Can Financial Products Improve the Lives of Poor People? by Ellen McGirt @FortuneMagazine September 16, 2016, 8:40 AM EDT E-mail Tweet Facebook Linkedin Share icons Happy Friday! Just a quick note up top, since I’m on my way to SOCAP16, the annual confab of social entrepreneurs with a very cool tagline: A conference at the intersection of money + meaning. My panel explores a very nuts-and-bolts topic – how poverty alleviation strategies can scale through new and creative (in a good way) financial products. But these dull sounding loan/grant hybrids and subordinated debt products are changing how we think about philanthropy forever, and opening up new opportunities for financial institutions and high-net worth individuals – and everyone else – to create products that can improve life for the poorest people. It’s already working: In the last two decades, some two billion people have emerged from absolute poverty, many of them the beneficiaries of smart strategies and creative impact investing in health services, agricultural businesses and water and sanitation. What new products and services will take them the rest of the way? This population, and the people who are still emerging from the bottom of the pyramid, are forming a new class of consumers with rights and responsibilities, along with new freedom to go to school, work, buy the stuff they need, become entrepreneurs, artists and philosophers, and in general, make a better life. I’ll be back next week with lots of money and meaning stories, no doubt. Have a meaningful weekend, everyone!