Monthly Archives: March 2010

Grameen and Continuum partner to address talent gap in microfinance

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a panel discussion at Continuum, the design consultancy based in Newton, Massachusetts, on “Building Leadership in the Microfinance Sector.” Moderated by Ed Milano from Continuum, the panel consisted of a cross functional team that was studying the issue of talent acquisition and management in the microfinance sector and consisted of Peg Ross, Director of the Human Capital Center at the Grameen Foundation; Lyndon Rego, Director of the Innovation Incubator at the  Center for Creative Leadership; Lynn Pikholz, President of Shorecap Exchange; and Anna Muoio, Principal with the Social Innovation practice at Continuum.

The presentation and discussion centered around some very preliminary findings based on an initial field immersion trip and set the stage for  more detailed field research to be conducted later this year. I have outlined some of the observations that were shared at the meeting and my personal observations and reactions to what I heard. Continue reading

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Launching the Go-To networking event for Social Entrepreneurs in Boston

Last month over 30 people from diverse backgrounds, but with a common interest in supporting organizations making significant social impact, gathered at Tantric India Bistro in Boston for the first monthly meeting jointly hosted by Tantric, TIE Social Entrepreneurs Group and NetSAP Boston. The TIE Social Entrepreneurs Group’s mission is to create a supportive peer-network of thought leaders, entrepreneurs, non-profit and business professionals dedicated to effective social impact. TIE Social Entrepreneurs Group working together with Mary Sen, proprietor of Tantric and a staunch supporter of social causes, and NETSAP, the Network of South Asian Professionals, hopes to make the First Monday of the Month at Tantric as the “Go To” networking venue for people interested in meeting other folks with a similar interest in organizations creating innovative social impact. Continue reading

Help select a winning teen social entrepreneur

Ashoka Youth Venture and Best Buy Children’s Foundation have teamed up to create the @15 Community Impact Challenge. Ashoka is known around the world as the institution that coined the term social entrepreneurship and has been actively supporting social entrepreneurs for nearly 30 years. Ashoka’s Youth Venture works to encourage this spirit of innovation and social entrepreneurship in young people. With Ashoka’s Youth Venture’s support youngsters design and launch their own social ventures to target social issues and challenges.

The Best Buy Children’s Foundation hopes to empower teens at the most critical time of their lives – early adolescence. Its @15 programs provide teens with a platform to affect social change. @15 working together with Ashoka’s Youth Venture has created the Community Impact Challenge. Youth teams from around the nation applied to enter the competition. A set of 15 finalists was chosen based on an assessment of their potential for community impact and a vision of how they would create sustainable change. Continue reading

Akanksha – engaging children in education

Akanksha Classroom

Typical Akanksha Classroom

Last year we had the chance to host Vandana Goyal and Ruchika Gupta from Akanksha when they visited Boston. Over the years we had heard of the wonderful work this NGO had been doing in India and it was great to hear about their plans for expansion when they presented to a small group of interested folks at MIT. When we decided to visit India around December, we made sure that we had set aside some time to visit Akanksha at one of their facilities.    

Twenty years ago, the first Akanksha center opened for children from the slum communities of Mumbai, an innovative after school program designed to provide them with fun, engaging learning opportunities. Founded by Shaheen Mistri at the age of 18, these centers develop children’s English language fluency as well as equip them to go on to college, attain a good job and become change agents in their communities. Today, over 80% of Akanksha children go on to college to begin professional careers compared to only 30% of Indian children who successfully complete the 10th grade.     Continue reading