Tag Archives: microfinance

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.

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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

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

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

ForSE 2008 – Speakers and Panels for conference

We have a terrific line up of speakers and panels for ForSE 2008 on October 10th at Boston University. See the list below. Do make sure you have registered as there are very few seats left.

To register go to: http://www.bu.edu/forse

Click on the ForSE 2008 link.

Opening Plenary Panel 9.00 to 10.45 am

  • Nishith Acharya, Executive Director, Deshpande Foundation.
  • Naveen Jha, Director of Programs, Deshpande Center for Social Entrepreneurship
  • Meenakshi Verma Agrawal, Program Officer, Global Exchange Programs, Deshpande Foundation

Closing Keynote 4.00 to 4.30 pm

  • Keynote Speaker Gerald Chertavian, CEO and Founder, Year Up. Recipient of the 2003 Social Entrepreneurship Award by the Manhattan Institute.


Track Themed Panels from 11.15 to 12.15

Adapting to Climate Change

  • Lynne Carter, Director, Adaptation Network
  • Paul H. Kirshen, Research Professor, Director, Water, Systems, Science and Society, Tufts University
  • Missy Stults, Sr. Program Officer, Northeast, ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives)

Mobile Solutions for the Masses

  • Jhonatan Rotberg, Founder, Director, Next Billion Network
  • Amir Alexander Hasson, CEO, United Villages
  • Barry Vercoe, Professor, MIT & Advisor OLPC (One Laptop Per Child)

Beyond Microfinance: Opportunities for change

  • Chandni Ohri, Regional Director, South Asia, Grameen Foundation
  • Sarita Gupta, Vice President, Women’s World Banking
  • Tanya Palit, Project Manager, Grameen America
  • Dr. Jeffrey Blander, Executive Director, Bienmoyo Foundation, Course Director, Harvard Health Science & Technology Division

Building a Sustainable Food Supply

  • Kristen McCormack, Faculty Director, Public and Nonprofit Management Program, Boston University School of Management
  • Florence Reed, Founder, Sustainable Harvest International
  • Margaret Williams, Executive Director, The Food project

Cultivating a Generation – Engaging Young Entrepreneurs

  • Xing Hu, Youth Venture, Ashoka.org
  • Alvona Cunningham, Education Manager, JA Academy and Scholars Program
  • Clare McCully, Executive Director, National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship

Case Studies 1.00 to 2.30 pm

Environment

  • Case Presenter: Mishi Jaggi and Bob Beauchamp, Nano Decopier, JMD Manufacturing
  • Case discussion moderated by: Peter Russo, Executive-In-Residence/Senior Lecturer, Strategy and Policy Department, Director, Entrepreneurship Programs – ITEC, Boston University School of Management

Mobile Solutions for the Masses

  • Case Presenter: Click Diagnostic
  • Case discussion moderated by: Tilak Subrahmanian

Beyond Microfinance: Opportunities for change

  • Case Presenter: Eric Melin, Founder, Philanthropist.org
  • Case discussion moderated by: Ramesh Advani, Vice President of Finance, India Operations, Fidelity Investments

Building a Sustainable Food Supply

  • Case Presenter: Lydia K. Bergen, Associate Director, Strategy and Outreach, Sustainable Fisheries Initiative, New England Aquarium
  • Case discussion moderated by: Barry Horwitz, Horwitz & Company LLC

Cultivating a Generation – Engaging Young Entrepreneurs

  • Case Presenter: Julie Nessen, Co-founder & Executive Director, Young Entrepreneurs Alliance
  • Case discussion moderated by: Paul McManus, Director International Programs, ITEC, Boston University

Sustainable Ventures for non-profits

  • Case Presenter: Roger Wellington, Director, Abundant Table Enterprises & Susan Miskell, Business Operations Manager, Abundant Table Enterprises
  • Case Discussion moderator to be finalized

Track Themed Panels from 2.45 to 3.45 pm

Mobile Solutions for the Masses

  • David Reich, Founder & CEO, Assured Labor
  • Vishwanath Anantraman, Co-Founder, Dimagi

Cultivating a Generation – Engaging Young Entrepreneurs

  • Barton Kunstler, Author, The Hothouse Effect
  • Preeta Banerjee, Assistant Professor of Strategy, International Business School, Brandeis University
  • Joshua Schuler, Executive Director, Lemelson-MIT Program, MIT

Sustainable Ventures for non-profits

  • Tim Prestero, Founder and CEO, Design Than Matters
  • Alex Chisholm, Executive Director and Founder, Learning Games Network
  • Therese Ellis, CEO, Common Impact
  • Andrew Motta, Operations Director, Artists For Humanity


Workshops – from 2.45 to 3.45 pm

Careers in Social Entrepreneurship

  • Presented by Marty Rod, Director of Entrepreneur Outreach, Ashoka

Marketing for Social Entrepreneurs

  • Presented by Beverly Schwartz, Vice President and Director of Global Marketing, Ashoka

Strategic Philanthropy: Implications of Recent Trends

  • Presented by Anne Radday, Philanthropy Researcher, Social Innovation Forum