Here’s a plug for the Pace University Pitch Contest:

Thursday, December 6, 2007
5:00 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.

Pace University (east of City Hall)
1 Pace Plaza, NYC

3:30 – 5:00 Special Bonus Session on Technology Entrepreneurship, conducted by faculty from the Ivan G. Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems

Directions to Pace’s Downtown NYC Campus:


  • $1,000 prize for the top New Business Concept and for the best Social Venture.
  • Pace is partnering with Ashoka/Youth Venture and the M.I.T. Enterprise Forum of NYC. Ashoka/Youth Venture will provide EVERY team with a successful Social Venture Action Plan with $1,000 in seed funding (i.e. 30 teams = $30,000). Ashoka is one of the oldest and most respected social entrepreneurship organizations in the world. The M.I.T. Enterprise Forum was founded in 1978 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Alumni Association.
  • David Bornstein, author of How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, is the Keynote Speaker.
  • The event is being sponsored by Goodwin Procter LLC, one of the nation’s leading law firms.
  • The Judging Panel includes: Thatcher Bell of DFJ Gotham Ventures; Lori Smith, a partner at the law firm Goodwin Procter LLC, Liz Hamburg, co-host of Launchpad on WOR Radio 710, and Bernie Siegel, a CPA and professional business coach.
  • Last year’s contest drew participants from a number of outside universities, including Harvard and Princeton.
  • The winner of the Third Annual Pace University Pitch Contest, Bill Phelps, is one of only three student Finalists in Fortune Small Business’ 5th Annual Business Plan Competition –
  • Pace’s Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship, SCI2 incubator, and Small Business Development Center are also supporting the Pitch Contest.
  • Detailed information and an online registration form can be found at Or contact Professor Bruce Bachenheimer at (212) 618-6580 or

    A Microfinance Story- Count me In For Women

    Here’s an interesting story about entrepreneurship and microfinance which appeared in the NYTimes today. It’s an article about Nell Merlino, who founded Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, an online microlender created to help finance companies owned by women. Here’s a good teaser from the article:

    The theory behind her business was that these companies would thrive if they had the capital. Instead she found that when she made capital available, only the owners of tiny businesses applied. The applicants had plans not to become huge, but merely less tiny.

    “They get to a certain point and they stall,” Ms. Merlino said.

    Nobel Peace Prize Winner Yunnus Criticizes Compartamos Bank

    Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunnus criticized Compartamos Bank for making a big profit from lending to the poor. PSD blog pulls the quote from this PBS show titled, “Who’s Making Money From Microcredit?“.

    Poor people’s willingness to pay high interest is not a justification for charging it, he says. Compartamos is not microcredit, it’s “raking in money off poor people desperate for cash.”

    It’s definitely a thin line and although the Yunnus quote doesn’t portray Compartamos in favorable light, I think it’s important to consider less extreme examples where it’s harder to see a distinct line between good and bad. At what interest rate would Yunnus not be upset? Some questions at the intersection where capitalism and socially responsible business meet.

    On a related note (since you are all here), check out FINCA, the microfinance organization that Natalie Portman is involved with– their Village Banking Campaign is trying to create 100,000 village banks by the year 2010.

    Members Project Winner Announced: Children’s Safe Drinking Water

    An American Express Members Project winner has been announced: Children’s Safe Drinking Water!

    Check out the video at Members Project. If you don’t want to watch the video, you can just go to the winner’s page. If you don’t feel like clicking anything, here’s the description for the winning project:

    Children’s Safe Drinking Water

    Description: For Two Cents We Can Change the World. Four thousand children die needlessly every day from drinking contaminated water. It’s a tragedy that hundreds of millions of people obtain their drinking water from polluted sources such as muddy rivers, ponds, and streams. This public health crisis can be addressed today through an innovative and low-cost technology that effectively purifies and cleans water while removing bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Right now millions of people in Africa, Asia, and the Americas are being reached by a not-for-profit project, but millions more are in need. Help us reach a goal of providing 2 billion liters of safe drinking water. For only two pennies a day a child can have safe drinking water. We’d love to hear your thoughts. In fact, Give Us Your Two Cents Worth. Thank you.

    Fulfilling Organization: US Fund for UNICEF

    Award: In addition to funding the winning project with $2,000,000, we are proud to announce American Express is donating a RECOGNITION AWARD of $100,000 to each of the organizations paired with the remaining 4 projects to be used in the spirit of the Cardmember’s idea.

    TreeHugger Blog Acquired By Discovery

    Congrats to the folks at TreeHugger! Discovery Channel Acquires For $10 Million

    Leading up to the launch of their Planet Green network in 2008, Discovery had appeared flush in original content, but not so heavy in terms of what they would project online. In an incredible move, it’s now been revealed that, the number one green site on the Internet, has been acquired for a cool $10 million.

    Citi Will Plant A Tree On Your Behalf If You Go Paperless

    I love seeing programs like this. In conjunction with The National Arbor Day Foundation, Citi will plant a tree on your behalf if you enroll in paperless statements. Here’s the text from the message:

    Enroll in Paperless Statements today, and Citi will plant a tree on your behalf.

    Maybe you recycle. Maybe you drive a hybrid car. Then again, maybe you don’t. That’s why Citi has created an easy way for you to help protect our environment.

    When you enroll in Paperless Statements, Citi will donate one tree on your behalf to the National Arbor Day Foundation, who will then work to plant your tree where it’s needed most. By replenishing our national forests, you’ll be taking a significant step in keeping our air and water clean. In fact, the net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day (US Dept of Agriculture).

    ShopGreen- A Shopping Guide For Eco-Friendly Products has launched ShopGreen, a shopping engine that highlights products that “promote a smart, sustainable approach to environmental living”. Products range from “organic t-shirts to Energy Star-compliant PCs”.

    ShopGreen donates 5% of all profits to charities that promote environmental conservation. Each month, ShopGreen posts a new selection of green charities. Shoppers can vote for a charity of their choice each month. At the end of the month, ShopGreen sends 5% of all profits to the organization with the most votes.

    Interesting Facts About Digital Waste

    Think about this:

    Each year, between 20 and 50 million tons of electronic waste is generated globally. Most of it winds up in the developing world.

    Some of the most popular destinations for dumping computer hardware include China, India, and Nigeria. It can be 10 times cheaper for a “recycler” to ship waste to China than to dispose of it properly at home. With the market for e-waste expected to top $11 billion by 2009, it’s lucrative to dump on the developing world.

    The silver lining behind this mess is that recycling the e-waste is big business:

    Computers are much more than just wires and plastic; they are also a source of highly valuable metals, including gold, copper, and aluminum. One ton of computer scrap contains more gold than 17 tons of gold ore. Circuit boards can be 40 times richer in copper than typical copper ore. For this reason, workers in e-waste dumps in the southern Chinese city of Guiyu carefully sort the computers’ hardware and melt down the most valuable parts.

    However, melting down the metals releases toxic chemicals into the environment and there isn’t any incentive to find a safer and more environmentally friendly way at this point. Check out the slide show and the rest of the story here, which I found via Slashdot.

    Win $1,000 for Your Favorite Cause

    Just passing this along from Squidoo:

    Earlier this week, we announced a photo contest in conjunction with VolunteerMatch called Kindness in Focus.

    Here’s how it works:

    1) You send in great photos that capture moments of everyday kindness
    2) The community votes on their favorites
    3) The two people who submitted the best pictures win $1,000 each, to donate to the nonprofit of their choice.

    For all the details on how to enter, check out