Yes, I meant to type dependent. Here’s why.
One of the great drivers of mankind’s progress has been our ability to specialize in our knowledge and functions, organize as groups or entities that share knowledge and create amazing things that no individual could do on his or her own. Done well, the outcomes of organizations are far greater than the sum of its parts. The most awesome things that mankind has created – jet planes, space stations, the power grid, they are all borne of interconnected, highly dependent networks of people. Our (Madura’s) women micro-entrepreneurs are the antithesis of this dependence. They are highly unspecialized and operate independently (women, only because that’s who we serve, but this applies to men too). These micro-entrepreneurs strategize, produce, market, manage accounts and do everything on their own. This means that they rarely have the opportunity to benefit from the knowledge of others and rarely have the opportunity to gain deep functional expertise as they are so busy doing a little of everything. That’s a huge limitation on what they are able to achieve. It is remarkable how few of our women borrowers think to band together and create something bigger than any one of them could do alone and I often wonder why this is. Most of the women I have talked to who have grouped in twos or threes have only done so in order to pool their loans to afford an asset, not for aspirational reasons. I’ve been thinking about what drives organization in society and not coming up with a satisfying hypothesis yet. If we could figure this out, it could be very powerful. Ideas folks?