Tag Archives: Social Ecosystem

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.

Valuing Social Enterprises

Panel Description for ForSE 2009

As a number of young entrepreneurs launch their social enterprises, one of the areas they all struggle with is attracting socially conscious investors. A challenge for all is how to evaluate a social focused business on metrics other than strict return on investment. A number of innovative organizations have tackled this problem from different perspectives, developing alternate metrics, scorecards and criteria that weigh the benefits from an investment beyond cold dollars and cents. The panelists, all significant actors in this arena, either invest or provide access to social investors and will highlight several interesting approaches that funders use in evaluating social investments.

Panelists

Moderator

  • Prof. John Whitman, Professor, Babson College

Register for ForSE 2009 before rates go up!

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.’’

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