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Is the Congo Ready for Social Entrepreneurship?

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DRC course students.jpgBY FRED ROSE

Emerging economies are hotbeds of innovation for social entrepreneurship. They have business infrastructure to help young entrepreneurs, the general atmosphere encourages and rewards risk taking, and there is usually no shortage of social and environmental challenges to address. India is a great example of this, with a rapidly growing economy over the last decade and also a large number of successful and growing social ventures. In the past few years, a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa seem to be going down the same path. According to the World Bank, in 2012, Rwanda's GDP growth was 8 percent, Ghana's was 7.9, and Nigeria was 6.8. Those aren't the double digit numbers of the go-go years in India and China, but these countries are clearly moving in the right direction.

Water Stewardship and the Private Sector

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Thumbnail image for 02-26-Rajan.jpgWater is essential to a healthy life and a healthy business. So as the world's water resources are becoming more scarce, the private sector is paying attention.

Raj Rajan, global sustainability technical leader and research, development and engineering vice president at Ecolab, Inc., discussed how commercial enterprises must shift the way they think about water in their business models in last week's Frontiers in the Environment lecture. His talk, "Water Stewardship and the Private Sector" took place Wednesday, Feb. 26 on the University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus.

New Life Cycle Assessment Tool Aims to Clean Up Supply Chain

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Thumbnail image for flash_largeimagecrop_sponge2.jpg
There you are, hunkered over your sink, hands wrist-deep in hot water, swiping suds over food-crusted dinner plates. That squishy, soapy thing that's helping you do so many daily chores . . . ever wonder where its life began and where it will end?

That sponge, like everything on the planet, has a life cycle, composed of all the materials and energy that brought it to your sink and all the tasks it will help you complete until you've squeezed the last bit of work from it and tossed it into the trash. 

People Reap Benefits of Investment in Nature

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greatlakes.jpgWhat do eight U.S. states and two Canadian provinces have in Common? The Great Lakes! Recently, Detroit Public Television's Great Lakes Now Connect invited Institute on the Environment resident fellow Stephen Polasky to join a panel of experts to talk about the importance of investing in natural environments to enhance the quality of the Great Lakes.

Frontiers on Food Sustainability

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cheerios.jpgSustainability isn't simple, but it's good for the bottom line as well as the planet, General Mills chief sustainability officer Jerry Lynch told University of Minnesota students, faculty, staff and other community members last week as the first speaker of the Institute on the Environment's Fall 2013 Frontiers in the Environment series.

U Students Buck the Status Quo in 2012-13 Acara Challenge

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Spirited voices mixed with the scent of Indian spices in The Commons: Meeting and Art Space at Institute on the Environment last Monday night. Dozens of Acara students, mentors and investors were gathered for a showcase of the 2012-13 Acara Challenge contestants.

Attendees supped on fare from Gandhi Mahal and mingled with the young entrepreneurs before settling in for brief presentations on seven start-ups developed by Acara alumni. The goal of each business - in addition to viability and profit - is to address a social or environmental issue at home or abroad.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and not necessarily of the Institute on the Environment/University of Minnesota.

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