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74 posts tagged social entrepreneurship

"StartSomeGood" Starts Lots of Good

Alex Budak got the idea for StartSomeGood while living in India (be sure to ask Alex about the rat temple when you talk to him).  The poverty he saw there was unlike anything he’d previously experienced and he realized that he needed to be a part of the solution.  With an Undergraduate Degree from UCLA and an MPP from Georgetown University he was ready to make something happen.

The real epiphany he’d had was that a few large organizations would never have the breadth to deal with all of the problems he was seeing, meaning that the world needed a catalyst to help people create many new organizations to tackle individual problems.

Alex met his partner, Tom Dawkins, while working at Ashoka.

Together, they are making a mark on the world.  Their one-year old web service, StartSomeGood, has helped dozens of new social project, venture and not-for-profits raise money to do some good in the world.  Some are one-time projects and others are launching organizations to really have an impact.

Typically, a company will raise just a few thousand dollars on the SSG site, but one group, The Do Good Bus, was able to raise over $100,000 on the site.  Traveling with the band, Foster the People, a busload of volunteers went from city to city tackling service projects everywhere they went.  The money raised on the site provided the funds for the bus and travel expenses.

A group of high school students calling themselves the “Oakland Dons" raised just over $1,000 to create a program to encourage people to eat a more healthy diet.  They were able to negotiate discounts from health food stores for those most at risk and then provided the coupon books to them free of charge.  Others could purchase the coupon books as well.

While SSG is often called a “crowd-funding” source, Alex suggests the label “peer funding” better describes what they do.  SSG provides a vehicle for people to get their existing community to participate in their new social venture.

So, that’s how Alex and Tom are making their mark on the world.  How will you make yours?

Right now you can have a meaningful impact on your favorite cause with just $5.00.  Skip the rest of this post and do it now!

While living here in China this last year I’ve been working on my new book called Your Mark on the World, to empower people to do more for their chosen causes (charity, not-for-profit organization or social venture) both in terms of time and money.  

Your Mark on the World will include stories about more than a dozen different causes and the people who are working to make a difference in the world.  You will be touched by the story of Mary, a young Kenyan girl who ran away from home to avoid the traditional mutilation that girls receive when they reach puberty and are subsequently married off.  You will be inspired by the Smith family from Idaho that is traveling around the world right now doing service, like providing loving care for leprosy patients  near Chennai, India.  Your heart will break with mine as you read about Amanda—who devoted her life to care for cast-off children in China, those born with a variety of birth defects—as she battles stage four cancer.

In order to give more causes an opportunity for exposure in the book and to bring attention to all of the good things going on in the world to inspire even more good, I’ve launched a fundraising campaign at StartSomeGood.com.  You can pledge $5.00 to receive a digital copy of the book as soon as it is published in July.  For that small gift, you’ll also get to name your favorite cause and have your name listed in the acknowledgements, along with your cause.  If you are passionate about a cause, you can pay more to give your cause more exposure in the book and receive other rewards as well.  

You can also help determine what I write about.  I will finish the book after the campaign ends, so the last chapter I write will be about the most often sponsored cause among all the donors to this campaign.  So, if you are passionate about helping your cause raise money and get more attention, invite your friends from that cause to join the campaign, too.  

It is important to understand that I will devote myself full time to promoting this book for at least six months.  Lots of people will read it.  It may not ever be a best seller, but I’m convinced that we can get the book into the hands of tens of thousands of people and spread the ideas about service and philanthropy even further!

Please, help me start some good today by clicking here to give $5 for your copy of Your Mark on the World!  What is your favorite cause?

To read the entire article, click the link above.

A guest post from my great friend Devin D. Thorpe, author of Your Mark On The World. A Cornell-educated senior executive with more than 25 years experience as an investor and in senior corporate roles, he made the major life decision a little more than a year ago to refocus his life, beginning with a year of teaching in China, leading to the rediscovery of a purpose-driven life. Now he is a social entrepreneur. 

A little more than a year ago, Cornell-educated Devin D. Thorpe walked away from a 25-year business career to become a social entrepreneur

More and more, entrepreneurs are not satisfied with creating a business that delivers a great product, generates a profit and creates value (read wealth), but instead want their enterprise to directly impact a social problem from poverty to global warming.

Some social entrepreneurs  are running for-profit businesses with a clear and specific social mission integrated into the business model while others are launching traditional not-for-profit businesses.

To read the entire article, click the link above.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in cooperation with the United Nations Foundation, Mashable, UNDP, 92Y andEricsson are hosting the Social Good Summit in New York City this weekend.  Even if you can’t go to New York, you can participate.

Let’s be clear about a few things.  If you are or have ever hoped to become a social entrepreneur this is your time.  The world needs you to engage now.  Not because things are dire, but because things are so hopeful.  There has never been a time in history when we’ve had more resources available to bring to bear on the world’s biggest problems.

To read the entire article, click the link above.

If money is the only thing stopping you from doing something good in the world, stop waiting and start doing some good!

Nothing better symbolizes entrepreneurship than fundraising.  Social entrepreneurs are no different.  Today, there are a host of on-line resources for crowdfunding that social entrepreneurs can use to fund their projects, films, books, and social ventures.  Today, I’ll briefly profile eight.

  1. NEW YORK, NY - MAY 01: Yancey Strickler, Cofou...

    NEW YORK, NY - MAY 01: Yancey Strickler, Cofounder, Kickstarter attends Wired Business Conference in Partnership with MDC Partners at the Museum of Jewish Heritage on May 1, 2012 in New York City. (Image credit: WireImage for Wired via @daylife)

    Kickstarter.com:  Kickstarter is the 800 pound gorilla in crowdfunding, originally designed and built for creative arts, many technology entrepreneurs now use the site, some reporting to have raised millions of dollars.  The Kickstarter funding model is an all-or-nothing model.  You set a goal for your raise; if your raise exceeds the goal, you keep all the money, otherwise your supporters don’t pay and you don’t get anything.  This protects supporters from some of the risk of your running out of money before your project is completed.

Report from the Social Good Summit Salt Lake City: Collaboration

Pamela Atkinson, advisor to Utah Governor Herbert, Presbyterian Elder, and tireless advocate for the homeless and refugees in Utah, kicked off the Social Good Summit Global Conversation event in Salt Lake City with an inspiring challenge for us to all get involved, reminding us that her favorite acronym is “Together Everyone Achieves More.”

Paul Christenson, representing The Road Home, explained the mission and purpose of the Salt Lake City homeless shelter, commending them for their efficiency and their effectiveness in returning people to permanent housing.

Ted McAleer, Executive Director of USTAR, explained his agency’s capabilities in providing support to entrepreneurs, offering to engage with Utah’s nonprofits as well.

Maxine Margaritis of the Utah Chapter of the American Red Cross talked about the various roles of the Red Cross, emphasizing disaster preparedness for businesses, including the nonprofits in the community, offering to be of assistance to those in the room.

Kurt Micka, Executive Director of Utah Partners for Health, talked about the opportunities for his organization to serve the community created by gaps in the existing health insurance programs, noting that his organization can provide the same care for $20, that a doctor charges $150 for in her office and that the emergency room charges $1300 to do.

Zach Bale, Communications Director of the Utah Chapter of the Volunteers of America, talked about the organization’s dual role in providing help for Utah’s homeless population and those struggling with substance abuse; Utah’s VOA shares roots with Pamela Atkinson’s homeless outreach program.

Amanda Thorderson who sits on the Salt Lake City Board of Education and also works full time at the Rape Recovery Center talked about the roles and functions of both organizations.

Darryl Alder of the National Parks Council of the Boy Scouts of America noted that boy scouts completing the requirements for the Eagle Scout rank are donating millions of hours each year—just in his Council.  The scouts represent an untapped resource of organized volunteer labor for all sorts of projects; just ask a boy scout that you know.

Christian Harrison, a partner in the Kentlands Initiative, discussed his vision for developing the Granary District of Salt Lake City, until recently, a decaying part of the urban landscape.  The Kentlands Initiative hopes to create a vibrant new version of the community that preserves its historic and neighborhood essence.

Jason Watson, a Vice President at Wells Fargo Bank and volunteer President of the MountainWest Capital Network reviewed the multiple roles played by the organization, all seeking to foster entrepreneurship and economic growth in Utah, including their annual Utah 100 Event to be held next month.

Brad Bertoch, President of the Wayne Brown Institute, a venture accelerator that has been facilitating successful capital placements for early stages businesses for several decades that now targets the creation of 50,000 new jobs within five years in Utah.

Hand Up for Social Good Award

Do you know a great social entrepreneur who deserves a hand up? So many of the good people I’ve met over the last few years who are doing social good, don’t get nearly as much credit as they deserve. You can help me find and recognize great do-gooders around the world; then we’ll give them a hand up.

Your Mark on the World, my new organization, will be giving $1,000 to a small social enterprise or nonprofit (less than $100,000 in 2012 revenue).  Any small organization in the world is eligible to enter. Nominations or applications must be submitted before the end of January 2013.

All those who submit applications or nominations will receive a code that entitles them to receive a free download of my book, Your Mark On The World.

Please complete the application below:

Crowdfunding Workshop Report

This morning, we held the first Crowdfunding Workshop for Social Entrepreneurs. It was a great success, with participation from as far away as Zambia! 

The live, private video chat format provided for excellent interaction and an opportunity for the workshop to be genuinely consultative. 

We’ve scheduled five more workshops. We’ll run the series at no charge this time, but when we repeat the series there will be a modest fee for participation.

If you’d like to join us for the next one—even if you missed the first session—be sure to register here to receive the information on how to participate.

The next session will be Friday, March 1, 2013 at noon EST.

Everyone needs a hand up once in a while

Voting for our “Hand Up for Social Good” Award will end on Thursday at midnight (MST). Thousands of people have voted, which demonstrates how much people care about seeing the world become a better place.

Remember, the finalist will receive a $1,000 prize and the second place organization will receive $500 (from a generous philanthropist).

All of the finalists are doing great things and making the world a much better place. I’m grateful to them for their work and to all of their supporters who make it possible.

If you haven’t voted yet, please take a moment to review the list of finalists at Forbes.com and cast your vote.

"Hand Up" Voting Ends; Suspense Builds for Announcement

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After tabulating thousands of votes, we have our winners. The Hand Up for Social Good Award winners will be announced next week.

At this point, even the winners do not know they’ve won. I’m working on profiles for the first and second place winners. The first place winner will receive $1,000 and will be profiled in my Forbes column next week and the second place winner will receive $500 and will be profiled here at yourmarkontheworld.com.

You will be inspired by both stories, I can tell you that much. You won’t want to miss out on hearing about these remarkable people and the good they are doing in the world. You’ll feel empowered to change the world, too!

Winners Announced: World’s Greatest Small Social Entrepreneurs Recognized

Today Your Mark On The World announces the winners of the Hand Up for Social Good Awards for the best small social entrepreneurs based on their mission and impact.

The winner, who will receive $1,000 from Your Mark On The World, The Yonkofa Project, has been profiled in my Forbes blog.

The runner up for the Hand Up for Social Good Award which comes with a $500 prize from an anonymous philanthropist goes to The Senase Project.

For this post, I interviewed The Senase Project founder Christopher Toone. I’ll share that interview with you directly and unedited as Chris tells his story much better than I could.

How did you come to start The Senase Project?

Read more

Utahn Devotes Himself to Serving Uganda

This afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting John Shavers, the founder of the Interethnic Health Alliance which is a small nonprofit serving the people of Uganda. 

Originally, the organization was founded to serve Utah women in the prison system who had HIV/AIDS or were at risk for contracting and spreading it. When their state funding ran out, they refocused their efforts on Uganda and have been working there since.

Shavers, the gray-haired gentleman near the center of the photo of women supported by IHA microloans, is a clinical psychologist. He will leave in two weeks to Uganda for the 8th time in the past several years. 

IHA describes its mission as follows:

OUR MISSION IS TO ASSIST THE RURAL COMMUNITES OF DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, PRIMARILY UGANDA, IN OBTAINING ADEQUATE HEALTH CARE, EDUCATION FOR THEIR CHILDREN & AN ADEQUATE WAGE. WE DO THIS THROUGH ENGAGING IN DIALOG’S WITH COMMUNITY MEMBERS AROUND ISSUES IDENTIFIED BY THE MEMBERS THEMSELVES. OUR CURRENT MAJOR INITIATIVES ARE; ASSISTANCE IN STARTING SELF-SUSTAINING BUSINESSES PROVIDING RESOURCES FOR SCHOOLS AND ORPHANAGES MITIGATING THE IMPACT OF DECLINING FUEL RESOURCES.

Presently, IHA is focused on five inititatives:

  1. Micro loans to women-managed groups.
  2. Clean water in rural schools.
  3. Solar power and lights for rural schools.
  4. Reusable hygiene kits for women.
  5. Computers for refugee families.

It is always a pleasure to meet someone like Shavers, with a real passion for action. He is not content to stand by while others suffer.

Off to Angola to See Some Good

On Thursday this week I’ll be leaving for Angola, a country in Sub-Saharan Africa. The purpose of my trip is to do research for a case study on impact investing that I’m writing for Forbes. I hope to gather enough information to make a good “Kindle Single” as well.

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Prior to my invitation to go, I knew nothing about the country. I’m learning as quickly as I can.

If you’ve ever been to Angola, please comment below. Tell me what you thought of the country, the food, the people, the opportunities and the challenges there. 

The case study I’m preparing will focus on Vital Capital, a private equity firm headquartered in Switzerland that invests exclusively in Africa and principally in Angola. 

This trip will help me to answer some key questions:

  • Can capitalism drive social good and still provide a return on the capital?
  • Does the need for a return on the capital impair or enhance the social impact of the investment?
  • How do you manage a project to have both social impact and economic returns?
  • How do nonprofits, governments and capitalists work together to greatest effect?

What other questions do you think I should explore? Please comment below.

I’m grateful to the folks at Vital Capital who are underwriting the cost of the trip.

True Global Ties: UCLA Student Offers a Simple but Powerful Concept to Change the World in a Small Way: Buy a Bracelet

This is a guest post from Steven Ng.

Imagine change through e-commerce.

That is the simple but powerful concept at the core of UCLA student Steven Ng’s Global Ties, a new non-profit campaign joining in the fight against world hunger.

When Ng, a San Francisco native and a junior at UCLA, participated in a volunteer trip to Kenya, Africa, he never thought that his experience would inspire him to launch a worldwide campaign against hunger. As a result of his life-altering trip, Ng created the non-profit organization, Global Ties. While on his trip to the African country, he captured footage to create a campaign portraying the Global Ties mission, goals, ideas and spotlighting sobering global hunger statistics.

The Global Ties’ campaign offers visitors to his website an opportunity to purchase three types of bracelets, which Ng himself created:  Black Rope Silver Bracelet, Brown Leather Rose Gold and Black Leather Gold. The goal of these bracelet sales is to help feed the hungry worldwide. These bracelets represent the Global Ties theme as they can be wrapped around the wrist with a “G” as the charm to hold the “ties” together.

Ng has experienced  the success of a prospering startup through not only his parents’ businesses when growing up in San Francisco, but his own company, Dash Wallets, which he recently launched through kickstarter to help fund his education. He hopes  to not only see Global Ties aid with the world’s hunger problems but to eventually expand to take on  other global issues including HIV/AIDS, clean water and cancer

Global Ties’ crowd funding campaign can be found on indiegogo.com with current bracelet styles. Every bracelet/necklace is manufactured in environmentally friendly facilities.

Black Rope Silver: Feed 12 individuals. Cost: $9.00image

Brown Leather Rose Gold: Feed 24 individuals. Cost: $15.00image

Black Leather Gold: Feed 48 individuals. Cost: $25.00image

For additional information: http://www.global-ties.org/

To contribute: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/global-ties-help-end-hunger.

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