As we tick down another year and look back at all the milestones of the past year and plan for the next, it is time to also consider some of the wonderful organizations that are making an impact around the world.
Here is my list of a dozen that are making a difference in no particular order. Most of them are young organizations that are just getting started and an opportunity for you to get involved and help them on their way.
Greentown Labs http://greentownlabs.org/ An incubator for clean technology ventures that allows entrepreneurs to get down and dirty constructing their next generation green machines. Setup as a nonprofit and collaborative, Greentown provides a unique location for startups that need to build stuff.
Sol Solution http://www.sol-solution.org/ A nonprofit that helps underprivileged schools to save on expenses by installing solar solutions to offset their electricity expenses.
Social Capital http://www.socialcapitalinc.org/ Social Capital inc has worked over the past 10 years to strengthen communities by connecting diverse individuals, neighbors and organizations and bringing them together through civic initiatives
ABAN http://www.aban.org/ Is a young organization that I came across during a visit to University of North Carolina that was started by a team of passionate students that works with the street girls of Accra to help them learn a trade, make a living, and secure a future as well as helping them transform their city into a healthier environment.
Space with a soul http://www.spacewithasoul.org/ is another innovative nonprofit that provides shared office space and services to nonprofits. A great landing place for emerging nonprofits as they get started.
Peace First http://www.peacefirst.org/site/ Peacefirst works to build a safe and productive environment at schools by teaching students the skills of conflict resolution and civic engagement.
Samarthanam http://www.samarthanam.org/ Samarthanam is a nonprofit registered in India and the US that provides quality education, accommodation, nutritious food, vocational training to help empower the visually impaired, disabled and underprivileged in India. It runs a free middle school for underprivileged youth including the visually handicapped.
Merrimack Valley Sandbox http://www.uml.edu/mvsandbox/default.html Launched in 2010 November by the Deshpande Foundation, the Merrimack Valley Sandbox works with students in the Lowell/Lawrence area through partnerships with colleges and community organizations to build leadership and entrepreneurship within the Merrimack Valley.
LifeCity http://mylifecity.com/ LifeCity helps encourage green businesses in Louisiana through its membership organization where customers get discounts to green businesses and products and green businesses certified by LifeCity get greater visibility and support from LifeCity members.
Peacetones http://peacetones.org Peacetones supports talented, unknown artists from developing nations build their careers while giving back to their communities.
Vision Aid http://visionaid.org/ VisionAid works to help people with visually related disabilities in underserved areas to lead a life of independence and dignity.
Ummeed http://ummeed.org/ is a nonprofit that works with children with developmental disabilities in Mumbai and is one of the few that helps bring professional support to this segment of society in India.
For the fourth year, TIE Social Entrepreneurs Group together with Northeastern University’s Social Enterprise Institute and the Netimpact Undergrad organization will be hosting ForSE 2010: Forum for Social Entrepreneurs. ForSE 2010 brings together social innovators, leading business professionals, investors, donors, government officials, academics, and students to share new technology and business ideas with the potential for significant social impact.
We have a terrific line up of keynote speakers and panelists this year including
Prof. Kasturi Rangan, who is co-chair of Harvard’s Social Enterprise Initiative and Malcolm P. McNair Professor of Marketing
Gianfranco Zaccai, co-founder, Chairman, President and Chief Design Officer of Continuum, a design consultancy that has delivered significant designs for social impact globally.
We are excited to note that two of our invited panelists – Dr. Una Ryan and Sam White – were subsequently listed as one of Boston’s top 15 Innovators by the Boston Globe. Also participating are Pradip Sarmah, Ashoka Fellow and founder of the Rickshaw Bank; Josh Biber, Executive Driector, Teach for America; Brian Milder, Managing Director, Root Capital; and many others. Four tracks on Health, Sustainability, Technology and Education promise engaging conversations with committed leaders delivering significant social impact. An Unconference session after the panels, allow you to continue the conversation with the panelists in a more informal setting.
And if you know of promising social entrepreneurs, this year we have our second Pitch contest where they can refine their pitch, test their ideas and wow a panel of seasoned judges. Click here for info on the Pitch Contest.
Sign up soon as we have limited attendance to 250 registrants and we have consistently sold out in past years. More details of ForSE 2010 at the website at: http://www.forumse.org You can register at the TIE Boston site.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to volunteer with a group at the Greater Boston Food Bank. After spending some time on the production line, and given the past weekend celebrating Martin Luther King, the group was asked to reflect on what Martin Luther King might have done in light of what we had seen and experienced, at the Greater Boston Food Bank as well as the larger set of social issues that we are exposed to in our daily lives. Continue reading →
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 →
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.