therefore, creating innovative ways to fund entrepreneurs looking to reach a broad range of customers and create social benefit may be the best way to solve this problem.  Through identifying different funding sources and focusing on the potential for impact, the effect of an enterprise on its customers, and potential success of the business, the OpenGrounds Change Foundation hopes to make a lasting change in the social entrepreneurship world.