Paul Polak, widely considered the father of market-based solutions to poverty, is the co-author with Mal Warwick of The Business Solution to Poverty: Designing Products and Services for Three Billion New Customers. Previously, he wrote Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail. Paul is the co-founder and CEO of Windhorse International, a for-profit social venture with the mission of inspiring and leading a revolution in how companies design, price, market and distribute products to benefit the 2.7 billion customers who live on $2 a day or less. Windhorse International combines radically affordable, life-saving or income-generating technology with radically decentralized supply chains to earn profits serving bottom billion customers.
Prior to founding Windhorse, Paul founded D-Rev in 2008, a nonprofit that seeks “to create a design revolution by enlisting the best designers in the world to develop products and ideas that will benefit the 90% of the people on earth who are poor, in order to help them earn their way out of poverty.” He is best known for his work with Colorado-based International Development Enterprises (IDE), a nonprofit he founded in 1981 to develop practical solutions that harness the power of markets and attack poverty at its roots. IDE has ended poverty for 20 million of the world’s poorest people by making radically affordable irrigation technology available to farmers through local small-scale entrepreneurs, and opening private sector access to markets for their crops.