Category Archives: Information Technology

Assured Labor – creating a mobile marketplace for jobs in emerging markets

In the fall of 2007, a group of young potential entrepreneurs attending the course on Development Entrepreneurship at MIT struggled with a problem facing over half the developing world. As developing economies grew and provided new jobs, the infrastructure to communicate and broadcast the potential opportunities for employment was unable to keep up. The influx of migrant workers into urbanized centers provided a rich pool of available talent but the mechanisms for disseminating job needs were still rooted in the 19th century. Print advertising and, in extreme cases, roving cars with loudspeakers, were used in a scattershot manner hoping to attract potential candidates to interview for jobs. Online advertising wasn’t an option in most developing countries where internet connectivity was sporadic. The transient nature of most migrant and casual laborers made getting to the target audience even more difficult. Continue reading

Advertisements

Social Media for Social Entrepreneurs

Panel Description for ForSE 2009

One of the most popular panels in the past and one that promises to be very interesting at ForSE 2009, is on Social Media for Social Entrepreneurs.  With Twitter and Facebook revolutionizing the business of marketing, can social activists lag behind? Successful grassroots efforts have helped spread the word to thousands, even millions. But the devil is in the details. How does one turn followers into funders? Motivate movements with your messages? And leverage social networks to create social change?

The experts on this panel have shown others how to maximize their impact with the latest online tools and techniques and they will help you figure out the right approach to integrating social media within your strategies.

Panelists

  • John Haydon, Social Media Consultant @johnhaydon
  • Dan Croak, Thoughtbot @croaky
  • Tushneem Dharmagadda, Director, US Operations India School Fund @tushneem

Moderator

  • Kate Brodock, Founder & Principal, The Other Side Group @just_kate

You can prepare for this panel by reading a thoughtful piece by one of the panelists, Tushneem Dharmagadda, on his blog that describes four tips for Social Entrepreneurs to leverage Social Media. For more advice and great posts on social media strategies, check out @johnhaydon and @just_kate blogs.

Finally the afternoon will include a real live interactive case study highlighting the challenges Lokvani.com, a South Asian community portal and e-magazine with over 40,000 subscribers, faces as it tries to integrate the new media tools into its online strategy. Join Lokvani team members and the content experts to help brainstorm ideas for solving Lokvani’s challenges.  The session will be moderated by Kimi Ceridon (@kalepatech), Founder of Kalepa Tech, a design firm with deep social impact experience.

Using cell phones to change the world

Jhonatan Rotberg, was sent to MIT by Telmex, one of Latin America’s largest telcos, and teaches NextLab where he tries to bring cellular technology to the other 90 percent of the world. One of the labs startups, CelEdu, offers cellphone-based games and quizzes to teach basic literacy skills in India. Ranjani Saigal from the TIE Social Entrepreneurs Group helped connect CelEdu students to Tara Aakshar. You can see some of their work in progress at the CelEdu site


A great article in the Boston Globe highlights the many ideas that have spun out of this lab. Some excerpts below – click here for the entire article.

In NextLab, Rotberg challenged students by asking, “Can you make a cellphone change the world?’’ And students have responded, creating nearly two dozen projects and three start-up ventures that have been working with communities in developing countries like India, Vietnam, and Mexico.

Dinube, a NextLab spinoff that was tested in Mexico last summer, provides payment services to people who don’t have access to traditional banks. “One of the powerful things about cellphones in Mexico is that there is a 75 percent penetration rate,’’ said Jonathan Hayes, a cofounder of Dinube. “But only 25 percent of the population has a bank account. So a cellphone-based system can fill a huge, important gap.’’

TIECON Social Enterprise Track Provides New Perspective

For the first time TIECON EAST – TiE Boston’s annual conference on entrepreneurship and innovation – had a dedicated track on Social Enterprise. The three panels in the track – ‘Healthcare Innovation in a Global Village’, ‘IT & Communications for the Developing World’ and ‘Feeding 9 Billion people’ – were all well attended and engaged the attentive audience with the incisive discussions. Here are some excerpts from an article I wrote for Lokvani about the sessions. Continue reading

The Blue Sweater a book by Acumen Fund founder Jacqueline Novogratz

I had gotten a copy of Acumen Fund founder, Jacqueline Novogratz’s, book “The Blue Sweater” a couple of months ago and had kept promising myself that I would read it. Finally as I was leaving on a short trip to India, I threw it in my bag hoping to get to it during my visit. As the long 15 plus hour trip from Newark to Bombay stretched before me, I settled myself in as best as I could and opened the book expecting to read a few pages and then sleep as much as possible for the rest of the flight.

Once I started reading I was hooked. Before I knew it I had plowed through the entire volume. This is an extraordinary and powerful book. My personal interest in social entrepreneurship, particularly in solving issues in the developing world, had led me to peruse many books in the field – from the seminal one by David Bornstein to Jeff Sachs and Prof. Yunus. Each provided a perspective on development with solutions and suggestions. Yet somehow this book was different. Continue reading