Ask The Expert
''My vast experience with quality management, particularly in Africa, has helped me understand the business culture there.''
An Interview with Rino Solberg
CEO, Better Globe Group
We interviewed Rino Solberg, CEO with Better Globe Group, a company helping the poorest farmers in the world through Microfinance to build community economies, on crucial aspects of sustainable forestry investment through social entrepreneurship. While speaking with Norway’s renowned philanthropist and entrepreneur, we Ask The Expert about the measures required to eradicate poverty and corruption in Africa.
Executive Global: HHow does social entrepreneurship differ from that of conventional business models?
Rino Solberg: Social Entrepreneurship can be defined in many ways and can be used in many different business concepts. However, “Social Entrepreneurship - The Better Globe Way” is based on the notion that the profit in our company is dedicated to our course of eradicating poverty and corruption in Africa, meaning that the more money the company makes, the more we can help Africa.
EG: What makes sustainable forestry so appealing as an asset class and why is tree planting so important?
RS: While the process of selling properties is generally the same, the complexities of selling a farm and country estate will differ from other niche areas due to peFirst and foremost, sustainable forestry has many benefits, both in terms of the environment and profitability. Tropical forestry in particular is very lucrative, as the demand has outstripped supply in the last 15 years, meaning assets are increasing in value every year. It is well known that trees capture CO2 (and water) and this is very important for the environment.
EG: As an author of 10 personal development books what is the greatest lesson you can give on motivation?
RS: That would have to be the fact that motivation is an inside job. YOU are the only one who can really motivate yourself. The best way then, is to have as a goal- something that you just “MUST DO” because it means a great deal to you. Something which can become your passion.
EG: WIn what ways has training over 100 companies in quality standards, deepened your insight?
RS: My vast experience with quality management, particularly in Africa, has helped me understand the business culture there. Quality management however, teaches the principle of doing things “right the first time and every time” and with this principle in mind, it is to put in place the right procedures that adhere to this philosophy. The rest is simple.
EG: What relevant trends do you see emerging in Microfinance for Agriculture within the next five years?
RS: Since Muhammed Yunus “invented” microfinance and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, microfinance has been used (and misused) in many underdeveloped countries, although mostly with good results. I believe the trend in microfinance for the next 5-10 years will be towards more sustainable projects. At Better Globe, we work with the families of poor farmers and we see clearly that when farmers get small loans to kick start their farming with greater prospects of getting out of poverty, they become greatly motivated and it therefore makes it far easier to involve the whole family in the process.
EG: Tell us about some of the philanthropic work you are doing with schools in Africa.
RS: The best time to invest in sustainable forestry was 20 years ago, but the second best time is TODAY.
EG: How can people get involved right now in the fight against poverty and corruption in Africa?
RS: That depends on what they want to achieve, whether it be fulfilling their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) criteria, or if they look for a CSR program as an “investment” which yields a long-term profit. If the second option is of interest, they can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. EG