American Public Media’s Public Radio Business Show Is Looking For Stories About Social Entrepreneurship

American Public Media’s public radio business show Marketplace ( reports on entrepreneurs and the issues they face. American Public Media is also doing a new kind of journalism that involves reaching out to communities of people with knowledge, expertise and experience on a topic.

To support Marketplace’s entrepreneurship coverage, APM is building a Public Insight Network of entrepreneurs from around the country (and the world) to inform reporting. Marketplace is also very keen on exploring social entrepreneurship. So for all you social entrepreneurs out there, tell APM your experience, become a source for public radio, and help shape national media coverage of (social) entrepreneurship.

Tell APM what it takes to be a social entrepreneur, here
Give a more general description of your business, here
Sign up for the Public Insight Network without filling out either survey, here

Being in the Network means receiving an email about once a month asking for your insight on stories APM is working on. You can respond if the questions connect with your experience or delete the email if they don’t. You can unsubscribe any time.

Project Agape– A Tech Social Venture Leverages Facebook’s Network

Called “Causes on Facebook,” it allows you to create a cause, or promote an existing one to their friends You can pick from 1.5 million non-profits in the U.S. It uses Facebook’s “feed” feature to notify friends when you’ve joined a new cause. Finally, it allows you to promote the cause in other ways, building up points through a reward system, letting you show off virtual trophies that you win on your profile page after say, donating money. Ultimately, it wants to make it easier to raise money for causes. It launches with formal partnerships with ten non-profits.

A few things to note about Project Agape. First, the founder, Sean Parker, is most popular for his cofounding of Napster. Since then he’s led several high profile internet startups but this is his first philanthropic venture. He was CEO of Facebook at one point, and it was most likely this connection that allowed him to get early access to Facebook’s new platform, which was just announced today.

“Causes on Facebook” was announced today with the “intent to showcase the strengths of Facebook’s new “Platform,” a set of tools to allow developers to build applications upon Facebook. The screenshots over at Venturebeat are pretty cool. You can check them out directly here and here.

NOW on PBS: A Series About Social Entrepreneurs And Their Ideas

There’s a new project launched by NOW on PBS covering social entrepreneurs.

Called “Enterprising Ideas,” the project will feature monthly broadcasts on social entrepreneurs, beginning with this Friday. We’ve created an unprecedented five-minute “preview” on YouTube of this Friday’s show, which I like to call “One Million Served:”

Here is the copy from the website about the first show which features a social entrepreneur in Kenya who used the franchise model to deliver affordable healthcare:

Can the quality of healthcare in developing nations be transformed by the same principle that makes fast food such a success here? On Friday, May 25 at 8:30 pm (check local listings), NOW travels to Kenya to investigate an enterprising idea: franchising not burger and donut shops, but health services and drugs in rural Africa. American businessmen are teaming with African entrepreneurs to spread for-profit clinics around the country in the hopes of providing quality, affordable medical care to even Kenya’s poorest people. But can they overcome obstacles like extreme poverty, corruption, fraudulent services, and long distances to establish a sustained solution to a chronic problem?

NOW is also launching a new website on May 25th at that will feature a blog, a contest for social entrepreneurs, tips and tools, and much more.

Additional coverage: Boing Boing- PBS “Now”: Can US entrepreneurial know-how save lives in Africa?

The Ultimate Resource- Free Markets – People Making Their Own Decisions

This is a day late but I just wanted to blog about this new series that aired yesterday night on HDNet.

Free Market incentives are spectacularly changing lives and entire economies over much of the world. In the last 25 years, hundreds of millions of people– 400 million in China alone– have climbed out of the dire poverty of living on less than $1 per day. It is the largest movement out of poverty in human history.

Yet, two thirds of the world’s population– four billion people– still does not have the tools to thrive in free markets. Forced to operate outside the rule of law, they have little education, no legal identity, no fungible property, no credit, no capital, and thus few ways to prosper.

However, when given the incentives and the tools, these people are proving they can apply their free choice, intelligence, imagination and spirit to dramatically advance their well-being and that of their families and communities.

The documentary features Muhammad Yunus, winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, founded the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, Hernando de Soto, founder of The Institute for Liberty and Democracy in Peru, James Tooley, British professor of education policy, and Johan Norberg, Swedish author and scholar.

Thanks to the Marginal Revolution blog for putting this on our radar.

Acumen Fund In BusinessWeek

Check out this story in the current Businessweek on the Acumen Fund–
Designing Change: How venture philanthropy fund Acumen uses design thinking to help solve real-world problems

Here’s some text from an email by founder Jacqueline Novogratz:

We wanted to share with you an article on Acumen Fund that just appeared in BusinessWeek’s “Inside Innovation” supplement (the March 12 issue, now on newsstands). The story, an extension and update of what was featured in their online magazine last fall, is also up on their website – along with a few web-only features, including slide shows on our investment in drip irrigation and about the Acumen Fund Fellows.

We’re excited, of course, to be able to share the Acumen Fund message, but more so about the growing interest there seems to be in market-based models for addressing problems of poverty.

OneBrick and ProductRed

I found this review of philanthrophic websites via I’ve blogged about most of the sites but two I have not covered are OneBrick:

One Brick is a commitment-free nonprofit volunteer organization pointing you quickly to what needs to get done and who needs your help. Sign up on your terms to bypass the tedium of long-term planning, meetings or orientations.

and ProductRed:

Sometimes you don’t have to do anything but be consumer to help. Apple just announced the iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition. More than just a sassy color – Apple donates $10 of the purchase price to the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa.

As always, if you hear of any other organizations that are trying to do good online, please shoot me an email!

A “For-Profit” Structure For Enables Social Entrepreneurship

Google’s founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, are planning to set up, the philanthropic arm of Google, as a for-profit with an initial “seed investment” of $1 billion “to tackle poverty, disease and global warming” (Link to NYTimes, sub required).

But unlike most charities, this one will be for-profit, allowing it to fund start-up companies, form partnerships with venture capitalists and even lobby Congress. It will also pay taxes.

It sounds like Brin and Page have thought long and hard about this and are convinced that the cost/benefit of a for-profit status makes sense for, which plans to kick things off by developing a hybrid car that runs on ethanol, gas, and electricity.

Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, believe for-profit status will greatly increase their philanthropy’s range and flexibility. It could, for example, form a company to sell the converted cars, finance that company in partnership with venture capitalists, and even hire a lobbyist to pressure Congress to pass legislation granting a tax credit to consumers who buy the cars.

I’m really excited about this development because it throws the weight of an 800 pound gorilla into the social entrepreneurship space. If can figure out a way to create both significant ROI and social ROI, it would give great validation to the idea of making money while doing good.

Microfinance- Making A Big Difference In The Developing World- A Plug For Kiva

Kiva Microfinance

Microfinance has gained tremendous momentum in the last year following a large infusion of venture capital. Two companies dominate the mindshare in this space: Prosper and Zopa.

However, a lesser known microfinance venture,, is already using the model to demonstrate remarkable social returns by focusing specifically on “loaning money to businesses in the developing world.”

BusinessWeek recently ran an article about Kiva and provided some great success stories:

For 15 years, Angel Asenov Isaev, a 29-year-old Gypsy living in Sliven, Bulgaria, worked in a bike repair shop in the center of town, struggling to save enough capital to start his own shop. About five months ago, Isaev applied for a $250 loan from a local microfinance institution (MFI) called REDC Bulgaria.

He got the loan, opened the business, and is now working seven days a week to keep up with demand. But the money didn’t come from Bulgaria: It came from America. That’s because REDC had partnered with a U.S.-based Web site,…

Check out this link to Businessweek for a slideshow on how Kiva is creating social value in the developing world.

I’m definitely a fan now, and will probably be purchasing a bunch of these gift cards soon.

A Charity Takes Medicine Into Its Own Hands

One World Health
Here’s a great story about a non-profit organization called OneWorld Health, which is trying to be the first non-profit pharmaceutical company.

Apparently, promising drugs are identified but not being developed because the drugs aren’t expected to make much money. OneWorld Health has identified one such situation in particular involving a disease called black fever, which inflicts several third world areas in the world. A potential cure was identified decades ago but never developed because it didn’t have the “market potential”. Here is where One World Health wants to step in:

A small charity based in San Francisco has conducted the medical trials needed to prove that the drug is safe and effective. Now it is on the verge of getting final approval from the Indian government. A course of treatment with the drug is expected to cost just $10, and experts say it could virtually eliminate the disease.

The article offers some compelling details and also describes the hurdles that One World Health will face in the near term.

CentroMigante Wins Development Category at MIT Business Plan Competition

Catching up on my reading and saw a good post on CentroMigante winning the Development category at MIT’s Business Plan Competition.

CentroMigrante combines developmental architecture with a self-help business model to offer a sustainable solution that provides clean, safe and affordable urban housing for impoverished, transient job seekers in developing countries.

World Bank’s Private Sector Development blog covers it here.