Tag Archives: internet

ForSE 2008 signups off to a great start

We finally opened registration for ForSE 2008:Forum for Social Entrepreneurs on Wednesday, September 10th. The response has been terrific!! We had over 60 people register within 48 hours. This is shaping up to be a great gathering of like minded people interested in social entrepreneurship.

Last year we had hoped to have 150 attendees, instead over 250 signed up and we had to shut down registration. At the rate we are going, it looks like we will quickly reach the registration limit for this year’s Forum also.

We have tried to keep ForSE very affordable for our attendees, many of whom are students or starting non-profits and social entrepreneurs. The registration fee for attendees is nominal ($20 for students /$35 for affiliates of BU and TIE /$/75 for all others) for a full day conference including meals. However these discounted fees will only be available for the first 180 registrants. If you are interested in attending I would encourage you to register soon. The fees will go up substantially after we have 180 attendees signed up.

To help encourage dialog and discussion among the conference attendees and to build a community around social entrepreneurship, we have added an interesting attendee email feature on our conference website. Registrants who opt in are listed on the “Participants page“. Attendees can contact others thru a blind email system to discuss issues, tracks themes or other conference topics prior to and after the conference. At no point is your email displayed to others on the website. When someone contacts you, the system forwards you their message with their email contact and it is up to you to choose to respond to the message. We hope this gets people talking to each other before we meet.

Registration Opens for ForSE 2008-Forum for Social Entrepreneurs

In 2007, I helped found an annual conference on Social Entrepreneurship in partnership with Boston University and the Deshpande Foundation called the Forum for Social Entrepreneurship or ForSE for short. ForSE brings together social innovators with leading business professionals, investors, donors, government officials, academics, and students to facilitate the sharing of new technology and business ideas along with hard-earned management learnings to foster informed discussion and action on new social venture concepts. Continue reading

OLPC India Tidbits

For those who are tracking the progress of OLPC in India, here are few tidbits gleaned from the web: A fairly in-depth description of the OLPC pilot and a recent update on Nick Negroponte’s visit to Mumbai in August.

Here are some interesting photos from the wiki of thier initial pilot in Khairat village, in Raigadh district, Maharashtra. It is on the OLPC wiki and makes for interesting reading.

One room school house at Khairat (from OLPC wiki)

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BusinessWeek – One Laptop per Child Lands in India

A  BusinessWeek article mentions that the MIT-spawned OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) project has finally penetrated India with a tie up with the mega-corporation Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG). This is after several failed attempts by Nicholas Negroponte, godfather of OLPC, to establish a beachhead in India. Previous negative comments from the Indian political establishment about his efforts include:

In 2001 Information Technology Minister Arun Shourie dismissed his [Negroponte’s Media Lab] efforts as “pedagogically suspect” and wanted more accountability.

… in 2006, his project was again rebuffed by India’s then-Education Secretary, Sudeep Banerjee

“Our primary school children need reading and writing habits, not expensive laptops,” says Arun Kumar Rath, India’s Education Secretary.

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Innovative bus technologies go green

Looking for a quick and inexpensive way to make a short day trip to New York, I came across a couple of new bus services from Boston – Megabus and BoltBus – both offering free internet connectivity on the ride down. Always a sucker for technology, I chose to take the Megabus to NYC. The ride was surprisingly pleasant, on-time with clean new buses and continuous Wifi enabled internet access throughout as advertised.

Curious, I decided to find out more about the company and the technology. Looks like the buses are most likely equipped with Moovera Mobile broadband gateways. They connect to a 3G network on one side and provide Wifi coverage in the bus on the other side. An additional benefit is the availability of real time GPS tracking of the vehicle, plus Ethernet based connectivity for on board instrumentation and telematic applications. It all sounded very cool and hi tech for a bus company. I think the new Wifi bus services between Boston and NYC are attracting a younger hipper traveler as evidenced by my co-passengers on the trip.

Digging further I found that Megabus is a subsidiary of a UK based corporation, the Stagecoach Group.  The company seems to be an innovator in the area bringing inexpensive modes of mass transportation to market, encouraging more commuters to take their buses, trains and hovercraft and reducing carbon as a result.

In addition the company has also introduced a number of innovative environmental initiatives. In the past they have been one of the first companies in UK to introduce biofuel buses. An interesting program that they have implemented gives passengers a discount in exchange for their used cooking oil. Argent Energy, which operates the UK’s first large-scale biodiesel plant, is supplying all the biodiesel. In April they introduced a carbon neutral bus service in Scotland where they are looking to offset their emissions in partnership with a Scottish charity Global Trees

One hopes they will try to replicate their biofuel model in the US.