Tag Archives: ecosystem

Another successful year for ForSE 2009

Another successful conference on Social Entrepreneurship was held on October 23rd, this time at Babson College in Boston’s Wellesley suburb. Details on the conference and photos were posted in a local e-magazine, Lokvani.com and are reproduced below for those who could not attend. Continue reading

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World’s largest Business plan competition looks to help social entrepreneurs

To help jumpstart job growth in Massachusetts, a unique public/private partnership, Masschallenge.org, was launched earlier this year. By unveiling what it claims is the world’s largest business plan competition; the folks at MassChallenge are hoping to attract hundreds if not thousands of interested entrepreneurs. While most business plan competitions have been university based in the past, MassChallenge intends to go mainstream with entries accepted from all quarters. With the intent of raising serious money – a target of $25 Million for the first year – it hopes to change the way plans are run by providing the winning teams with $1 million in seed funding. It hopes to run six parallel competitions in the following areas:

  • Healthcare, and Life Sciences
  • IT, Software, and Gaming
  • Clean Technology and Energy
  • Social Development and Non-profit
  • Open Category, Seed Stage
  • Open Category, Expansion Stage

The one on Social Development and Non-profit caught my eye as it is along the lines of what we have been discussing on this blog. As I had said in some of my earlier posts, early stage social innovators sorely need a jumpstart as they face a tougher time raising funds than a for-profit. More importantly, Massachusetts has grown to be a focal point for social innovation attracting the best and brightest to the exciting programs offered in all the leading universities. Coupled with the incentives from MassChallenge and the Massachusetts Government, we have the opportunity to create a new growth cluster in the state. We have an opportunity to retain the top talent attracted to the programs in the area and to channel them to building the next generation of innovative social enterprises here in Boston.

I recently wrote a more detailed article for the MassChallenge.org blog that outlines this and am excerpting it below. Continue reading

Sustainable Business Models for Social Ventures

Panel Description for ForSE 2009

In decades past, many non-profits have achieved only temporary success and limited scale due to dependence on grants and donations. A new breed of ventures has begun innovating revenue models to build greater capacity and sustain operations. These approaches leverage the power of markets to meet social needs. Whether they’re building a socially responsible brand of clothing, providing renewable energy solutions, or bringing banking to the poor, these organizations have discovered the sustainable power of partnering with their customers.

Hear from a panel of innovative organizations that are thinking outside the box in terms of building sustainable models. Click here to register.

Panelists

Moderator

  • Prof Nitin Joglekar, School of Management, Boston University

Equal Exchange – Special In-depth Case Study and solutions brainstorming

Case Presenter: Rodney North, The Answer Man, Equal Exchange

Moderator: Gaurav Rohtagi, Principal, Continuum

Equal Exchange, the Massachusetts-based employee-owned worker co-operative best known for introducing Fair Trade coffee to American grocery stores in that late ‘80s.

Equal Exchange has over 100 employees in 6 states and $35 million in annual revenue. They’ve recently won six different awards for their environmentally and socially responsible business practices including the Social Innovation Award from the Financial Times newspaper and the World’s Most Democratic Workplace award from WorldBlu.

An Investors perspective of Microfinance

Panel Description for ForSE 2009

Over the past years, microfinance has grown increasingly prominent and found its way into the common vernacular. The focus in the past was on innovative new microfinance organizations and their unique models and successes. As microfinance has become increasingly mainstream, major investors have started to take positions in microfinance companies. In this panel, we will explore the investor’s perspective. What are the potential returns and social impacts that investors see in this segment? Do you need to give up market returns for social good? Is there an opportunity for the individual investor or is this for institutions only?

Panelists

Moderator

ForSE 2009 Agenda Details

ForSE 2009: Forum for Social Entrepreneurs promises to continue the tradition of interactive and engaging forums that we have produced in the past.

The opening keynoter is Andre Potter, Executive Director, Massachusetts Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship. After the plenary session the Forum will split into four parallel panels for an in-depth discussion with a panel of practitioners and experts on cutting edge issues in the social sector:

  • Sustainable Business Models for Social Ventures
  • Valuing Social Enterprises
  • Social Media for Social Entrepreneurs
  • An Investors perspective of Microfinance

More details on each of the panels in a subsequent post. Continue reading