Ennovent and WWF Switzerland are thrilled to announce that Runa (www.runa.org) was selected as the winner of the company category. The other finalists within this category were EcoPlanet Bamboo, Wildlife Works, Rainforest Expeditions, and CHICZA. The winners are endorsed by WWF Switzerland as best solution providers and are awarded global visibility, networking and capacity building opportunities from the challenge partners such as, Good Company, Sustainatopia and Thomson Reuters Foundations’. These Challenge rewards are important as many early-stage entrepreneurs face resource gaps – such as networks and training – that inhibit their ability to scale high potential ventures. More details here.
Philanthropy is taking its cues from Wall Street and Silicon Valley. The language of finance is so common that it is sometimes hard to tell the difference between an investment conference and a fund-raiser. Grants are referred to as investments, and public-private partnerships as innovations. Money used to buy vans, computers and buildings is called growth capital. NY Times
Here’s a guest piece from Social Spark: Our society is continuing to face challenges. Yet, when it comes to developing solutions, youth are often overlooked despite being curious, resourceful, and passionate. Young people have the potential to not only be leaders of the future, but also change-makers of the present if empowered through appropriate training and guidance. Presenting Social Spark Social Spark is a non-profit that aims to spark change by cultivating a socially conscious and entrepreneurial spirit in youth. Through our various programs, we are: • Promoting the pursuit of sustainable solutions to complex social issues • Engaging youth through hands-on opportunities to exercise their creativity, knowledge, and passion • Training the next generation of promising social entrepreneurs and leaders For 2012, we have partnered with the University of Toronto, Ryerson University and Western University to deliver our program through hubs on their respective campuses. Guided by a central managing team, each of our hubs will provide Social Spark members the following: A monthly speaker series to inspire members on the topics of shared value, and social innovation and entrepreneurship. Our online platform will also provide resources to allow Canadian students to learn about what it takes to create social change. Case competitions and relevant job postings will be made available to all members. The case competition will allow members to apply critical thinking and social innovation to existing business problems. Internships will also provide members the opportunity to work closely with our partners. Our Social Venture Challenge (SVC) will feature 9 teams, 3 at each hub, participating in an intensive 8-month program with the goal of creating thriving social ventures. Participants will be provided with over 90 hours of hands-on mentorship and education from experienced professors and practitioners, as well as access to funding and the opportunity to pitch to investors.
This New York Times article describes how the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy necessitated the development of mobile apps to organize volunteers and relief efforts: > Not long after the hurricane hit, Mr. Sims’s company was among those that began organizing events known as hackathons, where programmers and engineers develop applications and services around a central need or theme. George Shank, an interactive software developer who works with Mr. Sims, helped build a service called Sprout Help that relays information about where to send supplies and how to volunteer effectively. “A lot of it stemmed from wanting to help but not being sure how to do it,” Mr. Shank said. “We heard stories of people going to fire stations to volunteer and being turned away.”
Check out this interesting new e-book called Social Entrepreneurs Speak: Essays, Articles, and Interviews on Social Entrepreneurship. It is a compilation of selected pieces written for Dowser.org. There is also an introductory essay that analyzes social entrepreneurship’s potential for sustainable social change.
Link to the book: https://www.smashwords.com/
(via email submission)
Crowdfunding has the potential to ignite impact investing.
How? Well, for starters crowdfunding is inherently social. Founders of companies and potential investors can talk openly on the web and exchange feedback, concerns, and ideas.
More importantly, when it comes to attracting investors, crowdfunding enables founders to bring to bear what’s called “social capital.” Social capital is essentially all the real and potential value stored in the relationships of the founders and the company.
Wendy writes to tell us about isanctuary.org, which brings sustainability to survivors of human trafficking through a fashion jewelry business.
Columbia Business School’s upcoming Social Enterprise Conference this year will be on Friday, October 5, 2012
Time: 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Location: Lerner Hall, Columbia University
Description: Aligning Strategy to Maximize Impact Ranging from startups to programs embedded in multinational organizations, social enterprise continues to thrive despite complex political and economic environments. Companies and organizations increasingly need to develop strategies internally and across their sectors to mobilize action and tackle major social and environmental issues. While traditional corporate strategy focuses on long-term profit maximization, more forward-thinking organizations are incorporating a broader spectrum of social gains into their organizational strategies. Leadership teams must consider the following questions to build successful strategies:
• What are best practices for developing an internal and external strategy that aligns your vision, mission, operations, and results while also engaging stakeholders and minimizing risk?
• What opportunities exist to build an ecosystem strategy across multiple organizations and sectors?
• What are the opportunities and limitations of pursuing strategies to scale organizations and initiatives to achieve sustained impact
By uniting industry experts, thought leaders and practitioners, the 2012 Social Enterprise Conference will delve deeper into the ways leaders and managers can use strategy as a tool to maximize social change. We will share success stories and challenges across a wide range of sectors and causes.
Conference website: http://www.
Jason Saul is the founder and CEO of Mission Measurement, a strategy consulting firm that helps its clients create value through social change. Here he writes about five takeaways from the 2012 Skoll World Forum:
The Skoll World Forum—an amazing alchemy of the world’s greatest social entrepreneurs, big thinkers, financiers, philanthropists, and academics—is often a zeitgeist of the latest thinking in the social sector, and this year didn’t disappoint. While the officially programmed theme of the conference was “flux,” the real themes played out in informal hallway chatter, over drinks with colleagues at the Oxford Retreat pub, and in the Twittersphere.
Having participated in a number of these informal “sessions”—in addition to moderating a formal one—I sat down to consider what I heard. Here are my five main takeaways:
1. It’s OK to make an economic return from solving social problems.
2. Measurement is no longer optional.
3. We’re in an age of social entrepreneurship 2.0.
4. It’s cool to be corporate.
5. People want to move the needle.
Continue reading here.
In charity circles, people wondered about the motives of the Unitus board members, at least four of whom had invested in SKS Microfinance themselves and thus would reap profits from the I.P.O.