My apologies for the lack of updates lately! It was kind of a hectic month, spending the first half of January in Costa Rica at INCAE Business School and the second half acclimating to the start of the semester and my courses.
The seminar I attended at INCAE, entitled "Business and the Environment: Lessons from Latin America", was a wonderful experience and I feel like I learned more about sustainable development than I ever imagined. The school was founded more than 40 years ago under the guidance of Harvard University, and the rigorous nature of their MBA program was quite impressive.
Well, there are a lot of little things to catch up on, which is why I called this an "omnibus" blog post. So here's a short list of notes, in no particular order of importance:
1) The Unreasonable Institute, which helps train promising young social entrepreneurs, announced the finalists for their contest. In true crowdsourcing fashion, people are encouraged to vote and sponsor the social entrepreneurs and ventures that they support most. The first 25 ventures to raise $6,500 get to attend the Institute and receive business incubation help. They are all clever, noble ventures, so check them out and cast your vote! Three I think are especially cool:
- Kito International: In Kenya, Kito partners with street youth to harness their entrepreneurial spirit, providing the training and tools they need to launch their own microenterprise, become self-sufficient, and move off the streets forever.
- Frontline:SMSCredit: In the world of mobile money, Frontline:SMSCredit hopes to use cell phones to make financial services accessible and affordable for the bottom of the economic pyramid.
- Light Up Malawi: LUM hopes to free one nation off the grid by bringing 100% sustainable energy to Malawi. This clean technology will eliminate poor lighting and dirty fuels, therefore improving health quality.
2) Essential Tools to Start a Social Enterprise: This list of resources, compiled by Martin Montero, is a great starting point for those looking to build a business that is a social changemaker.
3) In a previous post, I mentioned Jacqueline Novogratz, the founder and CEO of Acumen Fund, a venture capital firm that invests in social enterprises. There was a great interview with her on NPR's "Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett" today. They've also posted one of the things I really admire about the Acumen Fellows Program, their required reading list. It is a very broad compilation of philosophical, questioning, culturally aware, empathetic readings; I hope to slowly read them all and put myself through a sort of mock version of Acumen training.