iDE is an international not-for-profit NGO with a unique business approach to poverty eradication. When Paul Polak founded International Development Enterprises (iDE) in 1982, his idea that business was the solution to poverty was new and untested. Thirty-four years later, Paul’s concept has been proven not only by iDE but also by the increasing number of established and new organisations that have embraced this approach.
Today iDE is a global effort that spans offices in 14 countries, encompassing 4 social enterprises, iDE employ over 1,000 people directly, and indirectly, enabling many more through their market-based approaches in agriculture; water, sanitation, and hygiene; and finance. In operation for 36 years around the world—and 10 years in Ghana —iDE’s mission is to create income and livelihood opportunities for poor rural households. Along the way, iDE has learned that the key to market-based solutions to poverty isn’t specific to any particular form of technology. The key lies in how that technology—right-sized, resource-smart, and affordable—is implemented in the particular region, market, and client base that determines its success and sustainability. iDE have developed an entire service suite for ensuring market viability, including partnerships with local providers, knowledge and training in the use and maintenance of technology, and ensuring the availability of necessary inputs.
In order to continue to be a positive force for progress, iDE constantly challenge themselves to learn from the past and to seek out new technologies and interventions within their operations across all locations.