Market Atlas: Innovation in Underserved Communities


By Akin Sawyerr, Founder of Market Atlas

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“Underserved communities represent the biggest untapped opportunity to innovate, create value, and build wealth.”Akin Sawyerr

Sustainable Innovation

Market Atlas has spent a great deal of time developing an internal point of view of innovation. We believe innovation is most relevant when it finds a context where it can sustainably create value.

Sustainable Innovation is most likely to occur in contexts that are highly collaborative and made up of parties that are aligned on a shared set of deep convictions. Market Atlas’ convictions stem from a strong desire to support economic activity in marginalized communities anywhere they exist across the world.

We are passionate about changing distorted narratives that hamper innovation. We are also driven by a strong desire to magnify the efforts of those who overcome all odds to create sustainable value.

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Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Proving nature’s law is wrong; it learned to walk without having feet. Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams, it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else ever cared.”Tupac Shakur

Championing the efforts of Overcomers

We find it remarkable to hear the stories of innovators who persevered against all odds. Innovators who were brave enough to tackle tough problems and create a path for others behind them.

A focus on others allows people to persevere past the roadblocks they are certain to face. It creates a level of drive and passion that transcends individual goals.

A focus on others develops our capacity for empathy, tempers our egos, and sustains humility. It allows us to see short-term failure as growth in wisdom; to hold on to our visions and not be seduced by the first taste of success. To rebuff offers of money beyond our wildest dreams because it was never about the money and “wrong money” could redirect our efforts away from our visionary path.

Market Atlas is focused on championing the efforts of Overcomers.

Overcomers are people who were not supposed to amount to anything, people who lacked the requisite backgrounds, wealth, connections, pedigree.

Overcomers are people who took a talent and doubled it. Who taught themselves to code by reading from books under candlelight because electricity is a luxury where they come from.

Overcomers are migrants that travel to foreign lands to seek a better life, and while there, make the most of an opportunity that may be their last. They endure through the many disadvantages that has become their plight due to their status at the bottom rung of society.

“Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else ever cared.” We care about the roses.

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The Market Atlas Innovation Series

It’s because we care that we are launching the Market Atlas Innovation Series, a platform for innovators who have overcome all odds. A forum to learn, exchange, impart, engage, give, take, GROW. A forum for Overcomers to tell their stories.

We are launching the series on May 19th, 2016 in Arlington, VA. We would be honored to have you there to hear the story of Daniel Osei-Antwi and Splash Mobile Money. Splash was founded in 2009 to be a mobile money solution in West Africa. Splash is now cash-flow positive, having grown core transaction volume by 350% between 2014 and 2015. The story of Splash is one of leadership, perseverance, and humility.

Join us for a conversation with Daniel to hear more about his journey, his perspectives on mobile money, and what it takes to build successfully in under-served communities. For more information and to register, visit: http://www.marketatlas.co/mainnovationseries

Akin Sawyerr the Founder of Market Atlas. Market Atlas provides consulting, data analysis, and information services on select Frontier Markets to investors, researchers, and the general public.

This article was originally published on Medium.