Lean Startup Methods for Developing Economies

The lean startup methodology has been widely used to test and launch entrepreneurial startups from academic institutions to incubators. It has further extended to cutting edge invention, through the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps program. Yet, the lean methodology has not been applied extensively to social innovation and developing economies. Through a combination of course work and USAID-based funding, UC Berkeley’s Blum Center for Developing Economies has implemented the lean methodology across its interdisciplinary course curriculum for both developed and developing economies, in partnership with the USAID. Drs. Sophi Martin and Jennifer Walske discuss some of the challenges and benefits of this approach from both a technological and business model perspective. Panelists (USAID and SunFunder) will also discuss some of the challenges in scaling social enterprises that the lean methodology can address, and where there might be risks to the lean approach in the field.


Sophi Martin, University of California-Berkeley
Jennifer Walske, University of California-Berkeley
Ryan Levinson, SunFunder
Anne Healy, USAID

Track: Global

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