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Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 aug 2019

Social enterprises tackle societal and environmental issues utilizing business concepts for the larger interest of the society and reinvest profits back to sustain themselves. They support in building inclusive economy. According to the most recent statistics, there are around 5600 social enterprises in Scotland with an economic contribution of around £2 billion, ranging from community co-operatives to housing associations, enterprising charities and more. Duncan Thorp, policy and communications manager at Social Enterprise Scotland, explains how social enterprises are contributing to Scotland's economy and advocates collaborations between them and private sector for greater economic and social benefits. He explains why engaging social enterprises with private sector is win-win - 'Firstly, social failure is bad for business. Unemployment, homelessness, drug addiction and other issues negatively impact on businesses. People without work and opportunity don't have money to spend on goods and services. Social enterprises work at the frontline to solve these social problems. Private sector businesses should also engage with social enterprises because they bring real benefit in terms of opening up new markets and new business opportunities. Joint bids for public contracts and similar partnership working are options too. Businesses can contract social enterprises into their supply chains. This could be a catering contract, graphic design, meeting space hire or something else. It's also about private sector employees volunteering in social enterprises, in a skills exchange, for learning and personal development.' He advocates three key areas of partnership work - consumer demand, supply chains and contracting and procurement. He suggests that building mutually beneficial relationships between social enterprises and private sector businesses paves the way for knowledge exchange, positively influencing business culture and build an economy that benefits all. Read on...

The Scotsman: Social enterprise is good for business - Duncan Thorp
Author: Duncan Thorp


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 jun 2019

According to 'Annual Status of Education Report (Aser) 2017' by nonprofit Pratham, about 42% of rural youth between the ages of 14 and 18 were employed in January 2018, despite going to school. Among these, 79% were working in agriculture, while at the same time only 1.2% of the youth surveyed wanted to become farmers. India's rural population residing in about 600000 villages has not benefited substantially from economic growth and opportunities are limited, resulting in large migration of youth to urban areas in search for greener pastures. But, they are not well equipped in terms of education and skills, to compete in a challenging urban environment to avail better opportunities and respectable lifestyle. Education, coupled with skill development, is the key to bring them at par with their urban counterparts. Ashweetha Shetty, founder of Bodhi Tree Foundation, is trying to bridge this rural-urban divide by building confidence and self-esteem among young people living in rural areas. Explaining the work of her nonprofit, Ms. Shetty says, 'Our foundation works with rural youth between the ages of 17 and 23. We help them build life skills and enlighten them about opportunities. We achieve all this through intervention at our village centers. We have a residential program for girls, and we also work with district administrations on initiatives, particularly those which concern the children of sanitation workers. Most of the rural youth we help are usually first generation college goers. Bodhi Tree helps them to think about their future. These young kids have many inferiority complexes, and there is an information gap. We are trying to bridge that through our organization.' Regarding the life skills that her organization is trying to build, she says, 'We do self-development, self-awareness workshops, and provide exposure to opportunities - we help the children to discover what they want to do in life and understand their strengths and weaknesses. We enable them to develop themselves through public speaking and other skills. We also conduct workshops on resumé writing to help them achieve their goal.' Differentiating her nonprofit from skill building organizations, she says, 'Bodhi Tree is completely different from skill building organizations. We don't want to build a skill in someone and send the message that it's the only thing they can do. Skill building programs have no progression, no scope for dreaming. I feel it robs opportunities from the children. Children should have access to government jobs, schemes, internships - they should have knowledge and know what to do with it. I think that's the difference between us and skill building initiatives. Maybe our model is not working that well because we are not focused on one skill, but I think this is a conscious choice we have made where we don't tell people about what skills they can inculcate. Rather, we tell them what kind of dreams you should have, we make people realize their potential. For us, the immediate impact is more like standing up for yourself and going to college.' Read on...

Fair Observer: Helping India's Rural Youth Unlock Their Potential
Authors: Ankita Mukhopadhyay, Ashweetha Shetty


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 apr 2019

Gen Z is one of the most connected and socially aware generations to enter the workforce. But for the progress of businesses and society in the right direction, experienced leaders need to encourage young people to pursue social entrepreneurship. Seven members of Forbes Nonprofit Council provide following suggestions - (1) Rupert Scofield, FINCA International: Educate Youth About Market-Based Solutions. (2) Geetha Murali, Room to Read: Celebrate Social Impact Companies. (3) Tom Van Winkle, Hinsdale Humane Society: Befriend Socially Responsible Organizations. (4) Kimberly Lewis, Goodwill Industries of East Texas, Inc: Show Impact In Real Ways. (5) Gloria Horsley, Open to Hope: Describe The Value On Their Terms. (6) Steven Moore, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust: Invest In Communities That Bring Entrepreneurs Together. (7) Kila Englebrook, Social Enterprise Alliance: Leverage Media And Entertainment. Read on...

Forbes: Seven Ways To Encourage Gen Z Professionals To Pursue Social Entrepreneurship
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 15 jan 2019

According to the recent report published by the British Council and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), 'Developing an Inclusive and Creative Economy: The state of social enterprise in Indonesia', millenials are leading a surge in the creation of business that are working to create positive social and environmental impact. More than 70% of a surveyed sample group mentions that the social enterprises started in the last two years and about 50% of the social entrepreneurs are aged between 25 and 34 years. The reports estimates that there are more than 342000 social enterprises in the region. In Indonesia more than 1/5th of social enterprises work in the creative industries, contrary to other countries in Aisa-Pacific region, such as the Philippines, Sri Lanka and India, where agriculture, education and health dominate. Ari Susanti, a senior program manager for the British Council in Indonesia, says, 'Many young people want to work in an area where they can make change, not just earn a salary.' According to the World Bank, Indonesia is an emerging middle-income country that, over the last 20 years, has seen growth in GDP at the same time as poverty has been cut in half. These conditions are enabling the growth of social enterprises. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, executive secretary of UNESCAP, says, 'UN body would support the development of social enterprise as a key means of building an inclusive and creative economy. Social enterprise is an opportunity for Indonesia...This report provides a solid evidence base to inform future policies and strategies.' These social enterprises mainly support and benefit local communities, women and young people. Moreover, they have also become a substantial source of employment - the number of full-time workers employed by social enterprises increased by 42% from 2016 to 2017. The rise in social enterprises is also proving good for gender equality - the social enterprise workforce is estimated to be made up of 69% women and is responsible for a 99% increase of full-time female employees in 2016-17. Government, corporations and universities have all come together to offer their support to social enterprises. Bambang P. S. Brodjonegoro, economist and the Minister of National Development Planning of Indonesia, wrote in the introduction of the report, 'The government aims to be an active partner of social entrepreneurs and is committed to continue building and nurturing the social entrepreneurship ecosystem.' Read on...

Pioneers Post: Millennials lead social enterprise surge in Indonesia
Author: Lee Mannion


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 oct 2018

Recent passing away of Microsoft's co-founder Paul Allen (b.21 jan 1953 - d.15 oct 2018) brings to the forefront his contributions, not only to technology and entrepreneurship, but also to education, arts, culture etc as part of his philanthropy. After leaving Microsoft's management in 1983, his philanthropic activities focused on the city of Seattle (US), his hometown. He endowed a separate school for computer science and engineering at the University of Washington. His investments in Seattle's South Lake Union locality has recast the city as an increasingly popular destination for young technologists. Some of his cherished contributions to the city's scene and skyline include artistic and athletic monuments to which he devoted a substantial portion of his wealth. He commissioned Frank Gehry to design a pop-culture museum. He also developed a children's center at the Seattle Public Library, funded an off-campus studio for the beloved public-radio station KEXP, and established a military-history museum outside the city. He was an ardent advocate of environmental protection, computational bioscience, and space exploration, donating millions of dollars to regional nonprofits. He invested in sports and acquired Seattle Seahawks at the time the team was planning to leave the city. In his memoir, 'Idea Man' (2011), responding to criticism that his philanthropy lacked focus, he wrote, 'At times, I cast my net too widely. But my choice of ventures wasn't arbitrary.' In 2000, the chairman of the architecture department at the University of Washington likened him to a modern Medici (an influential banking and political family of Florence, Italy). His contributions to entrepreneurship and technology are public knowledge. He recounted in his memoir regarding the initial mission of his venture with Bill Gates was, 'A computer on every desk and in every home.' Mr. Gates recently wrote, 'Paul foresaw that computers would change the world.' He influenced the technological innovations like point-and-click computing, word processing, and multi-button mouse. Mr. Allen attributed his entrepreneurial ambition and imagination to a wide-ranging autodidacticism and a natural passion for art and literature. Even though a technologist and part of a cut-throat and highly competitive industry, he understood that the products he designed were complements to preexisting lives, all of them rich and varied. He wrote in his memoir, 'That's a core element of my management philosophy. Find the best people and give them room to operate, as long as they can accept my periodic high-intensity kibitzing.' Read on...

The New Yorker: The Rare Humanism Behind Paul Allen's Technological Vision
Author: Eren Orbey


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 sep 2018

People with business education and experience are now getting inclined towards social enterpreneurship and enterprises. They are realizing that business skills and expertise can be utilized to provide solutions to society's challenges. Prof. Patrick Adriel H. Aure of De La Salle University (Philippines) explains the importance of encouraging social entrepreneurship among business students and shares research and programs that he conducts at the university. The program, Lasallian Social Enterprise for Economic Development (LSEED), involves incubating student-led social enterprises that partner with marginalized local communities, while Social Enterprise Research Network (SERN) undertakes research and advocacy activities. Regarding one of the research conducted in relation to business students and social enterprises, Prof. Aure says, 'Our statistical analysis suggested there are two factors that consistently influence business students' intention to engage in social entrepreneurial activities - (1) Their perceived support from friends, family, and other organizations. (2) Their prior experience in socially-oriented activities such as volunteering.' Research findings suggest - Design social enterprise advocacy campaigns to target group participation and not encourage students individually; Schools may want to consider creating a pipeline of activities that enrich students' socially-oriented experiences. Read on...

The Manila Times: Encouraging social entrepreneurship among business students
Author: Patrick Adriel H. Aure


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 jun 2018

Food waste is a global concern and innovative solutions are needed to overcome it. Recent data from National Resources Defense Council found that the average American throws out 400 pounds of food a year, meaning that up to 40% of food grown on the farm bypasses the fork and ends up in a landfill. Globally, impact of food waste can be seen in terms of lost resources, wasted water (70% of fresh water is consumed in agriculture), increased levels of climate-change-producing gases, and diverted food that could contribute to alleviating hunger. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) - It is estimated that annually over 60 trillion gallons of water are used to grow food that is ultimately wasted; Roughly 1/3 of the food produced for human consumption every year - approximately 1.3 billion tons - gets lost or wasted, representing nearly US$1 trillion. The cost of producing, harvesting, transporting, and disposing of this food isn't just financial - food waste accounts for about 8% of global climate pollution, more than the nations of India or Russia. According to one report, food waste throughout the US accounts for more than 60 million tons of waste, which translates into US$ 160 billion of produce and, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), represents over 21% of all waste in landfills. Adequate government policy alongwith solutions from for-profit and nonprofit sectors can successfully tackle this challenge. Sherri Welch, writing in Crain's Detroit, highlights two food-box subscription companies that sell produce and other food that retailers won't touch in the Detroit market. One is the Baltimore-based Hungry Harvest; the other is Toronto-based Flash Food. They are both for-profit companies. Denver's We Don't Waste is a nonprofit working on similar lines. Other nonprofits are working with hunger relief organizations and give their customers the option to buy a box of imperfect produce and donate it to a family in need. Phillip Knight, executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan, says, 'At this point, I think we are all working together to feed hungry neighbors, reduce waste and lessen the impact on the environment.' Other solutions include processing food waste as bioenergy. In the Pacific Northwest, Impact Bioenergy develops and manufactures bioenergy products that allow communities and commercial food waste generators to lessen their environmental footprint and conserve local soil resources while also reducing their waste disposal and energy costs. Policy approaches can also play an important role to shift the amount of food entering the waste stream. A May 2017 paper published by Harvard Law School's Food Law and Policy Clinic looks at the 2018 Farm Bill as a portal for changing the national conversation on food waste by integrating strategies and initiatives to support diversion efforts. Policy is a major focus on ReFed, one of the nation's leading nonprofits dedicated to addressing food waste. One of their initiatives in partnership with the Food Law and Policy Clinic is the US Food Waste Policy Finder, a tool that provides research on current food waste policy. Another promising approach is to incorporate the reuse of food that has been rejected by the conventional market into social enterprises. DC Central Kitchen is a job-training catering social enterprise that buys food seconds from farmers and uses that produce in the meals it serves to students in schools and catering event guests, even as the nonprofit also addresses the cycle of hunger. According to ReFed's 'Roadmap to Reduce US Food Waste by 20 Percent', an estimated 15000 permanent jobs could be created through policy initiatives alone. 'Wasted! The Story of Food Waste', a documentary produced by the late Anthony Bourdain, offer a glimpse of ways that nonprofits can expand their missions and collaborate with others to reduce food waste while improving the health and well-being of those in need. Read on...

Nonprofit Quarterly: For-Profit and Nonprofit Firms Devise Creative Ways to Reduce Food Waste
Author: Derrick Rhayn


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 may 2018

According to British Council's 2016 report, 'The State of Social Enterprise in Bangladesh, Ghana, India and Pakistan', there are more than two million social enterprises in India with 24% of them led by women. India is one of the fastest growing economy and it needs more social entrepreneurs to tackle socio-economic problems. Women have to enhance their participation. But, existing stereotypes alongwith lack of investor confidence are major hurdles in the way. According to the World Bank, labour force participation rate for women in India has fallen from 37% in 2004-05 to 27.2% in 2017, which is quite low in comparison to developed nations. Increasing participation of women in workforce is vital for balanced growth of the country. Archana Raj, Team Leader at Save The Children, says 'Despite these low indicators, it is worth mentioning that there are new generation women who have broken the barriers of societal norms and regressive mindsets to pave way to the new world of entrepreneurship. Over the past few years, it has been observed that more women are choosing this as a career over other options, making a mark in the start-up ecosystem. Nonetheless, the aim must be to reach higher, which can help the rest of the women of our country to rise beyond the barriers and choose for themselves.' Jamie Cid, a social entrepreneur and founder of MobiHires, says, 'I think that there is a great opportunity for women social entrepreneurs in India, especially mothers returning to the workplace, who develop products and services based on their experience and solve problems in their community. With platforms like Sheroes, Reboot, SheThePeople and Lean In India initiatives that support and invest in women social entrepreneurs, this is the right time to be one.' In one of the blog posts of World Bank, Monique Villa, CEO of Thomson Reuters Foundation and founder of TrustLaw and Trust Women, gives the example of Ajaita Shah who works in rural regions of India. Shah's organisation, Frontier Markets, sells and distributes products to rural households. The organisation calls itself a 'for-profit business with a social mission'. According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, India ranks 35th among countries that are the best for women social entrepreneurs, with the US, Canada and the UK occupying the top three positions. Manju Yagnik, vice chairperson of Nahar Group and member of Indian Merchant Chamber, says, 'I personally do not believe in male-female classifications. I do not think capabilities and talent can be differentiated as per gender. Today's women do not seek sympathy. They want equal opportunities when it comes to decision-making in financial capabilities, which is still male-dominant. Thankfully, with the modern society promoting and striving for gender equality, the position of women is improving year after year. Women entrepreneurs in India are bringing revolution and growth in the public and private sectors. With the help of government initiatives, they will grow further.' Manisha Gupta, founder and director of Start Up!, says, 'Regardless of whether a woman is a social or business entrepreneur, she has to negotiate through an ecosystem that has been structured for men to succeed. Not only do we need more women social entrepreneurs but also an ecosystem where there are more women leaders at every level. We need them as coaches, investors, in finance, as leading incubators, etc to break the template.' Citing challenges women face, Ms. Raj comments, 'Pressures of social norms and societal biases force women to give up the job while tough competitive market further make their work challenging.' Ms. Yagnik feels the need for more women entrepreneurs in India. She says, 'Social entrepreneurship might be a great opportunity for Indian women professionals to break through the glass ceiling that typically exists in traditional corporate life.' Ms. Cid suggests social entrepreneurs to stay positive and focus on the bigger purpose and stay passionate about their goal. Explaining capabilities of women entrepreneurs, Ms. Gupta says, 'I always say that women social entrepreneurs use the 3Rs - resilience, relationship and resistance – to build and grow their ventures. They are masters of resilience, I have seen many women without any resources, standing on their own and building a business in rural regions. They also demonstrate strong capabilities of building connections and meaningful relationships with stakeholders which takes them far.' Read on...

SME Futures: Nascent social entrepreneurship sector in India is beginning to look at women leaders for growth
Author: Anushruti Singh


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 apr 2018

To apply the basic idea of 'Small Is Beautiful' as propagated by E. F. Schumacher to the social enterprises and create their collaborative network, have the potential to successfully tackle social causes at a large scale and maximize impact. Anne-Marie Slaughter, President & CEO of New America, explains the working dynamics of social enterprises, the challenges of scale, issues of efficiencies when contrasted with private enterprises and how in a democratic setup a network of independent social enterprises can develop a collaborative system for larger impact. She says, 'In the private sector, companies reap economies of scale...In the social and political marketplace, however - at least in democracies - too much efficiency is dangerous. Tyrants are efficient, which is precisely why America's founding fathers built a system of checks and balances designed to favour resilience over efficiency...Outside government, a rich civil society is the bedrock of a well-functioning democracy. Alexis de Tocqueville made this point about the strength of American democracy in the 1830s.' Ms. Slaughter opines, 'Civic engagement requires the energy and innovation of multiple entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurship is just one subset of a much larger civil society. But a thriving ecosystem of social enterprise cannot borrow wholesale from the capitalist playbook.' Rebecca Onie, co-founder & CEO of Health Leads, developed a model of healthcare that saves money and improves outcomes by attending to social as well as medical needs and achieved scale by convincing the US government to start experimenting with her approach. Ms. Slaughter suggests, 'Another path to scale in the social sector - one that preserves diversity and reduces competition for scarce resources - is through carefully designed networks of small or medium-sized enterprises that are focused on solving the same basic problem and are demonstrably having an impact in a particular community or region. This approach has worked well in global health through consortiums...The network form allows for small size and large scale simultaneously, preserving individuality and innovation while applying common metrics in the pursuit of a single large goal. Individual actors can form groups, connected to a central co-ordinator and cross-fertiliser.' Read on...

The Financial Times: Thinking big for social enterprise can mean staying small
Author: Anne-Marie Slaughter


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 feb 2018

Social entrepreneurs utilize their skills and efforts to solve social issues and make world better. The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) India runs a 9 months long Social Start-Up Fellowship program, an initiative supported by PwC India, to assist social entrepreneurs develop and scale their social enterprise ideas and concepts. SSE recently felicitated 17 social enterpreneurs that graduated from the program. Attending the occasion, Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State (PMO, Govt. of India), said, 'There is a sense of satisfaction when you witness, for the second year in a row, a new set of social entrepreneurs graduate with the skills to make a difference in the lives of others through their innovative ventures.' Satyavati Berera, COO of PwC India, said, 'Social entrepreneurship is steadily gaining momentum in our country and we are proud to be part of this journey which for PwC began its association with SSE India in 2016...Each mentoring opportunity helped our people interact with those working at the grassroots and built a different perspective, which will have a deep positive impact on the way we serve our stakeholders.' Shalabh Mittal, CEO of SSE India, said, 'At SSE India, we believe in bottom-up social change and help social entrepreneurs work in broken markets or in the poorest of communities...our learning approach has the ability to empower entrepreneurs to start, grow and scale.' Also present was Jaivir Singh, Chairperson of SSE India and Vice Chairman of PwC India Foundation. Website the-sseindia.org gives list of 17 social entrepreneurs felicitated - (1) Prem Kumar (Sambhawana Development Foundation, Livelihood, Non-Timber Forest Produce - NTFP) (2) Bharti Singh Chauhan (PraveenLata Sansthan, Women & Child Welfare) (3) Dr. Anirudh Gaurang (Rovnost Healthcare, Healthcare) (4) Sonali Patwe (Perseverance Infosystems Pvt Ltd., Technology) (5) Hemanta Gogoi (wowNE, Livelihood) (6) Lourdes Soares (SabrCare, Healthcare) (7) Dr. Sumedha Kushwaha (ATTAC, Healthcare) (8) Dr. Raunaq Pradhan (Saaras Foundation, Policy Implementation) (9) Abhishek Juneja (Adhyaay Foundation, Education) (10) Riddhi Dastidar (Riyaaz, Education) (11) Abhishek Jhawar (National Abacus, Education) (12) Ayushi Shukla (Sanima, Arts & Cinema) (13) Inderpreet Singh (SPEEE, Community Well-being) (14) Neharika Mahajan (Oryn, Environment & Livelihood) (15) Umang Shridhar (KhaDigi, Rural Livelihood & Khadi) (16) Vilas Gite (Praas Development Foundation, Rural Development) (17) Devaja Shah (Amiku, Mental Healthcare). Read on...

Businessworld: 17 Social Entrepreneurs Honoured By School For Social Entrepreneurs India And PwC India
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 nov 2017

EDIT (The Expo for Design, Innovation & Technology), the 10 day event held in Toronto (Canada) showcased art, installations and projects, focused on innovation and design to build a sustainable future for the world. It included talks from David Suzuki, Ian Campeau (A Tribe Called Red), among others. Here are 5 selected ideas and innovations - (1) Prosperity For All: Curated by Canadian designer Bruce Mau, the main exhibit juxtaposed Paolo Pellegrin's photos of devastation throughout world, with people and inventions that are helping to combat issues such as famine, refugee crisis, smog and more. It highlighted Smog Free Project (Dutch artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde's smog free bike that works to purify the air around you while you ride), The Ocean Cleanup (Boyan Slat's creation that intend to remove 50% of the trash found in Great Pacific Garbage patch in just 5 years) and many more. (2) Art With Purpose: Dennis Kavelman, an artist and tech investor, collaborated with the Digital Futures team at OCAD University (Canada) to create a piece of work inspired by Andy Warhol. Expiry Dates works in two phases - It compiles answers from an online questionnaire, measuring your life expectancy against a myriad of points such as your fitness level, whether you smoke, if you're married and more. Then you sit for a self-portrait, which you attach to a QR Code with all your data. In a few minutes your heartbeat appears on the big screen, taken from a reading from your eye, and then your portrait appears along with your predicted date of expiry. Another piece of the installation, titled That's Not Very Many, uses a magnetized digital board to break down those days in months. (3) The New Housing: Living sustainably means looking at where we live and providing affordable housing for all. Exhibit included Mickey Mouse's Home of the Future that was a fully functional shipping container created by students at OCAD. The One House Many Nations home was created by grassroots organization Idle No More, that seeks to provide affordable housing based on traditional indigenous ideas, and consists of two modules that link together, one dubbed shelter and the other service, that can be pieced together based on the family or individual's needs as well as the landscape in which they live. (4) The Future Of Fashion: Fashion Takes Action's Design Forward award was given to a sustainable fashion label Peggy Sue Collection (founded by Peggy Sue Deaven-Smiltnieks), a line of eco-friendly cotton and denim. (5) Waste No More: Keeping in mind the concept of feeding many with minimal impact, Waterfarmers created an on-site aquaponics exhibit to show how fish waste can be used to fertilizer food. The idea is to utilize water that is housing fish to then fertilize plants, providing protein and vegetables in a sustainable manner. Read on...

CBC.ca: 5 design innovations that just might change the world
Author: Michelle Bilodeau


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 oct 2017

Social enterprises are businesses driven by the purpose to do social good and work for the uplifment and betterment of society. Business corporations too are creating similar impact through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and often partner with social enterprises. The concept of doing good while making money is becoming mainstream. According to a survey by Rappler, '90% of millennials today value purpose as highly as salary and career progression in choosing their place of work. They prioritize impactful businesses that are sustainable and responsible in conducting their operations.' Thomas Graham, founder of MAD (Make A Difference) Travel and author of 'The Genius of the Poor', explains how a community of social entrepreneurs, 'Gawad Kalinga (GK) Enchanted Farm' in Bulacan (Near Manila, Philippines), is making a difference in the local community and market, what for-profit businesses can learn from their way of working, and provides an example of a growing social enterprise that is part of the system. Even Jean-Philippe Courtois, President of Microsoft International, visited the GK Enchanted Farm, a 42-hectare farm-village-university, not only to give back but also to meet the entrepreneurs there and learn more about how their values-driven approach has been able to make an impression in the market. Mr. Graham says, 'The greater goal of the farm, however, is not to convince everyone to become a social entrepreneur, but to demonstrate that doing business in the spirit of 'walang iwanan' (no one gets left behind) can be beneficial to everyone, no matter how big or small a business is.' Explaining the working model of a social enterprise in the GK farm, 'Plush and Play' (founded by a Frenchman Fabien Courteille), Mr. Graham says, 'Instead of conducting a more conventional business approach, which might involve extensive market research and a strict business model, followed by the importing of skills from elsewhere, Courteille instead spent his time living in the GK village, discovering the aspirations and talents of the community - in this case, sewing - and building a business plan out through unleashing the potential he saw before him.' Mr. Courteille comments, 'I did not choose an industry, but a beneficiary.' There are lessons that are to be learned from the working and progress of social enterprises. Mr. Graham says, 'Of course, 'Plush and Play' still has a long way to go before its volume of sales can compete with other mainstream brands in the Philippines, but there are lessons we can take from Courteille progress thus far. As consumers become increasingly patriotic and socially/environmentally conscious, having a great and authentic story to tell can set you apart, even in the most congested of markets. In this sense, doing good really does make good business sense.' He further explains, 'There are over 40 different social enterprises all at varying stages of growth and development, but what is to learn from them is valuable to any business: hard work, resilience, ingenuity, creativity, innovation, sustainability and taking care of one's employees and environment.' Read on...

BusinessMirror: Big businesses could learn from social enterprises
Author: Thomas Graham


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 oct 2017

Handling failures effectively is an important aspect of learning from the process of doing. When it comes to social entrepreneurship, understanding the dynamics of failure may be more complex then for-profit entrepreneruship. While pursuing social goals for the betterment of the world, it might be harder to reconcile and recuperate when one fails. Keep the following things in mind when one recovers from failure in the social sector - (1) You raised awareness: Understand the value of spreading a good idea and message. It can be a satisfaction in itself. (2) You learned what not to do: Lessons learned from the failed project can lay the foundation for success in future projects. (3) Your leadership will be refined: Leading a social impact organization is very challenging. Skills get honed and further developed during the process. Failure can bring humility, ownership, accountability and resiliency - the traits of an influential leader that can embark on the tough journey of bringing social change and serving others. Read on...

Forbes: 3 Ways Social Entrepreneurs Can Think About Failure Differently
Author: Tori Utley


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 aug 2017

Rapid pace of innovation is the defining feature of the current era. According to the World Economic Forum, 'The speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent.' Financing industry now have innovative lending platforms, both for-profit and nonprofit, for small businesses. But there are concerns regarding many products as they may trap small businesses in a cycle of debt. Gina Harman, CEO (U.S. Network, Accion), explains the challenges that nonprofit lenders face due to rapid innovation happening in the industry and shares insights from the conversation between industry experts - Kate Mirkin (Salesforce.org, Salesforce's nonprofit social enterprise); Prashant Reddy (DemystData); Patrick Davis (CRF, Community Reinvestment Fund); Shaolee Sen (Accion). Myth 1 - The only barrier to scale is the absence of technology: Technology investments get wasted if there are no capable people to deploy it internally and manage the necessary changes in business processes. Challenges are even more when multiple organizations are involved in the project. Establishing and maintaining discipline is essential. Right technology with right data is required to maximize its utility. Myth 2 - For nonprofit organizations, passion to serve more people outweighs fear of change: Nonprofits must overcome lack of investment in talent, knowledge and resources required to drive technological innovation. Nonprofit organizations in business lending industry must consider change necessary to better serve their stakeholders. Collaborative approach to manage technological change must be adopted between the organization and the key stakeholders. Myth 3 - Only organizations with large technology budgets can innovate: Small investments in incremental improvements can add real value to organizations. Even effective data utilization can bring transformative changes at low cost. Within the social impact and mission-driven space, an approach with shared purpose and collective interests can help organizations collaborate and pool resources to implement and utilize costly technological innovations to provide value to the group. Read on...

Huffington Post: 3 Innovation Myths that Nonprofit Lenders Should Abandon
Author: Gina Harman


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 jun 2017

Innovation Showcase (ISHOW) by American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) is a hardware competition for socially minded projects. The purpose is to create awareness that hardware engineers too play a role in social innovation. K. Keith Roe, President of ASME, says, 'Our research showed a tremendous lack of support for hardware innovators seeking to enter global markets and make a societal impact.' Paul Scott, ASME ISHOW Director, says, 'From South America to West Africa to Southeast Asia, there are many talented folks that are changing paradigms with their work.' Currently, ASME ISHOW is held in US, Kenya and India. This year's American competition will be held on 22 June 2017. According to ISHOW website (thisishardware.org), 10 American finalists alongwith their projects are - (1) Hahna Alexander (SmartBoots: Self-charging work boots that collect status and location data and provide workforces in hazardous environments with actionable insights); (2) Jonathan Cedar (BioLite HomeStove: An ultra-clean cookstove that reduces smoke emissions by 90% and biomass fuel consumption by 50% compared to traditional open fire cooking, while also co-generating electricity from the flame to charge mobile phones and lights); (3) Matthew Chun (RevX: A transfemoral rotator that restores dignity to low-income amputees by enabling them to sit cross legged, dress themselves, get back to work, and more); (4) Shivang Dave (QuickSee: PlenOptika developed the QuickSee to disrupt the barriers to eyeglass prescriptions for billions of people worldwide so that they can get the eyeglasses they need); (5) Alexandra Grigore (Simprints: With a novel fingerprinting system, Simprints aims to create a world where lack of identity is never the reason why anyone is denied basic services in healthcare, education and finance); (6) Mary McCulloch (Voz Box: Millions of people, right now, are nonverbal. Current devices are too expensive and uncustomizable. The Voz Box is an innovative speech generation device that has customizable sensors and is affordable); (7) Erica Schwarz (Kaleyedos Imaging Device (KID): A revolutionary infant retinal imager that will empower neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) worldwide to decrease the incidence of visual impairment and blindness due to infant retinal disease); (8) Kenji Tabery (VeggieNest: Smart home gardening systems, and aims to address the growing market need for access to organic, affordable, and nutritious produce that enable global consumers to be food secure); (9) Team Sixth Sense (Team Sixth Sense: We have designed a system of sensor to attach to lower-limb prosthetics that works with NeoSensory's current technology to provide realtime vibrotactile feedback); (10) Quang Truong (EV 8 Cooler: Evaptainers creates low-cost mobile refrigerators that run on water. These are perfect for low income families who live off grid or cannot afford a conventional refrigerator). Read on...

Technical.ly DC: 10 engineers will showcase hardware's role in social innovation
Author: Nia Dickens


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 feb 2017

'healthymagination Mother and Child Program', a collaborative effort of GE and Santa Clara University's Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, provides mentorship and training aimed at improving and accelerating maternal and/or child health outcomes in Africa. The program was designed to help the social entrepreneurs acquire business fundamentals, improve their strategic thought processes and articulate a business plan that demonstrates impact, growth and long-term financial sustainability. According to Robert Wells, Executive Director of healthymagination, 'GE believes there is much for social enterprises and large businesses to learn from each other. As the center of the ecosystem, social entrepreneurs are key to building Africa's sustainable future.' First cohort of 14 social entrepreneurs that have completed the program are ready to present their social enterprises to a group of potential investors and supporters. Jay Ireland, President & CEO of GE Africa, says, 'This group of people are helping solve some of Africa's biggest health challenges through their initiatives aimed at improving mother and child care. This is another great example of the strong entrepreneurial spirit in Africa.' According to Thane Kreiner, ED of Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, 'Addressing the global health challenges of women and children living in sub-standard conditions or facing high-risk pregnancies demands all the determination, diligence and creative solutions we can muster.' Following are the social entrepreneurs and their respective social enterprises - Daphne Ngunjiri, Kenya (AccessAfya.com); Habib Anwar and Zubaida Bai, Kenya (ayzh.com); Tyler Nelson, Rwanda (HealthBuilders.org); Pratap Kumar, Kenya (Health-E-Net.org); Steve Alred Adudans, Kenya (HewaTele.org); Stefanie Weiland, Uganda, Burundi and DRC (LNInternational.org); Julius Mbeya and Ash Lauren Rogers, Kenya (LwalaCommunityAlliance.org); Brian Iredale, Uganda (NurtureAfrica.ie); Segun Ebitanmi, Nigeria (Outreach Medical Services); Cobby Amoah, Ghana (Peach Health); Olufemi Sunmonu, Nigeria (ThePurpleSource.com); Yohans Emiru, Ethiopia (HelloDoctorEthiopia.com); Natalie Angell-Besseling, Uganda (ShantiUganda.org); Anne Gildea, Kenya (VillageHopeCore.org). Read on...

CNBC: 14 social entrepreneurs to improve maternal & child health in Africa
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 oct 2016

Conflicts and wars, apart from taking human lives, causing destruction and displacing ordinary people, also disturbs affected children's educational future and creates regional human resources imbalances. The ongoing Syrian Civil War has led to an estimated quarter-million young people getting deprived of college education. Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister of UK and currently UN Special Envoy for Global Education, explains collaborative role of charities, philanthropists and nonprofit foundations to overcome educational deprivation of displaced students. He advocates the need of realizing the potential of social enterprises to fill the gaps in global education. He says, 'With 260 million children not in school worldwide, education needs more champions to match the enthusiasm of advocates in, say, the global-health and environmental movements. There is more room for innovation in education than in any other international-development sector, especially as digital technologies and the Internet become more accessible even in the world's poorest regions.' He shares how Catalyst Trust for Universal Education, an education focused social entperise founded by former New York University President John Sexton, is helping out in global education efforts. Catalyst Trust participates in PEER (Platform for Education in Emergencies Response) project intended to connect college-ready Syrian refugees with refugee-ready colleges. Explaining the future of PEER project, he comments, 'In time, PEER will serve as a conduit to higher education for displaced students worldwide, and it will cater to all education levels, by providing web-based information, points of contact, and much-needed counseling and support.' He advocates support to social startups like Catalyst Trust, that are working on various aspects of education globally. He encourages education reformers to learn from pioneering work of Sir Ronald Cohen on social-impact investing. He cites some specific pilot projects that individuals and organizations can support to make a difference in education - help refugee students in their education; human-rights education to determine how school curricula can best cultivate inter-faith understanding; help the two million students who are blind or visually impaired, and whose educational needs have long been neglected. With new technology, we can now leapfrog the 150-year-old braille system and instantly render text into audio recordings, making all types of learning materials accessible to the visually impaired. Mr. Brown concludes, 'For anyone who cares about education, our task is clear: to furnish millions of poor people, especially in the remotest parts of the world, with the innovations they need to transform and improve their lives through learning. As the Catalyst Trust intends to show, a little social enterprise goes a long way.' Read on...

Project Syndicate: Education Needs Social Enterprise
Author: Gordon Brown


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 sep 2016

According to the first experts' poll conducted by Thomson Reuters Foundation (poll2016.trust.org), in partnership with Deutsche Bank, the Global Social Entrepreneurship Network (GSEN) and UnLtd, the top nations for social entrepreneurs are - (1) United States (2) Canada (3) United Kingdom (4) Singapore (5) Israel (6) Chile (7) South Korea (8) Hong Kong (9) Malaysia (10) France. The poll included survey of about 900 social enterprise experts (social entrepreneurs, academics, investors, policy-makers and support networks) in the world's 45 biggest economies. 85% of the experts said the number of social entrepreneurs finding ways of combining business with social purpose was growing although there is little data tracking the sector. According to Natalia Oberti Noguera, founder of Pipeline Angels (US), 'If someone's interested in financial return on investment, that's not a good fit. We're about so much more. We're about doing good, we're about doing well.' Nearly 60% of the experts surveyed cited three major challenges in the growing sector - people do not know what social entrepreneurs do, which makes raising funds difficult and selling to governments is an uphill struggle. Anne Katrine Heje Larsen, founder and CEO of KPH (Denmark), says, 'There are still too many people who view social entrepreneurs as a bunch of hash-fuming utopian people in knitted sweaters. They couldn't be more wrong.' According to Ayşe Sabuncu, co-founder of Impact Hub Istanbulin (Turkey), 'People do not understand social entrepreneurs create money making businesses like any other business, and they question the philosophy of it if the entrepreneur ends up making profit.' Andy Carnahan, a Swedish social entrepreneur, says, 'A greater understanding of how for-profit businesses can be a driving force for social good would help. We need this (awareness)...among the public who don't realize how much good can be done by a for-profit business that has a social good built into its business model.' Poll found that India, Philippines and South Korea are among those where social entrepreneurs were finding it easiest to access investment. According to Prashanth Venkataramana of Essmart Global, 'A lot of people see India as an opportunity overseas, especially in America.' Bank of America's 2016 survey found that 85% of millennials were interested in having a social impact through investment. It also found that women were more interested in impact investing than men. Peetachai 'Neil' Dejkraisak of Siam Organic (Thailand) says, 'World-class social enterprises are run by women in Asia. They do a really good job balancing the social and financial objectives.' Rosemary Addis, chair of Impact Investing Australia, says, 'Individual enterprises are finding a niche and finding they can engage the market and sell their products or services. But as a sector, the concept of social enterprise and purpose-driven business has not yet got mainstream awareness. That's a job ahead to educate the public.' Read on...

Huffington Post: U.S. Is Best Country For Social Entrepreneurs - Poll
Authors: Pietro Lombardi, Ellen Wulfhorst, Pauline Askin, Nita Bhalla, Alisa Tang, Belinda Goldsmith

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