Paul Basil

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2002


This profile was prepared when Paul Basil was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2002.
The New Idea
Paul sees that people living in rural areas must confront problems of every sort with few resources or ready-made solutions. Some brilliant and widely applicable practical solutions surface in this environment, yet more often than not, the solutions designed by rural people are seen merely as local innovations, with limited application beyond a small cluster of communities. Using a venture capital investment model, Paul is reaching these rural innovators who have little visibility or access to support. He and his staff identify promising ideas, such as rain guns, automatic seed-drills, bio-insecticides, and solar water purifiers. By mentoring the men and women behind the ideas, Paul and his team help refine, promote, and market the ideas or products.

Paul expects his work to catalyze a new wave of venture capital, promoting innovative alternatives that are the products of enterprising rural people. He has demonstrated that with suitable exposure, modifications, technical assistance, and incentives, these homegrown innovations can replace expensive, ineffective tools and can solve some of the region's most pressing social and agricultural problems. Paul's work shows that it is possible to attract venture capital when both utility and market value are added to rural innovations.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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