MIT Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship

MIT and the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship are pleased to introduce its fellowship program for aspiring entrepreneurs who wish to develop innovative businesses that will promote prosperity in the developing world. The program is open to incoming and current MIT graduate students, across all academic and professional disciplines. The fellowship provides financial assistance, business plan coaching, specialized seminars, and opportunities to engage with some of the world’s leading thinkers and change-agents.

Applications now being accepted for the 2009-2010 MIT Legatum Fellowship Program!

Are you an aspiring entrepreneur who is interested in the role of the private sector in the developing world?  Have an idea for a business that you think can make a difference?

Apply now to become a Legatum Fellow at MIT and turn these ideas into reality.

Legatum Fellowship Program:

The Legatum Center administers a competitive fellowship program for incoming and current MIT graduate students, across all academic disciplines, who demonstrate the potential to create sustainable, for-profit enterprises in low-income countries.  Our Fellows develop innovative businesses that empower ordinary citizens, while promoting prosperity and economic development.  The fellowship provides financial assistance, specialized seminars, business creation coaching, and opportunities to engage with some of the world’s leading thinkers, entrepreneurs, and investors.

DEADLINE:  Applications for the 2009-2010 MIT Legatum Fellowship will be accepted until 5 p.m. US EST on January 31, 2009.

For complete application instructions, and to learn more about the Legatum Fellowship Program, please visit our website at http://legatum.mit.edu/fellowship.

Lebone Solutions– Developing fuel cells from the bacteria in soil or waste.

“You can just literally make energy from dirt,” said Aviva Presser, a graduate student at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “And there’s a lot of dirt in Africa.”

New York Times

Link to Lebone website
Lebônê

Light + Energy = Opportunity

Lebônê Solutions, Inc. is a social enterprise working in off-grid energy delivery and lighting technology. The mission of Lebônê is to help end the energy and lighting crisis in Africa by identifying and harnessing emerging technologies, developing and adapting them for the African market, and delivering them to rural villages in an innovative and accessible manner. The group was incubated under the tutelage of Professor David Edwards in the Harvard Idea Translation Lab.

NetHope

Filing this one under digital divide:

This device, called a Network Relief Kit, weighs less than four pounds and “is a grand slam invention,” Mr. Lopes said. “It’s portable, light and brings the outside world to the most remote, disconnected places.”

It was created by NetHope, a collaboration of nonprofit organizations and technology companies working to improve humanitarian aid around the world. Founded in 2001, NetHope, which is based near Washington, has engaged in relief efforts after natural disasters like storms and earthquakes, as well as armed conflict. Charitable donors often prefer lean organizations with low overhead so that most of their contributions go directly to help the needy. As a result, however, nonprofits have chronically underfinanced information technology departments, which oversee operations like networking, computers and satellite phones.

Al Gore: “Web 2.0 has to have a purpose”

“The purpose, I would urge all of you — as many of you as are willing to take it up — is to bring about a higher level of consciousness about our planet and the imminent danger and opportunity we face because of the radical transformation in the relationship between human beings and the Earth,” Mr. Gore said Friday evening at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

Link to New York Times

To create socio-economic value for rural and corporate worlds through empowered outsourcing

A guest post from Rishabh Kaul at Source Pilani:

Inside Goenka Public School, which is situated in the bustling centre of Pilani village, is housed one of India’s fastest growing rural BPO’s.

Welcome to the world of Source Pilani.

A brainchild of L K MaheswarI (the current Vice Chancellor of BITS Pilani), who convinced the Goenka family to invest in such a venture; he’s played a crucial role in scaling Source Pilani to where it is today. Giving a shout out to the alumni and getting them on board to man the ship, today the gritty team of Manoj Vasudevan. Sandeep Thalluri, Ashish Khandelwal and Bharat Bongu are putting in tons of man hours in order to put Source Pilani on the map.

The establishment of a rural BPO was mainly to tackle and capitalize on the problems faced by the urban BPO’s such as high attrition rates, increasing salary costs and sky-rocketing real estate prices. This lead to the belief that such a move would provide a host to some of the biggest opportunities such as access to a large pool of talented work force in and around Pilani, world class infrastructure facilities. Apart from this it would also help in building a brand name of the Goenka’s in the social entrepreneurship sector.

Today Source Pilani has several clients including some international ones. One success story which the founders narrated to me was regarding their work in the medical transcription domain:

“We partnered with Truworth to deliver Medical Transcription services. We have been consistently achieving 98.9% quality. Trueworth started realizing cost benefits of around 30%”

Source Pilani has also been providing data entry and form processing services to JhunJhunu (district in which Pilani is located) collectorate for e-Gram and NREGS. They have been delivering exceptional service despite the complex work flow. They deal accurately with a large volume of data of 890 villages and were recognized and felicitated by the district collectorate for the outsourcing services they provided

With revenues already in lakhs, an ever increasing list of clients, a workforce of 60 skilled personnel who are regularly rewarded based on their performance and a board consisting of BITS Pilani faculty and Alumni, things look bright for Source Pilani.

They are currently also participating in Tata NEN’s hottest Startup award, you can vote for them here

Alternatively, you can also SMS HOT117 to 56767

Rishabh Kaul is an undergraduate student at BITS Pilani and is actively involved with the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership there. He blogs at Whatever Things

The Fifth Annual Pace Pitch Contest will be held on Thursday evening, December 4th

The Fifth Annual Pace Pitch Contest will be held on Thursday evening, December 4th. The event will be held in the Schimmel Center, a 750-seat theatre on Pace’s campus in downtown Manhattan, across from City Hall.  Directions here.

However, for those budding entrepreneurs who wish to participate,  November 21 is the deadline for applications.

For more information, go here.

[Fifth Annual Pace Pitch Contest]
Presented by:
Entrepreneurship@Lubin
and the
[MIT]

in association with:
The Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship
Thursday, December 4th, 2008
5:00 p.m.- 7:45 p.m.
Schimmel Center, 1 Pace Plaza, NYC

Socially Responsible Investing Holds Up Well Relative To Other Fund Types

According to this marketwatch article:

The market’s meltdown has left every category of stock mutual funds in the red this year, but one area that has held up better than most is socially responsible investing.

“It used to be thought that you had to give up returns to get those [ethical] screens,” said TIAA-CREF’s O’Brien. “But we see returns that are on a par with well-performing mainstream funds.”