Category Archives: Micro-enterprises

May these Amazing Social Entrepreneurs inspire you in 2011

As the calendar turns and we enter the second decade of the 21st century, a time to reflect on the past and plan for the future.

Here are some amazing folks who are making a significant impact helping the less fortunate. These are all smaller, younger organizations that are doing great stuff and really making a difference.

Take a look at some of the inspirational videos that highlight their work and their messages. May they inspire you to greater things in 2011.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year and a Terrific 2011.

UbuntuAtWork
Helping women micro-entrepreneurs with a path out of poverty by building sustainable enterprises.

Seeding Labs
Building world class research institutions in developing countries by equipping them with lab equipment and state of the art training.

WaterCentric
Providing clean water, toilets and hygiene education to 10,000 kids in India who do not have access to these basic amenities

United Prosperity
Multiplying your social impact 2X – 5X by guaranteeing a loan to a microfinance entrepreneur. View United Prosperity’s Model of Loan Guarantees.

Prosperity Candle
Investing in enterprising women living in distressed areas of the world to start their own businesses

Dream a Dream
Providing quality education to underserved children and helping them develop critical life skills

Komera
Designing affordable sanitary pads for women in the developing world.

Design that Matters
Creating new products that allow social enterprises in developing countries to offer improved services and scale more quickly.

Project Hip Hop
Providing a space where predominantly young people of color from traditionally low-income communities in Boston can develop and exercise their individual and collective leadership

Microfundo
Supporting independent musicians from developing countries by allowing you to micro-fund their artistic works.
http://www.microfundo.org/video/krakow-kids-club-cha-cha

Young Entrepreneurs Alliance
Helping low-income teens realize their economic potential by taking steps toward financial independence by owning and running viable businesses.

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ForSE 2009: Forum for Social Entrepreneurs on Oct 23 at Babson College

Once again we are holding our annual conference on Social Entrepreneurship – ForSE 2009: Forum for Social Entrepreneurs on Friday October 23. This time we are working together with Babson College’s Net Impact Undergrad organization to host it at Olin Hall on Babson College’s lovely Wellesley campus.

We also have a number of interesting panels and speakers and, for the first time, a Pitch contest that will allow emerging social entrepreneurs to wow a panel of seasoned judges.

The forum brings together social innovators, leading business professionals, investors, donors, academics, and students to help share new technology and business ideas that have significant social impact.

If you are interested in meeting emerging social entrepreneurs, hearing of innovative ideas for social impact and supporting young innovators as they launch their concepts, this is the event to attend. If you are an aspiring social entrepreneur, this is your chance to pitch your idea at the pitch contest and to wow a panel of seasoned judges.

This years keynoters will include Pamela Hawley who was a co-founder of Volunteer Match, one of the earliest online volunteer matching sites, and who later founded and currently runs UniveralGiving.org, an online site that channels donations and volunteer hours to non-profits around the world; Leonard Schlesinger, President of Babson College, one of the leaders in entrepreneurship; Andre Porter, Executive Director of Massachusetts’ Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship; and Carol Cone, Founder and Chairperson of Cone LLC, an innovator in Cause Branding and CSR programs for corporations.

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 only until October 19th.

I urge you to sign up as soon as possible as the past two years we sold out days before the event and many were disappointed. We try to make the event as interactive and intimate as possible and keep total attendance capped to 250. If you are interested in attending I would encourage you to register soon. The fees will go up substantially after October 19th.

Click here for more info and to register.

A conversation on Microfinance

Couple of months ago we had the privilege to host Mr. N. Srinivasan in Boston. Mr. Srinivasan is the author of the ‘Microfinance in India: State of the Sector Report 2008’. He also capped off his 25 year career at National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) as Chief General Manager for his last 6 years.

Over an informal dinner with a number of interested locals, Mr. Srinivasan spoke extensively about the issues facing the current crop of Microfinance institutions (MFIs) in India. The recent focus on MFIs after Prof. Yunus got his Nobel Prize has increased the visibility for these institutions and has also accelerated the flow of funds to this sector creating almost another bubble.  From Boston, Mr. Srinivasan went to the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area where he met with Bhalchander (Bala) Vishwanath, who is himself a budding online micro lending entrepreneur. Continue reading

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

How to multiply your social impact 2X to 6X

In 2005 Kiva launched a website that allowed individuals to provide small loans to needy entrepreneurs around the world. The money was directed through microfinance institutions (MFIs) to their customers. When the site launched it had only 7 businesses in Uganda. Then their story got picked up by the Daily Kos and donations started flooding their site. With all the subsequent publicity Kiva was unable to line up beneficiaries fast enough to keep up with the donations coming in and for a while had to put a hold on its site.

Fast forward to 2008, Bala Vishwanath, an alum of top Indian tech and management schools – IIT and IIM – saw an opportunity to unstick the Kiva bottleneck and to multiply the social impact of every dollar. He quit his job and worked to setup www.UnitedProsperity.org United Prosperity helps provide loan guarantees that enable poor entrepreneurs to borrow from Microfinance Institutions to build their enterprises in developing countries. Continue reading