Tag Archives: mobile 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

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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 Increasing Focus on the Rural Indian Consumer

I have been in India for the past week and one of the trends I have noticed is the increased focus on the rural market. Perhaps it is the ongoing elections or maybe the global recession, but companies across the board seem to have a renewed emphasis on targeting the rural consumer.

Culling thru the headlines there are a few key facts that seem to stand out: 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