By 3 January 2014Ethiopia, Fundraising, UK

In capitalism “risk” is a central idea within investment strategies.

“Has this been done before ?”

“What were the outcomes ?”

These are questions that investors ask, not wanting throw good money after bad.

It’s exactly the same for social entrepreneurs involved in spending hard-won charitable donations, we absolutely want to be as sure as possible that we succeed, to eliminate as many risks as possible, so that we satisfy our investors and beneficiaries.

At Global MapAid most of us are business people, and so looking back and evaluating risk from the investments of others is vital. We know that what we are doing has been done before – and with great success.

In an earlier era, late Victorian England, a Charles Booth was a wealthy ship owner and leather factory owner. He was also a social entrepreneur.

Booth was a Capitalist with a capital “C” but he also believed that Adam Smith was right, capitalism should serve the masses, and should be unselfish. He had an argument with the socialists about the levels of poverty in London, and set out to prove them wrong.

In the process he also probably became the worlds ‘first secret millionaire,’ living undercover with poor people to gain insights. He then set about building a team to map London poverty, with astounding results.

This video gives a flavour of his work.

Charles Booths London Poverty mapping was thorough, the numerate data from which the map was made, as well as the anecdotal data together filled about 13 encyclopaedia sized volumes.

Today Global MapAid is developing Charles Booths idea, by asking how underlying unemployment poverty relates to unemployment solutions, this is what MapGap stands for.