Tag Archives: social entrepreneurship

Startups have a chance to share $1 Million in prizes in MassChallenge, world’s largest competition

Image representing MassChallenge as depicted i...

Image via CrunchBase

Last year I had the opportunity to participate as a judge and mentor in the inaugural competition, MassChallenge. This is a serious business competition that has shown it can attract top quality concrete job creating ideas from round the world. Over 450 entries applied and 110 finalists were incubated for 3 months including free office space, introductions to VC, funders, customers and team resources.  Sixteen finalists split $1 Million including $100,000 for the top finisher. Seeding Labs, profiled elsewhere on my blog, won $50,000 as the Social Impact finalist and also was offered free office space for another nine months.

If you have a venture and are looking to make it to the next level I strongly encourage you to apply to the 2011 accelerator. If you have any questions please reach out to the organizers at contact@masschallenge.org or apply online at www.masschallenge.org/enter. Continue reading

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45 Finalists to Raise $200,000 and vie for a slot in this year’s Unreasonable Institute

In 2009 we had the distinct honor of being one of the first locations where the Unreasonable Institute was announced when we had one of its original founders sign up as a judge for the Pitching SE contest at ForSE 2009. Following an incredible launch of this new format for jump-starting  social enterprises in the summer of 2010, the Unreasonable Institute is in the process of selecting the final list of 25 potential attendees for the 2011 summer session. Unreasonable Institute Marketplace

This year there are several candidates that have strong ties to the TIE Social Entrepreneurs Group and ForSE. Some of them are:

  • Zubaida Bai founder of AYZH, who presented her idea at ForSE 2009 in the Pitch contest. AYZH provides appropriately designed health and livelihood products to address rural women’s needs.
  • Sana: Care Anywhere, presented last year at ForSE 2010 on the Technology panel about their mobile platform for delivering healthcare in developing countries
  • EGG Energy also was one of the panelists in our Technology panel last year at ForSE describing their work on providing electricity to  remote Africa by creating a service infrastructure that recharges and supplies batteries to their customers
  • Deepak Ravindran, a fellow in the Startup Leadership Program from TiE Boston and founder of SMSGyan a mobile is also one of the finalists

You can help these and other entrepreneurs by helping them raise the $8000 it costs to attend the Unreasonable Institute.  Continue reading

May these Amazing Social Entrepreneurs inspire you in 2011

As the calendar turns and we enter the second decade of the 21st century, a time to reflect on the past and plan for the future.

Here are some amazing folks who are making a significant impact helping the less fortunate. These are all smaller, younger organizations that are doing great stuff and really making a difference.

Take a look at some of the inspirational videos that highlight their work and their messages. May they inspire you to greater things in 2011.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year and a Terrific 2011.

UbuntuAtWork
Helping women micro-entrepreneurs with a path out of poverty by building sustainable enterprises.

Seeding Labs
Building world class research institutions in developing countries by equipping them with lab equipment and state of the art training.

WaterCentric
Providing clean water, toilets and hygiene education to 10,000 kids in India who do not have access to these basic amenities

United Prosperity
Multiplying your social impact 2X – 5X by guaranteeing a loan to a microfinance entrepreneur. View United Prosperity’s Model of Loan Guarantees.

Prosperity Candle
Investing in enterprising women living in distressed areas of the world to start their own businesses

Dream a Dream
Providing quality education to underserved children and helping them develop critical life skills

Komera
Designing affordable sanitary pads for women in the developing world.

Design that Matters
Creating new products that allow social enterprises in developing countries to offer improved services and scale more quickly.

Project Hip Hop
Providing a space where predominantly young people of color from traditionally low-income communities in Boston can develop and exercise their individual and collective leadership

Microfundo
Supporting independent musicians from developing countries by allowing you to micro-fund their artistic works.
http://www.microfundo.org/video/krakow-kids-club-cha-cha

Young Entrepreneurs Alliance
Helping low-income teens realize their economic potential by taking steps toward financial independence by owning and running viable businesses.

An amazing lineup for ForSE 2010 and there is still time to register!

It is real exciting the see the lineup of speakers that will be at the upcoming ForSE 2010: Forum for Social Entrepreneurs on October 30 at Northeastern University. 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.

 Don’t just take our word for it – see what others are saying about the speakers who will be at ForSE 2010.

  •  Of Prof. Ramesh Raskar and NETRA, his low-cost, cell-phone based, optometry solution, Xconomy.com says, “Camera Culture: Ramesh Raskar, perhaps the Doc Edgerton of the future, dreams of creating “femto” cameras that operate at a trillion frames per second”
  • Seeding Labs’ Nina Dudnik and David Qualter were recent winners of the $50,000 Social Impact prize in the MassChallenge competition for their innovative idea.
  • Seeding Labs CEO Nina Dudnik has been chosen as a 2010 PopTech Social Innovation Fellow and presented at the recent PopTech last week in Maine. “PopTech Social Innovation Fellows are visionary change agents who are incubating high-potential solutions to pressing global challenges.
  • Pradip Sarmah, Ashoka Fellow and Founder of Rickshaw Bank, an NGO that provides micro-finance to Indian rickshaw drivers, invited to participate at MIT D-Labs
  • Jose Gomez-Marquez, another fabulous speaker in the Health track, is named by Smart Planet as “master of invention” in their news piece about his many inventive creations.
  • Dr. Una Ryan and Sam White speakers in the Health and Technology tracks are named as Boston’s Top 15 Innovators by the Boston Globe.

And the ForSE 2010 keynoters are outstanding in their fields:

  • 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.

So what are you waiting for? Register before it is too late at http://www.forumse.org/ Attendance is limited to 250 registrants and it has been consistently sold out in past years.

Seeding Labs, winner of $50K MassChallenge Social Impact Prize to speak at ForSE 2010

Yesterday MassChallenge, the year long business competition, announced the winners of the grand prizes. With over $1 Million in prizes, this has drawn international attention as one of the largest business plan competitions. Starting with a pool of over 450 applicants, the judges winnowed it down to a final list of 111 selected companies that were provided free space for three months and mentoring to help them refine their business ideas and pitches. 26 teams were chosen from these finalists to the final round to make their pitch to a world renowned panel of judges.

The competition was fierce as this was not some college level biz plan competition. Several companies were startups by veteran entrepreneurs. Progressive thinking MassChallenge also included a category for enterprises with significant Social Impact.

Last night Seeding Labs learned that they were the winners of the $50,000 prize for their entry in the social impact category. Seeding Labs mission is to support and expand scientific research in developing countries by providing affordable reclaimed laboratory equipment and facilitating connections within the global scientific research community. Their simple focused approach won over the judges. Seeding Labs has been on a tear having recently been invited to the TED Global conference as a TED Fellow; was awarded the Young Professional Award by the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network; and have been named a PopTech  Social Innovation Fellow.

Seeding Labs is one of the featured speakers in the Technology Track for ForSE 2010: Forum for Social Entrepreneurs to be held on Saturday, October 30 at Northeastern University. For information and to register for ForSE 2010: http://www.forumse.org