Category Archives: Micro-enterprises

Jacqueline Novogratz – Legatum Lecture at MIT

We are a connected world said Jacqueline as she described the story of her blue sweater, also the title of her recently published book. Once discarded by her at Goodwill, it turned up 25 years later in Rwanda where she found it on a boy in the countryside.

Speaking at the Legatum Center’s Lecture series at MIT, she described the innovative work of Acumen fund and how it helps build social solutions through its venture philanthropy.

She prefaced her talk by some of her observations from her work helping to build enterprises around the world that she undertook since her time in Rwanda.

  • Dignity is more important than wealth for the human spirit.
  • Traditional models of charity won’t solve problems of poverty.
  • Markets can’t solve poverty. 100 Million people went back into poverty last year and that is what happens when you only rely on market forces to solve these problems.
  • What is needed is patient capital that will address these problems

Continue reading

Interview on Social Entrepreneurship

I was recently interviewed by New England’s largest e-magazine for South Asians, lokvani.com about my views on social entrepreneurship. You can find the full interview at their site here.

“The passage of the Edward Kennedy Serve America Act this week marks the coming of age of Social Entrepreneurship (SE)” says Raj Melville, who is one of the co-founders of the TIE-SE SIG. He talked to Lokvani about this concept which combines for-profit and non-profit work by entrepreneurs to address a social issue in a sustainable and scalable manner. It has now become the new buzz word. (from Lokvani.com)

HBS SE Conference Keynote by Linda Rottenberg of Endeavor

The opening keynote to the 10th annual HBS Social Enterprise Conference was a truly inspirational presentation by Linda Rottenberg from Endeavor, Inc.  Endeavor helps mentor and grow entrepreneurs in developing countries. It has screened over 18000 candidates and selected 400 entrepreneurs, who have generated over 86,000 jobs and $2.5 billion in revenue.

Linda traced the arc of social entrepreneurship as it accelerated over the past decade from an idea to formally becoming a key movement. Here are some of my notes from the session.

She pointed out that the long path was facilitated with three key developments.

  • When Bono became the symbol for AIDS in Africa with his RED Campaign, he made social activism cool
  • When Prof Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel Peace prize, he instantly became the visible leader from within the field.
  • When Bill Gates went beyond establishing his foundation and stepped down from Microsoft to focus exclusively on his philanthropic work and presented his vision of Creative Capitalism, he made social entrepreneurship mainstream.

It is clear that government cannot solve all social problems. Businesses on the other hand are not always there to fill in the gaps. This is where social entrepreneurs come in. Continue reading

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

Forum for Social Entrepreneurs: ForSE 2008

In 2007, I helped found an annual conference on Social Entrepreneurship in partnership with Boston University called the Forum for Social Entrepreneurship or ForSE for short.

We founded the Forum for Social Entrepreneurs (ForSE):

  • To bring 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.

We feel no place is better suited to host such a conference than Boston. Boston is a center for a new breed of social entrepreneur. It is home to nearly a fifth of the Fast Company Social Capitalist awardees as well as dozens of pioneering social enterprise investors. Continue reading