Social Entrepreneurs In Action: Build It Green! NYC

BIGNYC.ORG and the Community Environment Center recently opened ReStore with Habitat for Humanity NYC. Here is the low-down on ReStore:

The ReStore , is New York City’s only non-profit retail outlet for salvaged and surplus building materials; it is co-sponsored by Habitat-NYC and Build It Green! NYC, a program of the Community Environmental Center (CEC).

Salvage & Surplus:
The ReStore Warehouse sells salvaged and surplus building materials at the warehouse — great products at half or below their new price. And you help keep perfectly useful material out of the landfill!

A Better NYC:
All proceeds help Habitat-NYC build affordable homes and support CEC’s environmental education programs.

So make money selling unused materials, and promote “deconstruction” and sell salvaged materials at ReStore. That’s what I call creating value!

Resource for Social Entrepreneurs: NetImpact

What is NetImpact? Their website does a good job explaining:

Net Impact is a network of more than 13,000 new-generation leaders committed to using the power of business to improve the world. It is also one of the most innovative and influential networks of MBAs, graduate students and young professionals in existence today.

Our members believe that business can both earn a profit and create positive social change. Through a central office in San Francisco and more than 100 chapters in cities and graduate schools around the globe, Net Impact offers a portfolio of programs that enable members to transform this ideal into measurable results.

Basically this is a network of:

* Thought-Leaders for the future of business
* CSR Leaders
* Social Entrepreneurs
* Environmental & Renewable Energy Experts
* Nonprofit Directors
* International Development Specialists
* Socially-Responsible Investors

It seems like a good place to network and has a slick business-network feel to it, probably because its core constituency is the business school population. I don’t offer that much in this post besides a summary so I’ll try to get a better scoop on this organization, and how it could help.

Social Entrepreneur Focus: Negroponte and his $100 laptop

Nicholas Negroponte is the founder of MIT’s Media Lab and a professor at MIT. Link to his bio.

He helped to establish the 2B1 Foundation, an organization dedicated to bringing online access and personal computing to children in remote areas of the world.

My goal is to specifically highlight his “One Laptop per Child” non-profit organization, which wants to distribute a $100 laptop so that every child in the world has access to the power of and knowledge of the internet.

The idea is pretty simple. As more and more stuff moves online, the digital divide will grow bigger and bigger. Those without computers will be left in the dark and with how fast the internet is growing, if we don’t close the gap soon, it will get harder to address. Thats why this laptop project and free/muni wifi initiatives have tremendous social value.

Getting Things Done (GTD): How to be a more productive social entrepreneur

For all you aspiring social entrepreneurs, check out the GTD links over at the bookmarking site delicious.
From the davidco website:

GTD® is the popular shorthand for “Getting Things Done®”, the groundbreaking work-life management system and book by David Allen that transforms personal overwhelm and overload into an integrated system of stress-free productivity.

GTD has a huge cult following among the tech crowd and I find the tips and pointers pretty useful when it comes to managing my day. This was the single-most useful tool that allowed me to multi-task and get a lot done. The thing is that I don’t use is 24/7/365, but when I need to get things done, I turn it on. It allows me to get a lot done (when I have a lot to do) and come away from the day feeling organized, unstressed, and in control. It might seems like there isn’t a really good place to start if you don’t own the book, but I don’t think this is really true. My point of entry was through here.

Browse through the links available, buy the book on Amazon, and even contribute your own ideas to the “gtd” tag on delicious.

What is a social entrepreneur? What is social entrepreneurship?

This should’ve been my first post but I’m glad I waited because I think there already exists a definition that is pretty good from the Skoll Foundation. Here is a bit about them:

The Skoll Foundation’s mission is to advance systemic change to benefit communities around the world by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs.

I’ll be adding them to my list of resources for social entrepreneurs (right over there on the side). In the meantime, you can peep their definition by clicking through to this link:

New category: list of practicing social entrepreneurs

I added another category– this is one for practicing social entrepreneurs. The first link I’ve posted in there is to a NY Times article that was published Dec 28, 2005 about Martin Dunn, who is doing some great work in New York City related to low income housing.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

What he builds is called supportive housing…Supportive housing is aimed at keeping people with disabilities or special needs out of institutions and off the streets by integrating them into buildings with working families as neighbors and offering them a panoply of on-site social services, counseling and supervision. It is a concept embraced by the state and city, which have signed an agreement pledging $1 billion over the next 10 years to such housing.

Resources for social entrepreneurs

Just a reminder to those of you social entrepreneurs surfing on through. I offer a list of charitable services to social entrepreneurs and they can be found under the “Pages” menu on the top right of the page you are currently viewing. If you are interested, feel free to shoot me an email. In addition, several people have contacted me to donate their time and services. If you’d like to help out, definitely email me and I’ll add you to my list. My email is john at socialroi dot com.

On a tangent, I just found this site called Favorville that does something similar to what I’m doing. Its basically a Web 2.0 idea thats trying to create a favor exchange. I haven’t used it yet but let me know if you think its worth checking out. I’ll check it out soon– in fact, reviewing and publicizing sites like this is one of my goals with this website so be sure to check back for more pieces of companies and services like these.

A community of social entrepreneurs isn’t well publicized but I’ve been hanging out there recently. It seems like a nice little community so if you are a social entrepreneur and looking for a community of people to share your interests with, head over and dive right on in. The people are pretty nice and you’ll recognize some companies from Fast Company’s Social Capitalist Awards.