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Zahid Torres-Rahman

Business Fights Poverty is an online community that connects people using business to get people out of poverty. With 10,000 members, it's one of the largest networks of its kind, and operates as a place for people interested in social entrepreneurship to share, learn, and network.

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Zahid  Torres-Rahman
“Even if we can help just one of those pioneering individuals in their quest to make a difference, I’ll be happy. But if we can help build a movement, the possibilities are limitless. ”

​Zahid Torres-Rahman founded Business Fights Poverty, an online community for professionals working at the intersection of business and international development. With over 10,000 members, Business Fights Poverty is helping build a worldwide movement of people passionate about harnessing business to create long-lasting change.

Part of Business Fights Poverty's mission is to move away from a vision of development aid as charity. Instead, Torres-Rahman sees social entrepreneurs today "driven by a vision of poor people as agents of their own development." Business Fights Poverty members support the poor by helping them get jobs or grow a business. The goal is to "combine development impact with commercial success," says Torres-Rahman  "which means solutions are inherently more likely to achieve scale and long-term sustainability."

On their site, Business Fights Poverty profiles pioneers who are finding new ways of fighting poverty through business. People like the entrepreneur who invented in a small-scale solar panel to charge mobile phones in Kenya, the charity worker in Nepal who helps small-scale female farmers transform their farms into viable enterprises, and the aid official in Washington tackling food and nutrition insecurity through new partnerships with the private sector.  

Although Business Fights Poverty is reaching what Torres-Rahman calls a critical mass of members, he admits building the site over the last five years "hasn’t all been plain sailing," but enthusiasm from the social innovation community has powered him through. "Every time I hear a story from one of our members about how Business Fights Poverty has helped them, I feel completely re-energised," he says. Going forward, he's looking to keep up the momentum, and keep making a difference. "Even if we can help just one of those pioneering individuals in their quest to make a difference, then I’ll be happy," he says, "but if we can help build a movement, the possibilities are limitless."