From introducing advanced technology to providing support for small farmers: How OPIC has helped some Massachusetts enterprises have a positive impact in the world
OPIC’s popular Expanding Horizons workshop for small businesses travels later this month to Massachusetts, a state that has produced many strong OPIC supported projects that are having a positive impact in the developing world.
Expanding Horizons is a nine-year-old OPIC workshop series that seeks to educate small businesses about the opportunities of expanding into developing markets and the way OPIC can support these efforts with loans, financing and political risk insurance. On October 14, OPIC will host a workshop in Boston.
The businesses and nonprofits from Massachusetts that OPIC has worked with in the past illustrate how U.S. enterprises can make a positive impact in poor countries and emerging markets.
QuantumID Technologies, for example, is a Cambridge, Mass. company that grew out of an innovative technology developed at MIT in 2006. Today it offers a cloud-based system for tracking cargo to help airlines around the world improve customer service and overall efficiency.
“It’s like moving from the tollbooth lane to the E-Z Pass lane on the highway,” explains QuantumID CEO Milind Tavshikar.
Since QuantumID’s technology requires no upfront investment in hardware, it has proven to be a practical solution for developing countries seeking to introduce more advanced technology. The company has used financing from OPIC to expand into developing countries including India and the Philippines.
Root Capital, also based in Cambridge, Mass. Is a nonprofit social investment fund that has also used OPIC financing to support its work in developing countries. Root works to empower small rural farmers in Latin America and Africa by providing financing for seeds, fertilizer and farm equipment, along with training to help connect local producers with global markets.
More than two billion people around the world live in rural areas beyond the reaches of modern infrastructure and Root has helped connect some small remote farmers to global retailers such as Starbucks and Whole Foods that are interested in supporting social and environmental sustainability. OPIC’s financing has helped Root provide loans to farmers in 32 countries in Africa and Latin America.
“There is a great potential of farmer cooperatives and agricultural businesses to transform livelihoods and sustain the environment at the grassroots level,” said Willy Foote, founder and CEO of Root Capital.
Interested in learning more about how your small business can expand into high-growth emerging markets? Sign up for the October 14. Expanding Horizons workshop in Boston.