Alltop répertorie de nombreux articles sur l'entrepreneuriat social à travers le monde.
As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
- Constantine P. Cavafy
Athens – March 12, 2014 – Entries are now open for “Destination: Change. New Solutions for Greece,” a competition hosted on the online Ashoka Changemakers platform to source, highlight and catalyze new solutions and approaches to problem solving in Greece.
- 489,906 visitors to the three Flagstaff, Arizona area national monuments (Sunset Crater Volcano, Walnut Canyon and Wupatki) spent $26,362,000 in nearby communities which supported 337 jobs in those communities
- 483,334 visitors to Fire Island National Seashore in the state of New York spent over $19 million in nearby communities which supported 206 jobs
- 49.5 million visitors to national parks in the greater Washington, D.C. area spent $928.6 million in nearby communities which supported over 12,000 jobs
- 1.7 million visitors to the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area in the state of Washington spent over $71 million in nearby communities which supported 899 jobs
- 12,073,658 visitors to national parks around New York Harbor spent $394,399,300 million in nearby communities which supported 4,395 jobs
- 802,503 visitors to the five Parks in Western Pennsylvania spent over $44 million in nearby communities which supported 677 jobs
11.03.2014 The Land of Fires, Italy's “Gateway to Hell”
11.03.2014 The XO-1 laptop is history
When I dove into the numbers from The Urban Institute's Nonprofit Almanac 2012 yesterday I made a classic mistake - one I'm usually telling others to avoid. I got lost in the numbers that were presented, and failed to step back and ask "Is what is being counted here what really matters?" "What are we not asking, what do we not know?"
The data that the Almanac presents are important and they raise a number of important questions, including and going beyond those I posted. But they do not represent all the ways we use private resources for public benefit and their meaning and implications will always be limited taken out of this broader context. As commenters on the post reminded me - what about DAFs? There are tens of billions of dollars in donor advised funds - yet they are nowhere in the Almanac.
This is important because DAFs have been with us for decades, and we still don't count them. The questions I raised about political funding - which are attributable to a much more recent phenomenon of explosive "dark money" flowing through organizations chartered as nonprofits - is nowhere to be seen. These flows matter, but you'd never know to think about them from the data presented. This is similarly true with funding from impact investments, and with the many types of social businesses, hybrid enterprises, and "for benefit" corporations putting those funds to work.
In the very first Blueprint (2010) I shared my attempt at showing the different, but related and mutually influential, sources of funding and enterprises that make up a more complete universe of how we use private resources for public benefit. I argued then, and am still arguing today, that we need to consider the funding and the enterprises as part of interconnected space (we've dubbed it the social economy) in order to really understand who's doing what, if revenue is growing or declining, and where the boundaries of different sectors should be drawn. Here's a version of that picture (taken from the Blueprint 2012 and used in just about every speech I've given since 2010)
I've used this graphic so often I hate it. I've spent five years trying to map the changes in this universe - it's high time we all started working to map the fullness of these phenomenon. If Neil deGrasse Tyson can bring back Carl Sagan's Cosmos, surely we can update our understanding of how we use private money for public benefit - and track the data accordingly.
We need data on nonprofits, benefit businesses, and politically active social nonprofits in one place, tracked over time, so we can answer questions such as - "Is there more or less money involved?" "More or fewer enterprises?" "Who does what?" and, most important, "How should we monitor, oversee, provide incentives for, and regulate all of this?"
“You can study and still not find a job, but if you can farm, you can go and do something for yourself.” Francisco, 15
Young people in Africa face many obstacles as they enter the world of work, but a junior farming program is helping to clear their paths.
If Africa is to prosper, its young and rapidly growing labor force must prosper – above all in agriculture. Farming is the continent’s biggest employer and biggest potential engine of economic growth.
The generation entering the African labor force now is the most educated ever, say the authors of a new World Bank report, but employment opportunities haven’t improved. Few wage jobs exist. Most young people work for themselves or their families on small farms or in household businesses. Underemployment in the informal sector is widespread, meaning that young people live in poverty or near poverty even when they work hard in fields and shops.
Started by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization in 2003, Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools have given life-enhancing skills to 20,000 12- to 18-year-olds across 20 countries. Here are seven reasons for their success in preparing youth to build better livelihoods:
1. The schools bridge the gap between supply and demand for vocational training.
Most young people in rural areas don’t get past primary school. But Africa’s few formal agricultural schools and programs require at least some secondary education. In Junior Farmer Schools, young people who have no other avenue to vocational training learn modern farming skills.
2. The schools complement formal education.
Literacy and numeracy lead to better farm incomes, in part because they provide the foundation for learning modern farming techniques. Since Junior Farmer Schools offer vocational training after school hours and admit only 12- to 18-year-olds, they don’t compete with the formal education system. In fact, some are based in primary schools, where they have helped boost enrollment, attendance and performance.
3. The schools minimize opportunity costs.
Though classes are free, they require a modest investment of time. The weekly commitment of about 10 hours over a few days allows young people to go to school or work full time on a farm or in a household business.
4. The schools build a broad range of skills that enhance productivity.
Young people learn about modern farming practices, including pest management, soil and water conservation, horticulture and livestock management. But farming skills alone won’t enable them to seize opportunities and face challenges and risks in their lives. So the curriculum also builds life skills, such as nutrition, child rights and protection, HIV/AIDS prevention and gender awareness as well as business skills like budgeting and marketing. Vocational and life skill topics are creatively integrated in the curriculum. For example, units on soil fertility are paired with units on nutrition. And participatory learning methods help build critical thinking and behavioral skills, like self-confidence.
5. The schools help bring the poorest and most vulnerable young people into the mainstream of economic and community life.
Rural youth lack access to opportunities, services and networks. This is especially true for girls, young people who are out of school, and orphans. Tragically, Africa’s HIV/AIDS epidemic is creating a growing population of orphans who don’t have parents to teach them farming and other skills. Junior Farmer Schools target young people who tend to be excluded because of their age, sex and social status. Communities select an equal number of boys and girls while giving priority to those who are orphans or out of school.
6. The schools are community-driven.
The Food and Agriculture Organization and its government and U.N. partners provide technical and financial support to schools. But local communities and volunteers run them – sourcing plots of land, recruiting facilitators, selecting young people, assessing training needs, choosing the curriculum and monitoring and evaluating their progress. Communities tailor the program to local needs, assess and improve its effectiveness, and support schools with in-kind contributions. This decentralized approach fosters relevance and accountability while helping to reduce costs.
7. The schools help graduates move on to the next stage of their journey to decent livelihoods.
In their second year, participants apply and build on business skills gained in the first. Teachers guide them through the process of becoming entrepreneurs -- identifying opportunities and risks, creating business plans, and connecting with information and resources in the community. Resources may include markets, role models, microcredit, further vocational training in Farmer Field Schools (a kind of adult counterpart to Junior Farmer Schools), farmer groups, and relevant government services and programs.
Of course, young people in rural Africa need an environment of opportunity as well as skills to better their lives. Major new public and private investments are vital -- in agricultural research and technology, value chains, access to credit, irrigation systems, and roads for transporting goods to markets.
These investments must come from African leaders, donors in the developed world, and multinational and African companies. To judge by the plans and activities of the African Union, the Global Food and Agricultural Security Program set up by the G-20, and the Grow Africa partnership, the investment outlook for agriculture is promising.
Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools show that investing in the skills of young farmers makes good economic sense, even to poor rural communities. Now it’s time to expand the program so that young people can create a better future for themselves and for Africa.
11.03.2014 Tetra Pak Closer to Sustainability Goals
11.03.2014 GiveDirectly? Not So Fast. (Blog)
11.03.2014 iPhones Recycling Reaches Canada
Ideation’s next i2i Innovation Gathering will be at 31 Bits Headquarters on Wednesday April 2nd (7pm ~ 9:30pm) in Costa Mesa, CA. It will be an evening of networking, shared learning, and of course great food & drink! The event itself is only $25 per person and limited to 120 people. Our conversation for this upcoming evening will center [&hellip
The post i2i Innovation Gathering on Effective Networking & Collaboration appeared first on Charles Lee.
(3BL Media/Justmeans) – The World Bank, a leading global financier of biodiversity conservation, has said that biodiversity is critical to ending poverty and promoting shared prosperity for the millions who depend on nature for their livelihoods. It pointed out that the disappearance or decrease in number of animal, plant and marine species causes people, especially the poorest in the world, to suffer.
Animal, plant and marine biodiversity helps keep ecosystems functional. Healthy ecosystems allow people to survive, get enough food to eat, and make a living. 75 percent of the world’s poor live in rural regions and depend on nature for their food and livelihoods. Therefore, a commitment to alleviating global poverty is incomplete without a commitment to preserving biodiversity around the world.
The World Bank has actively invested more than $1 billion to protect nature and wildlife. The Bank is also the largest provider of development assistance to fight environment and natural resources crime, with $300 million invested in forestry, fisheries and wildlife law enforcement. At a time when habitats are disappearing and poaching is on the rise, collective action to protect biodiversity has become crucial.
The World Bank cites the case of Sierra Leone to show how biodiversity impacts livelihoods of the world’s poorest. In Sierra Leone, overfishing and pollution has drastically reduced the volume and diversity of fish stocks. The Bank engaged with communities to bring the marine ecosystem back from the brink. It helped improve surveillance and prosecution of illegal fishing, and provided training on sustainable fishing practices. Nutrition and livelihoods improved for local villages as a result.
The Bank’s support has also helped preserve 480,000 hectares of coastal zone in Guinea-Bissau for its resident marine life and an emerging tourism industry. By giving residents in Brazil’s Acre State resources to manage their forest resources sustainably, the Bank helped push deforestation rates down by 70% and raise real GDP by over 44%. A World Bank project that supported conservation and sustainable management of forests and rural areas in Honduras increased community incomes by over 300% and created over 8,000 jobs.
Source: The World Bank
Image Credit: Flickr via boretom
11.03.2014 What I learned from Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Are you an aspiring social change leader looking for tools to affect change in your community or specific area? Acumen and IDEO.org are partnering for a second time to offer Human-Centered Design for Social Innovation. The seven-week course is based on the fundamental belief that gaining a deep understanding of the needs, hopes, and aspirations […]
The post Human-Centered Design: Common Aspirations, Uncommon Action appeared first on Acumen.
11.03.2014 Ukraine’s Heroes — Everyday People
11.03.2014 Why upcycling is both a science and an art
Snowden appeared before thousands of technologists at the South by South West Interactive Festival on Monday, marking the first time he addressed the United States public after leaking the NSA scandal in June. He wasn’t present in person though, instead appearing on a livestream from Russia, where he currently resides after seeking asylum to the [...]
The post Edward Snowden gives speech at SXSW – “Would I do it again? Absolutely.” appeared first on The Grand Signal.
11.03.2014 AC4D Alumni at SXSWedu
11.03.2014 How I Overcame Fear of the Unknown
When I left home at eighteen, I knew nothing about the world. Or about myself, for that matter. My education at that point consisted of 12 years of primary and secondary schooling and 18 years of my dad yelling at me. As far as I knew, my existence was fairly normal. I volunteered for airborne school, a strange combination with the personnel clerk position I was to be trained for. But I ended up being assigned to a Special Forces unit.
Fashionistas now, for the first time, can see beyond clothing labels with the Fair Trace Tool developed by fair trade fashion company INDIGENOUS. This new tool, in the form of a QR code on hang-tags, offers transparency throughout the garment’s supply chain, including a glimpse of the artisans who actually made it and insight into the product’s social impact.
The post Fair Trace Tool Makes Supply Chain Transparency Fashionable appeared first on Triple Pundit: People, Planet, Profit.
A growing number of policymakers and law enforcements officers believe that a "kill switch," which would make smartphones useless when stolen, is the best solution to the "epidemic of violent smartphone thefts.” But U.S. wireless carriers don't seem to think it's such a great idea.
The post CSR Lessons From Mobile Industry’s ‘Kill Switch’ Opposition appeared first on Triple Pundit: People, Planet, Profit.
With performance improving, production volumes rising and costs on the decline, the combination of solar PV and intelligent battery storage systems -- dubbed "utility in a box" -- will enable more and more electric utility customers throughout the U.S. to cut the cord linking them to utility grids and usher in the end of the centralized electric utility business model, according to a new study.
The post Cut the Cord On Your Utility? It Could Be Possible Sooner Than You Think appeared first on Triple Pundit: People, Planet, Profit.
Many are learning that their choice of legal entity can make a big difference for them—in funding, governance and signaling—as they seek to drive positive social change. The two most popular legal forms, each designed with the mission-driven venture in mind, are the “low-profit limited liability company” or “L3C” and the “benefit corporation.”
The post Emerging Legal Forms Allow Social Entrepreneurs to Blend Mission and Profits appeared first on Triple Pundit: People, Planet, Profit.
The HEC Montreal Sustainability Challenge is a case competition and conference that affords MBA students from across Canada and abroad a unique opportunity to put their talents and skills to the test. Since 2010, the event has challenged students to develop practical solutions to complex business cases dealing with sustainability’s role in business.
This year, the preliminary rounds will take place on Thursday March 13. The final round and speakers’ forum, featuring experts in the sustainability space, will take place on Friday March 14.
The 2014 forum includes a panel discussion dealing with the specific topic of the case and featuring thought leaders from industry, academia, not-for-profit and consulting spheres including a keynote from Lorraine Smith, Director of SustainAbility’s New York office and Sidney Ribaux, Founder and Director of Montreal’s Équiterre.
Proceedings on the 14th are open to the public and will be held in the National Bank Amphitheatre of HEC Montreal’s 3000 Cote-Sainte-Catherine campus; please use this link to register. See schedule here.
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries has become a revolutionary movement most widely leveraged in the tech and startup circuits. There are numerous blogs, meetups, and now even The Lean Startup Conference dedicated to how entrepreneurs are applying Lean in their startups. Deepa Chaudhary of Dutiee was recently surprised when she heard that our organization, Lean […]
The post What Does Lean Startup For Social Good Look Like – An Interview With Dutiee appeared first on Lean Impact.
10.03.2014 Cartographies of Time: Part II
Project Announcement: Mobile Health Initiatives Mobilize-4-Fitness and Text4Wellness
ZeroDivide is pleased to announce our partnership with the Institute for eHealth Equity on two text-based initiatives targeting health outcomes in African-American Women.
The projects, Mobilize-4-Fitness and Text4Wellness, are both text messaging-based enterprises supported through the Aetna Foundation’s Digital Health Initiative, which seeks to implement and evaluate technology innovations to help address public health concerns among vulnerable and minority populations.
Text messaging is just one of many technology-based tools to address health care disparities in support of eHealth equity. By using culturally competent messaging to reinforce the social supports necessary to change behaviors, both projects will provide insight into the effectiveness of text messaging in changing health-related behaviors among the population of women most at risk for heart disease and thus lead to more opportunities to influence policies that make text messaging more affordable and accessible among those who can benefit the most.
These projects stand to reinforce both organizations' commitments to eHealth equity, and our partnership on the initiatives is designed to support widespread sharing of the projects’ results and the lessons learned. Follow the ongoing findings from these initiatives on Twitter with the #eHealthEquity hashtag. You can download the full press release here.
10.03.2014 The Power of Chocolate
10.03.2014 Lessons learned at the ONE Power Summit
10.03.2014 Open Forum: Share & Learn About Crowdfunding
Are you interested in the sharing economy? Have a crowdfunding project you’re looking to launch and wondering what platforms to use or how to prepare? We’re excited to share that we are beginning a collaborative program this month to provide the casual and conversational skill sharing you’re looking for. Open Forum: Crowdfunding will cover the ins and outs of crowdfunding platforms, best practices, and trends. This isn’t your typical boring panel; this is a conversation [...] Read More
10.03.2014 Uganda Community Farm
The Uganda Community Organic Farm, known simply as the "Uganda Community Farm", is a nonprofit agribusiness initiative that aims to equip rural farmers with hands-on skills on organic horticulture systems capable of emancipating their livelihoods above the poverty line - in a Self Sufficient manner. Our goal is to set a precedent for Africa's Rural Poor to take charge on their own exit from Extreme Poverty. Our Home Page: http://www.ugandafarm.org/
Project Needs and Beneficiaries
Interventions aimed at lifting rural communities out of extreme poverty (e.g. through the adoption of clean energy solutions, sustainable land use practices, income generating activities etc) tend to render themselves to a 'short-lived and very unsustainable impact' when the target poor communities do not assume a hands-on active role of furthering and/or sustaining innovations on their own.
Besides creating Financial Self Sufficiency in scaling our nonprofit's ongoing conservation work (on community forestry, alternative household energy and organic gardening) in Uganda's heavily deforested countryside, the farm shall contemporarily bring together and equip our target smallholder farmers to act for themselves out of extreme poverty (in a Self Help fashion), giving them the training and skills to grow and market their own food through sustainable and regenerative practices.
Potential Long Term Impact
By equipping rural farmers with hands-on skills on sustainable land use, as well as organic horticulture systems that have high/faster returns, the farm shall help the farmers exit extreme poverty in a self-sufficient manner. Second, the farm shall host a Community Reforestation Center training farmers on restoring their degraded lands through innovative agroforestry technologies. Finally, the farm shall be the training and extension center for our community work on alternative household energy.
Project Sponsor: Organic Perspectives
Theme: Economic Development | Location: Uganda
Funding to Date: $0 | Need:$95,000
Project #16716 on GlobalGiving.org
10.03.2014 Phone Call Phone Call
|$50 — fund the purchase of an internet modem|
$100 — fund the purchase of a scanner
$200 — fund the purchase of a flip camera
In Gayaza High School in Uganda students want to create an online library page with links to videos showing the processes of production within the small scale local enterprises in Uganda and where they are located.
Project Needs and Beneficiaries
The youth today are being encouraged to be job creators and not job seekers and they do not have a library from where they can learn about the possible businesses that have succeeded in Uganda. The Uganda lower secondary curriculum will be changing in 2017 to integrate entrepreneurship in the teaching areas and the teachers will have no library to use as a reference source.
Students will document the processes of production within the local enterprises in Uganda and create instructional videos that will be used for marketing the activities of the entrepreneurs by creating an online library page with links to these videos. This library will also be used to improve the teaching and learning process by providing the practical entrepreneurial aspects into the curriculum.
Potential Long Term Impact
Since it is an online product and a needs based library then we shall introduce our work to schools with the view of profiling other enterprises within their areas. This library needs to grow to include enterprises globally such that the youth can learn from a global village.
Project Sponsor: British Council
Theme: Education | Location: Uganda
Funding to Date: $0 | Need:$10,060
Project #16705 on GlobalGiving.org
Beyoncé’s single “Run the World (Girls)” includes a strong message of female empowerment. And, with female entrepreneurship on the rise, it could prove to be prophetic. A recent Babson College study identified [...]
The post HP LIFE Program Empowers Female Entrepreneurs around the World appeared first on SocialEarth.
Other subsections include (c) (4) - Civic leagues and social welfare organizations; (c) (5) - Labor, agricultural and horticulture organizations; (c) (6) - Business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards, and trade boards; (c) (13) - Cemetery companies; (c) (19) - War veterans organizations; (c) (21) Black lung benefits trusts; and (c) (40) Religious and Apostolic organizations.
Note Section 501 (c) does not include all churches or associations of churches, as these need not register with the IRS.
Recent headlines about the just released 2012 Nonprofit Almanac are focusing on the growth of nonprofit organizations - you can view highlights of the report here. Headlines include the breakneck pace of nonprofit formation in the last few years - which has been truly astounding. For example, from my read of the Urban Institute's data:
- Only two categories (of the 31) of nonprofits got smaller in number between 2010 and 2012 - private foundations and credit unions. The number of private foundations dropped from 101,690 to 98,746. The number of credit unions dropped from 2,816 to 2,472.
- Every other category grew. Some enormously. In two years:
- The number of 501 (c) (3) nonprofits increased by 260%, from 366,086 to 958,740
- The number of 501 (c) (4) nonprofits almost tripled, from 30,225 to 86,916
- 501 (c) (5)s increased from 22,327 to 46,812 (200% growth)
- 501 (c) (6)s grew in number from 36,442 to 63,998 (175% growth)
- Cemetery companies (c) (13) tripled - from 2,635 to 8,173
- Organizations not classified in any of the 30 subsections grew from 395 to 126,461. I can't even calculate that percentage increase!
Others will point to changes in public funding for services, the aging of the population, the return of veterans from two wars (Veteran organizations grew from 8,449 to 32,286) to explain some of the growth. The Affordable Care Act had an impact on hospitals and insurance companies and the recession of 2008 played some role.
I wonder if the classification or reporting systems changed, as the type of growth noted above - in a two year time frame - is astounding. I couldn't find an answer to this question in the study - would love details if anyone knows more about this.
I grew up in the Watergate era and was taught to follow the money. How is the growth in C4s, C5s, and C6s linked to the growth in funding for independent expenditures in political campaigns? This is the question I'd like answered. I've argued for years that the Citizens United case of 2010 was going to change the face of the nonprofit sector. By my math, the three types of nonprofits most effected by that Supreme Court decision (C4, 5, and 6) increased in number, collectively, by 108,692 newly registered organizations in 24 months. Given that every other category of organization but two also grew, and C3s grew by more than 250%, this represents a smaller percentage than in 2010. Is their growth simply in line with overall expansion? The real question is about the money they attract - is it an exclusive new source of funding for these three types of organizations? Will the rate of growth in these organizations track other changes or take on a life of its own?
*Language from The Urban Institute's Nonprofit Almanac 2012, just released.
10.03.2014 UK, Germany target 5G, ‘internet of things’
Launching a tech startup in Gaza means facing some unique challenges. Entrepreneurs must find ways around obstacles, like an unpredictable power grid or battling mountainous bureaucracy just to leave the country. Mohammed Awad is a standout member of a new cohort of Palestinian entrepreneurs who are beating these odds to build successful technology companies.
Awad’s startup, DWBI-Solutions, was recently selected to receive seed funding and mentoring from Oasis500, a Jordanian startup accelerator that partners with Mercy Corps through Gaza Sky Geeks, Gaza’s first and only startup accelerator. Awad, 33 and father of one, spoke with Global Envision about his experience as a Palestinian entrepreneur so far.
Global Envision: Your business delivers a service called Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence, a complex topic. How would you explain your business to a non-technical person?
Mohammed Awad: We create statistical reports for companies to make better decisions, and our main target is organizations that have many branches. We extract data from those branches, make some transformations so it’s in a common format, and make it available to top management on a unified portal so they can make better decisions.
Many organizations need DWBI to make more precise decisions. Most of the government ministries in Arab nations don’t have such solutions, and no vendors to provide them. We are the first regional providers with an original product that addresses this need.
What led you to turn your expertise in this topic into a business?
The idea came when I was working as a programming leader with the Malaysian ministry of higher education to help them better understand their students. We were using a Microsoft solution which had many limitations like expensive licenses and closed sourced software that was mostly incompatible with non-Microsoft products. I started thinking about a customizable product that we could package and resell, which led to my PhD research.
When will you officially launch?
We are an official, registered Jordanian company and are open for business. We’re going to have a very interesting and dynamic website, but it’s not quite perfect yet, so we’re still working on it.
How many people are on staff?
We have four full time employees and some part time employees who help us out with various projects.
How is DWBI-S financed? Do you have loans or investors?
We have Oasis500 funding through Gaza Sky Geeks, and the University of Palestine is funding salaries for our employees for one year.
What kind of office space do you and your team work out of?
We’re currently working in an office provided by the University of Palestine. There are three rooms, a small kitchen and all the technical infrastructure, which is everything we really need.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am very happy to say we have landed our first client. ACES is a Jordanian construction company with 1,500 employees and many different offices. The top management in Jordan wanted to see the progress of all their sales in these different offices. They were having each branch send Excel files with sales data to the main branch to be compiled, formatted and analyzed, which took months. We did a pilot product for them and they were amazed that what once took months literally took seconds with our solution.
Where would you hope to see the business one year from now? What would success look like to you?
I would like to see a company that has branches in the region, that can provide support to many different companies. And as we expand we would like to hire people in Gaza.
Who do you see as your biggest competitors and what sets DWBI-S apart?
We are the first in the region to have an original product; we’re competing with firms that are reselling solutions from companies like Microsoft. These products are usually very expensive, and we can offer a more customized and effective solution at a fraction of the cost.
Besides financing, what resources do you think are needed for others to launch startups in Gaza?
We really need the flexibility to leave Gaza. It takes months of suffering -- applying and reapplying -- just to leave. Lacking freedom of movement is a big impediment to success here. In Gaza we also lack the experience in launching startups. Hopefully we can help mentor people who come behind us.
What impact do you hope startups like yours will have in Gaza?
I hope it will have a strong impact in Gaza. The region needs local solutions, and if we’re successful we can hopefully hire hundreds of local people.
What's been your most valuable skill in launching the business? What advice would you give to other young entrepreneurs in Gaza?
I would say my most valuable quality has been patience, and my words of advice would be: Don’t give up. Startups are full of challenges, but I am confident that if we don’t give up, we will hit our targets eventually. I would also advise creative Gazans to find an opportunity they think could be successful, and to go ahead and launch a startup. Many of them might fail but many will also succeed. Startups are a great way to overcome the employment problem we have in Gaza.
People in Gaza are very hardworking. They just lack the guidance and leadership to get past their lack of experience. Opportunities like Oasis500 and Gaza Sky Geeks are so important to help them access the funding and network of mentors that can help them overcome those limitations.
10.03.2014 Data and the Human Touch
When Kevin was in kindergarten he had an organic brain injury, which forced him to have to relearn everything from walking to using the bathroom. There were several years where Kevin struggled in school because his vision was blurry and this made reading normal size print grueling. He could no longer keep up with his peers in the classroom.
One day when Sophia was in fifth grade, she suddenly went blind from an inexplicable disease. Sophia and her family were left confused and concerned about her future in the classroom. Braille books saved her from isolation and she became an insatiable reader. However, she soon encountered the frustrating “accessible book famine” because very few books available were available in Braille.
This reality changed when both Kevin and Sophia learned about the accessible online library Bookshare, an initiative of Silicon Valley technology nonprofit Benetech. With its rapidly growing collection of over 225,000 (and counting) accessible ebooks, Bookshare is the world’s largest library of its kind.
|Sixth grader Kevin Leong reads a Bookshare book on his iPad|
Every month, our staff receives letters from individuals whose lives have been touched by our work. These stories about the needs in our communities are data points of real, positive change. But do they measure the real impact we’re making in the lives of our beneficiaries? Can attribution hold up when it comes to measuring the human experience of hope, self-worth, or reconciliation?
Data is now a core resource. Tremendous shifts in data availability, access, and use are rapidly transforming our lives, and numbers debates are taking center stage in the development, philanthropy, impact investing, and social enterprise sectors. Like it or not, we live in what Kenneth Neil Cukier and Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger have coined the age of “datafication,” where many aspects of the world that have never been quantified before are being rendered into data. We’re witnessing how data-driven insights are becoming a prerequisite in decision-making and in the practical work of policy and social service organizations.
|Image courtesy of the Skoll World Forum|
Here’s Benetech’s outlook: we advocate for a human-centered approach to data in the social sector. Data without context has little value. We ask the question: data for whom? We’re a technology company and strongly believe in the power of information as a force for good. But we’re also a nonprofit with a social mission to empower individuals in complex and often difficult circumstances. Which is why we also argue that it’s dangerous to base decision-making and practical work concerning human growth and development purely on data-driven insights (we prefer semi-automation to automation).
Dominated by engineers and high tech executives, our senior leadership fully accepts the premise that in order to create systemic change we must build the capacity to collect, monitor, and interpret data over time. The data and its related systems, however, can take us only so far.
Our beneficiaries—such as front-line human rights defenders in repressive communities, students with disabilities, and environmental activists—live and operate in complex realities where certain data may be of little value and where measuring impact is messy. When it comes to helping our users, therefore, what matters to us first and foremost is empowering these individuals to prosper and advance their own goals, not so much optimizing for one metric or another that might not even truly measure our mission goals.
Being more adaptive and less rigid also creates the opportunity for serendipity. Consider this: what if your metrics turns out to be irrelevant because your beneficiary adapts your solution or service into something quite different from what you had intended it for?
A case in point comes from our human rights team, who works with a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) organization based in a country where the LGBT community faces a hostile social climate and state-sanctioned harassment. Trained to use Martus, Benetech’s secure software tool for human rights documentation to gather accounts of violations and abuses in the community, this group decided to encrypt and backup its members’ list instead. In this instance, evaluating Martus’ impact using standard indicators like the number of human rights accounts (“bulletins”) backed up to the Martus servers—one of our primary indicators of achievement towards measured success—is meaningless. It was more valuable for this organization to safeguard the names and addresses of its members.
Ultimately, applying a human-centered approach to data in the social sector means keeping focus on your mission and knowing your beneficiaries. Treat them more as customers, less as recipients of easily quantifiable social good units. Listen to their needs and adjust course accordingly. Years of working closely with our users have taught us that their circumstances and the goals they are trying to accomplish vary widely.
In the words of Kevin Starr of the Mulago Foundation, “to find the impact jackpot, you need to immerse yourself deeply enough in context and methods to make a reasoned judgment. You also have to be a little flexible: Real-world measurement often requires a certain amount of creativity.” Even in a world of big data, creativity and intuition still require the human touch.
This op-ed originally appeared on Reuters in partnership with the Skoll World Forum.
10.03.2014 Hiring for Good (Blog)
The United Nations theme for this International Women’s Day is “Equality for women is progress for all.” Emerging markets around the world appear to be seizing the lead over developed [...]
The post Women in Business: Emerging Markets Fare Better than the Developed World appeared first on SocialEarth.
(Editor's note: This post originally appeared on Forbes.com. Photo credit: peshkova / 123RF Stock Photo)
Last summer, Jennifer Sigler, the Chief Operating Officer at Global Giving, shared with me that her entire staff was reading the Lean Startup by Eric Ries. The idea that a senior manager of a non-profit would have all of her employees read a book about start-up strategy sounded unconventional and fresh. After our meeting, I headed straight to the local bookstore to pick up a copy and quickly realized Jennifer was onto something big.
...talks about: the kind of work his company has done in the USA; the current state of the design sector in Africa; a project he did making chairs from recycled plastic in his home country, Senegal; how design might be made more important on the continent; what constitutes African design; and how patronage might play a role in its development.
10.03.2014 Europe’s Corruption Challenges Examined
Model Behavior: 20 Innovative Business Models for Sustainability Infographic
In our report Model Behavior: 20 Business Models for Sustainability, we examine over 85 companies and break down the innovative business models we’re seeing in order to better understand their origins, mechanics and implications. In doing so, we hope to induce a more focused conversation about business model innovation, delving deeper into how such innovation comes about, and how we can catalyze more of it.
While the Model Behavior report launched last month, today you can download the report’s abbreviated Executive Summary as well as a handy infographic summarizing the 20 business model innovations detailed in the report.
09.03.2014 Weekly Newsletter March
This Week’s Top Stories Julian Assange delivered a speech at SXSW yesterday. Assange participated in a ‘virtual’ interview with Benjamin Palmer from the Barbarian Group to talk about surveillance and democracy on the web. A recording of the hour-long interview is on YouTube and The Guardian has also written a summary piece. Both Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald will appear [...]
09.03.2014 Beyond The Corporate Meeting Room
(3BL Media/Justmeans) - It's hard to escape the corporate bubble, which is why some companies are looking outside of their business models to reconnect with what’s going on around them. A number of companies are consciously enabling their employees to get out more, stepping outside to transform their businesses and reconnect to society. Many feel the corporate world is too detached from the world around it.
Now, around the world, some companies are encouraging their staffs to break out of their meeting rooms in order to make a difference. Outerwall Inc. (Nasdaq: OUTR), a leader in automated retail, has taken its corporate giving to another level, furthering its collaboration with the not-for-profits that it has given grants to by creating meaningful volunteer opportunities for its own company employees. This is part of the company’s mission to engage one-third of its workforce in volunteering by 2015. It believes by playing an active role in the communities where its employees live and work, it is also empowering the organisations that are driving positive change.
Outerwall’s corporate giving strategy is unconventional. It integrates employee volunteerism opportunities as part of its grantee selection criteria. This approach not only offers not-for-profits skilled talent, it provides employees with valuable personal development opportunities and benefits the company by strengthening recruitment and retention. Moreover, Outerwall has decided to give more than $250,000 in grants to support not-for-profits that are addressing local issues with innovative solutions in the Seattle and Chicago metro areas. In addition to awarding these grants directly to charities, Outerwall is providing a matched-giving program that supports employees’ favourite community causes. The employees who contribute personal time or monetary donations to these types of organisations can amplify the impact of their generosity by applying for matching grants.
Across the globe in India, in Mumbai, there’s the story of Mahindra, a large manufacturing plant, which sent 150 of its top managers to spend days in rural areas with smallholder farmers. The result was transformational. In 2005, the company set itself the goal of becoming the world's largest tractor manufacturer; by 2007, it was clear they would achieve that within a couple of years, but as a vision, "continuing to be the world's number one just wasn't that motivating," leaving them with the question: what next? The company reflected on the purpose of the business and decided to dispatch its management to the fields. Immediately, it became obvious that the tractors Mahindra was producing were too big and far too expensive for these poor farmers. The experience led Mahindra to launch the Mahindra Yuvraj, a smaller tractor that was compact enough to be useful in small fields and far less expensive.
Both these companies show that at times, it makes better business sense to ditch the business meetings and get involved with local communities, volunteering to drive change in order to make better business decisions.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia
(3BL Media/Justmeans) - First Lady Michelle Obama has unveiled plans for the most sweeping overhaul of nutrition labels on U.S. food packages in more than two decades. This announcement is part of Mrs Obama’s ‘Let's Move’ initiative to combat child obesity, which is celebrating its fourth anniversary.
This will be a remarkable transformation as calorie counts will appear in larger, bolder type, and consumers will know for the first time whether foods have added sugars. Under the Obama administration's plan, labels will also feature more realistic descriptions of a serving. It’s a significant redrawing of the nutrition information on food labels since the federal government started requiring them in the early 1990s. Those labels were based on eating habits and nutrition data from the 1970s and ’80s, before portion sizes expanded considerably. Federal health officials have argued that these changes were needed to bring labels into step with the reality of the modern American diet.
Food items like the size of a muffin for example, have changed dramatically. Therefore, it is important that the information on the nutrition fact labels reflect the realities in the world today. Americans pay attention to food labels, and the changes are meant to make them easier to understand, a critical step in an era when more than one-third of adults are obese. Governments around the world are increasingly taking measures to curb excess intake of sugar because of the growing burden on health budgets.
Now, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has proposed new health guidelines recommending that adults should limit themselves to no more than the equivalent of six teaspoons of sugar a day to avoid health risks such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. The guidelines follow several studies on the impact of sugar on obesity and dental cavities, including the role of ‘hidden’ sugars which are found in processed foods such as sweets and sugary fizzy drinks.
This news comes after England's chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, told the government that a ‘sugar tax’ may need to be introduced to curb child and adult obesity. Professor Davies added that being overweight had become normal in Britain and the government needs to regulate the food and drinks industry to protect people against the dangers of excess calorie consumption. The WHO guidelines add fuel to an already highly charged global debate between the food and drink industry, and doctors about sugar and health.
Photo Credit: Delicious The Gluten Free Bakery
Continue reading this post »
08.03.2014 Cartographies of Time: Part I
08.03.2014 Celebrating International Women’s Day!
Today we celebrate International Women’s Day by acknowledging the incredible female-led social enterprises that we have invested in over the years. Ranging from an ambulance service in India to a toilet franchise in Kenya, these women’s businesses are as broad as the audiences they serve. Roshaneh Zafar, Kashf Foundation Roshaneh is the founder and Managing […]
(3BL Media/Justmeans) – The United Nations theme for this International Women’s Day is “Equality for women is progress for all.” Emerging markets around the world appear to be seizing the lead over developed countries when it comes to women in senior business management positions.
The rapid economic growth in emerging markets in recent years has resulted in greater opportunities for women in business, giving them a clear edge over their counterparts in developed nations. While the global debate on bridging the gender gap in business continues, the widely-held notion that traditional and social hurdles in developing countries limit women’s empowerment in business is getting increasingly outdated.
Grant Thornton’s 2014 ‘Women in Business’ report, which surveyed 6,600 companies in 45 countries, reveals that the proportion of senior management positions held by women across the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) exceeds 30 percent, in contrast to about 20 percent in the G7 group of industrialized nations. The report provides striking statistics such as: in China more than 60 percent of CFOs are women.
Across the BRICS nations, the percentage of companies with no women in senior roles has gone down from 39 percent last year to 18 percent this year. Women in emerging markets score better than the global average even in the boardrooms. About one-third of all entrepreneurs in China are women.
On the Forbes 2013 list of 24 self-made female billionaires worldwide, six are from China – more than any other country outside the U.S. According to the World Bank, 12 percent of CEOs in Turkey are women, which is higher than the EU average. Francesca Lagerberg, global head of tax at Grant Thornton, points out that the emerging markets really seem to value some of the attributes that women bring to boards and senior management roles.
Education is one of the key factors behind the increased empowerment of women in business in the developing world. According to Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Ripa Rashid, authors of the book “Winning the War for Talent,” women in emerging markets are graduating from universities and graduate schools at rates that match and often outstrip those of men.
Image Credit: Flickr via Victor1558
08.03.2014 I Have a Dream
07.03.2014 ‘Hope’: a new fund to promote women’s rights in the Arab Spring countries (and happy International Women’s Day)
07.03.2014 Natural capital: Breakthrough or buzzword?
<< Click on the title of this article to read the rest of it on MarcGunther.com >>
07.03.2014 The Real Future of Clean Water
One of the biggest criticisms against exiled vigilante Edward Snowden has been that he didn’t go through the requisite steps within the system before electing to go rogue. Snowden, who continues to live in exile from the United States, has publicly gone on air to help quell these allegations. “Yes. I had reported these clearly [...]
The post Snowden: I brought up concerns over 10 times before I took it into my own hands appeared first on The Grand Signal.