Net Impact 2005 Conference Webcast Online

Net Impact
Private Sector Develop Blog informs us that the Net Impact 2005 Conference webcasts and audio files are available for download via the Stanford Business School website (Stanford Graduate School of Business hosted the event).

There’s a lot of material there so knock yourself out. Of course I immediately drilled down to the social entrepreneurship section (its the second to last section on the website)

There are three topics in the social entrepreneurship section, and only the first topic has a webcast:

- What Does It Take to Get Off the Ground? A Profile of Successful Social Entrepreneurs
- Social Entrepreneurs Enjoy More Opportunities
- Ecotourism May Be Travel Field’s Wave of the Future

Go check it out!

Add Charity Shopping To Your Website To Generate Funds

Charity Funds
Check out this post on TechSoup, called Add Charity Shopping to Your Web Site which details how to add a charity shopping mall to your website. If someone ends up buying something through your shopping mall, you get a small percentage of the profits. For some motivation, TechSoup provides some numbers from a case study:

It’s possible to make good money using a charity mall. The Larkin Street Youth Center in San Francisco made $1000 worth of profits in a few months with iGive.com, according to the SF Gate article A New Way to Give .

It doesn’t sound easy, but if you are driving enough traffic to your website, it sounds like something that could take off without that much work.

How Charities Can Get FREE Online Advertising

Stephen Baker of Businessweek writes on Blogspotting that:

When advertisers research the effectiveness of an online advertisement, they typically populate half of the pages with the ad–and the other half, the control group, with a filler ad, a placebo. This is valuable advertising real estate that is often given away.

He ends the post by asking whether advertisers get to write-off this sponsorship of charities. Very good question–

Its sounds like an interesting little niche and I’ll try to explore it and hopefully come up with some answers for us. Stay tuned.

Social Entrepreneurship: Recycling Old Cell Phones

Recycling Old Cell Phones
I just read an article in Red Herring about a company called ReCellular, which is the number one U.S. cell phone recycling company. ReCellular refurbishes and resells cell phones instead of scrapping them for their metals. Although, the article focuses on a new technology that ReCelluar has developed to help triple its profits this year, I can’t help but be enamored with the core business itself and the profit opportunity of this niche market.

[The market is] expected to be worth $225.35 million by 2008, said Michael Blumberg, CEO of DF Blumberg Associates, a consultancy that published a report on the U.S. wireless phone recycling market.

Growing cell phone usage and turnover, as well as “green laws” restricting the disposal of electronic waste, are driving the market, he said. U.S. consumers replace their phones every 18 months, on average, he added.

I guess when the profit opportunity is as big as this, you don’t need social entrepreneurs to intervene. Some opportunities (like this one) work out perfectly so that entrepreneurs can make a buck, and do something good for the world at the same time!

Google Appoints Executive Director for Its Philanthropic Arm

Link to press release here.

Google today announced the appointment of Dr. Larry Brilliant as Executive Director of Google.org, which administers Google’s philanthropic activities. In this role he will work with the company’s co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to define the mission and strategic goals of Google’s philanthropy. Dr. Brilliant is a founder and director of The Seva Foundation, a Policy Advisory Council Member at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health, and a member of the Strategic Advisory Group of Kleiner-Perkin’s Pandemic and Bio-Defense Fund.

The Wall Street Journal says:

Google said Dr. Brilliant’s accomplishments in public health and technology were key to his selection. “There were a lot of people out there with passion to change the world, but there aren’t a lot of people out there with the proven ability to change the world,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Google’s vice president of Global Online Sales and Operations. Google declined to disclose the compensation it will pay Dr. Brilliant in his new role.

Everyone is pretty excited to see the good things that can come out of Google.org!

Social Entrepreneurship In The News- Venture Capitalists Are Investing in Educational Reform

The NYTimes recently ran a piece titled “Venture Capitalists Are Investing in Educational Reform,” (sub. req.) which discusses John Doerr’s role in founding the New Schools Venture Fund in San Francisco. Although New Schools has been covered pretty well by the press, this article is a good piece about social entrepreneurship:

Unlike Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the venture capital firm where Mr. Doerr is a partner, New Schools does not earn the standard three to five times its investment in five years. It earns nothing, because it is “a philanthropy held accountable by the rigors of venture capital financing,” as Mr. Doerr describes it. The financial professionals of the fund oversee the business operations of the schools it backs.

The article goes on to describe how New Schools works and what its done so far in California. Its an informative piece, but the most interesting parts to me are the quotes of Doerr on social entrepreneurship. The article ends with a good one:

“The education entrepreneurs have it harder. They must overcome massive institutional resistance,” he said. “And if the high-tech entrepreneurs succeed, they get rich. The educators’ rewards will be more important in life, but they’re not going to get rich.”

Investment in Biofuels

Renewable energy
Cnet reports that Xerox PARC, a technology research powerhouse, and Kleiner Perkins, a venture capital powerhouse have increased their commitment to “the emerging field of clean technologies.”

Kleiner Perkins has created a $100 million fund dedicated to green technologies, and Xerox PARC announced a collaboration with a venture called SolFocus, to develop and improve solar panel technology.

Cnet also reports that this has been a field of growing interest in the past two years from investors and entrepreneurs.

Its great to see more interest and money being directed towards socially responsible causes but what’s important to note here are the economic forces that are driving investment into “socially responsible” energy sources. Lets face it, venture capital firms, like Kleiner Perkins, are aware of the profit opportunity in energy– all the big oil companies are reporting record profits.

Although high fuel prices have hit all of us, the profit opportunity that comes along with it is the only motivation that seems to spur meaningful interest and investment into alternative fuels.

Tech Resources for Non Profits/Social Ventures: TechSoup

TechSoup
I recently found out about TechSoup through this CNet Blog post covering TechSoup’s new project called NetSquared.

Before we get into NetSquared, I think I need to cover TechSoup first because it could be helpful to many of you out there running your own non profit or social venture.

TechSoup offers “nonprofits a one-stop resource for technology needs by providing free information, resources, and support.”

Its has a great little community section, how-to guides, and programs to “[connect] nonprofits with donated and discounted technology products”

This website is a great resource and I don’t think I can cover everything it has to offer so make sure you check it out yourself.

I’m adding it to my “Resources” section over on the right.

Negroponte Steps Down From MIT Media Lab to Pursue $100 Laptop Initiative

$100 Laptop Initiative
It looks like Nicholas Negroponte has stepped down as Chairman of MIT’s Media Lab to pursue the $100 Laptop Initiative.
I’ve covered the $100 Laptop Initiative fairly well on this blog– here are a collection of links to previous posts:

Hal Varian Plugs the $100 Laptop In The NY Times

Technology Review Defends the $100 Laptop

UN body backs $100 laptop for world’s kids

It seems to me that this initiative is really picking up momentum!

Google and Social Responsibility in China

Google and Social Responsibility
A few weeks ago, Google made an agreement with the Chinese government to remove specific websites from its search engine in return for getting unblocked access to China’s internet users. You can read more about it in this BBC News article from Jan 25th.

Since the announcement, there has been significant “buzz” in the blogosphere protesting Google’s decision.
Here is a link to the blog of a well known venture capitalist, Brad Feld, who points us to two links:

1. A link to an image search for Tiananmen Square on Google US,
2. A link to an image search for Tiananmen Square on Google China

The results speak for themselves– the US engine returns images of tanks and student demonstrations, while the Chinese engine returns some pretty pictures of the square.

Each day, this Google/China issue seems to get bigger. I just found this parody logo that represents the sentiments expressed by many people online. This logo seems to be catching on and it was recently spotted at demonstrations by exiled Tibetans in India.
Google and Goolag

This is a tough issue to grok, and I think Usher Lieberman says it best in the comments section of Brad Feld’s blog:

I am personally conflicted in my thoughts about Google. On the one hand, I’m a big believer in constructive engagement as the best way to see other societies liberalize. On the other, there’s a really good argument that American companies, NGOs and government in absolutely no way contribute to the suppression of human rights anywhere in the world as doing so limits our own credibility and ability to speak with moral authority. On the moral authority piece, the Chinese government certainly believes (and not without justification) that we are in no moral position to preach to them about human rights and constructive engagement.

In this case I think Google is helping the forces of evil even as it does the admirable work of opening more of the world’s knowledge to more of the world. In so doing, Google risks its brand reputation on a gamble that clearly has great potential rewards (and perils). Only time will tell if this roll of the dice was the right move.