This spring approximately 91,000 North Carolina students will graduate from high school. More than three-fourths say they plan to move on to a two- or four-year college or university. But by the time they reach their mid-20s, trends suggest that only half of them will have earned a college degree.

Alert to similar statistics nationally, last year the Harvard Graduate School of Education published “Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century,” a report that challenges the premise that all students should seek a four-year college degree. It argues that we need to create additional pathways that combine rigorous academics with strong technical education to equip young people with the skills to compete for tomorrow’s jobs (many of which don’t exist yet).

The report led to the launch of the Pathways to Prosperity Network, a collaboration between Harvard, Jobs for the Future and six states (including North Carolina) committed to helping create these alternative learning pathways.

Even before the launch of this initiative, Raleigh-based nonprofit N.C. New Schools was working in partnership with government, businesses and higher education in the development of a network of science, technology, engineering, and math schools across the state. With the goal of providing high school graduates “the ability to design and communicate solutions to real problems with confidence, ingenuity, and thoughtfulness,” this network of schools provides students with powerful minds – and hands-on teaching and learning in STEM. In other words, ensuring students have the skills to compete for tomorrow’s jobs.

Take the Wake N.C. State University STEM Early College High School located at NCSU. Opened in 2011, the school focuses on the theme of energy and sustainability. Through a daily seminar, plus three 90-minute courses in small classes, students grapple with 14 “Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century” identified by the National Academy of Engineering. They range from making solar energy more economical, to reverse engineering the brain, to providing access to clean water globally. Over five years, students earn both a high school diploma and up to two years of college credit – and a set of problem-solving skills to compete for this century’s most desirable jobs.

Hands-on experience

Students at the Early College of Eastern Applied Sciences and Technology in Craven County get a deep immersion in aerospace, advanced manufacturing and security. Through a partnership with the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Readiness Center at Cherry Point in eastern North Carolina, students have the opportunity to work hands-on with the region’s largest population of experienced engineers and scientists. That exposure is reinforced by a professional engineer on the school’s staff who helps to create a natural bridge to the local engineering community. The school is also located across the street from NCSU’s Institute of Aeronautical Technology, affording easy opportunities to connect with professors on real-time problem solving initiatives.

The Northeast Regional School of Biotechnology and Agriscience is the lead school in an emerging statewide network of similarly themed schools. Located at NCSU’s Vernon G. James Research and Extension Center in Washington County, the facility is on 1,500 acres at the Tidewater Research Station – whose mission includes “making farming more efficient, productive, and profitable, while maintaining a sound environment and providing consumers with safe and affordable products.”

Generating opportunities

By connecting students and teachers with a cadre of scientists, hands-on learning opportunities abound for everyone involved. As David Peele, chair of the regional board and president of local company Avoca Inc. says, “This will be a great resource beyond just the students who will attend the school. Teachers from this school can lead professional development in science and math for teachers across the region and really have an impact on education in eastern North Carolina.”

In the meantime, students are graduating from STEM-theme schools at impressive rates. Among students enrolled in one of the 30 STEM-focused schools working with N.C. New Schools, the graduation rate was 95.3 percent (compared to 80.4 percent for the state overall). Of African-American students, 94 percent graduated from STEM schools vs. 68 percent overall. And while not all may go on to four-year colleges, research indicates that’s OK as long as they are equipped with the skills to compete in the global marketplace.

Just as the demands of our workforce are shifting, so must our education system. Fortunately, we have some good models in place to help make our next generation competitive. Now it’s about expanding these opportunities for more students.

Christopher Gergen is founder of Bull City Forward Queen City Forward, a fellow with Fuqua’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship at Duke University, and the author of “Life Entrepreneurs.” Stephen Martin, a director at the nonprofit Center for Creative Leadership, is author of the forthcoming book “The Messy Quest for Meaning” and blogs at www.messyquest.com. They can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter through @cgergen.

Article source: http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/03/30/2786419/raleigh-nonprofit-develops-network.html

Vincent Ko, Luke Lagera and Michael Mills wanted to help change the world.

The three friends and recent Georgetown University graduates were inspired to create an alternative to plastic and metal sunglasses, but wanted their company to have a significant social impact at the same time. Finally an idea struck: Panda Sunglasses, a collection of sustainable, handcrafted sunglasses made out of bamboo.

The trio partnered with the Tribal Medical Outreach Association (TOMA) — an organization that provides free eye examinations and other health services for tribal communities — and took their idea to Kickstarter in 2011, raising $20,000 in just three days.

A following of socially conscious consumers and support from boutiques and retailers like Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie soon followed.

Just over a year later, the company has helped fund more than 1,000 eye examinations and free eyeglasses through the TOMA Foundation.

“We want Panda to be a recognizable brand for social change,” Ko said. “So when someone sees Panda, they know that for everything that is purchased through the company, an individual in need or a charitable organization will benefit.”

The founders don’t hide the influence that successful social brands like TOMS — a company that donates one pair of shoes for each pair purchased — had on germinating the idea for their company.

“We figured if we could make a fraction of the impact that (TOMS founder) Blake Mycoskie made with a different item, we’d be doing a good job,” Ko said.

The importance of combining profit with social impact has been embraced by businesses big and small over the past few years. Industry titans like Starbucks and Nordstrom have made social responsibility an integral part of their marketing plans, but in the world of young start-ups, entrepreneurs are still figuring out how to keep the model as authentic and transparent as possible.

“It’s difficult to be a social entrepreneur because you have two goals you want to achieve; you have a cause you are promoting, but still want to make money,” said Sarika Gupta, the student program manager at the University of Michigan’s Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies.

As more Millennials enter college and start businesses, finding ways to satisfy both economic and social bottom lines has captured the attention of business programs across the country, said Cheryl Kiser, the executive director for Babson College’s Lewis Institute and Social Innovation Lab.

Babson College has been recognized as the top entrepreneurship college in the country for more than 20 years by U.S. News and World Report, a title strengthened by its innovative programs and an alumni base that includes the founders of Home Depot and Lycos. It offers just two degrees: a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in the same subject.

When educating the next wave of social entrepreneurs, Babson teaches students to seek out social problem opportunities and think of business ideas to solve them.

“We are at a time when people want to marry what they do for a living with a personal purpose for doing it,” Kiser said. “More people are designing products and services to have social responsibility and relevance built in from the beginning, and it’s changing the way we think about things.”

A greater focus on collaboration is prompting entrepreneurs to branch out and partner with professionals from different backgrounds, resulting in a cross-pollination of problem-solving methods. Kiser says the method is paying off, especially for social sectors — such as healthcare and food production — that are in need of innovation.

“Collaboration in both thought and action always ends up producing a greater value than trying to do something on your own,” Kiser said. “By cultivating unusual relationships and curating actions to solve problems, the opportunity to change the way we do things is greater than ever.”

Article source: http://www.freep.com/article/20130329/BUSINESS07/130329089/Young-entrepreneurs-mix-business-social-responsibility

Social entrepreneurship should be the new engagement for individuals and the public and private sectors, with implications for university training especially in Africa according to Goos Minderman, public governance professor at Vrije Universiteit in The Netherlands.

Providing an international perspective at an innovation and research day held by the Graduate School of Business Leadership at the University of South Africa (UNISA) this month, Minderman said the importance of business involvement in social networks and semi-public activities could be viewed from two perspectives.

The first was the European view, where the government’s role was rapidly changing, and more non-profit and profit-driven partners could become involved in maintaining good education, healthcare and welfare levels.

The second was the African view, where the focus revolved around the importance of business in combatting corruption.

Corruption has been evolving in the last decades and therefore no social network or social programme can be guaranteed. The battle against corruption is everyone’s responsibility in both the private and the public sectors, Minderman said.

Corruption currently cost South Africa more than R150 billion (US$16 billion) annually and was bleeding around 30% from public sector budgets, substantially hindering delivery on social problems.

These losses, coupled with inefficiencies, are strongly limiting South Africa’s problem-solving potential. United Nations statistics show corruption adds 25% to the costs of public procurement, he said.

More critically, only 30% of government corruption was detected, and 80% of fraud was committed by employees. More than 70% of South African companies were victims of corruption against the 37% global average, according to auditing firm PWC.

Minderman believes that in this context and it has echoes across Africa there is great relevance in universities teaching community engagement, as it potentially provides answers to social problems.

Social entrepreneurship, defined as the means to identify a social problem and use entrepreneurial principles to achieve a desired social change, should be the new engagement for individuals and public and private organisations.

The public sector has been changing worldwide, being under pressure to become smaller and thus not being the only arena from which solutions will come. The private sector and individuals will be crucial in influencing policies and in creating public value for citizens,” he said.

Internationally, no country had a healthcare system that was wholly market organised and working, nor a completely public one that was working. This example demonstrated the dilemma entrepreneurship played in creating public values.

“Business students can add to the new balance and understanding emerging in university training by opening their market thinking to others and finding ways to combine with themselves and other orientations,” Minderman concluded.

Community engagement in South Africa

As a core responsibility of higher education alongside research and teaching, community engagement provides a key opportunity for universities to address socio-economic challenges, particularly within Africa, according to Sunette Pienaar, community engagement deputy director at UNISA.

There is policy support for engagement in South Africa. The Department of Education’s 1997 White Paper on the Transformation of Higher Education set out broad goals and referred to community engagement as an integral part of the country’s higher education process.

It specifically referred to the role community engagement could play in transforming higher education, calling on tertiary institutions to “demonstrate social responsibility” and make available expertise and infrastructure for community service programmes.

“The paper further states that one of the goals of higher education is promoting and developing student social responsibility and an awareness of the role higher education plays in social and economic development, Pienaar said.

Consequently, the question arises as to how business students can meld their knowledge to address these challenges in South Africa specifically and Africa generally.

Less positively, a paper published by the Council on Higher Education in 2010, Community Engagement in South African Higher Education , found that despite clear national policies supporting a critical role for community engagement, it had been neglected.

Universities were involved in many activities structured around research, teaching and outreach entailing engagement with a wide range of communities. However, these uncoordinated activities were the result of individual initiatives rather than strategically planned, systematic endeavours.

One argument was that the lack of progress in implementing community engagement related to a lack of conceptual clarity and reflected a need for a better-theorised understanding of the issues at hand.

The case of UNISA

Internationally, community engagement was increasingly being viewed as scholarship, Pienaar said. Consequently, UNISAs definition embraced research and teaching involving external communities.

These activities addressed socio-economic imperatives for South Africa and Africa while enriching the university’s teaching, learning and research objectives.

Pienaar said the huge distance learning university it has 350,000 students across Africa recently became the first in South Africa to take community engagement to the next level by earmarking R37 million (US$4 million) to boost education and teaching in 130 projects across the country.

The move was aimed at “making a real impact” on the lives of different communities. One initiative is the 500 Schools Project, through which a 10-strong department multidisciplinary team is researching South Africa’s underperforming schools and developing targeted interventions to boost the quality of basic education.

Pienaar told the seminar that studies conducted in France five years ago showed that the most prolific researchers were those who had the highest levels of public interaction and engagement.

This acutely highlighted the relevance of community engagement which, she stressed, involved scholarship and not public relations. It was an essential issue, not a luxury.

At the international level, Pienaar explained, UNESCO viewed sustainable development as the core of higher education. Consequently, UNISA was committed to placing sustainability and governance on its institutional agenda.

These incorporated the commitments to the Millennium Development Goals and the King III Report on corporate governance in South Africa. UNISA was engaging with Statistics South Africa to establish clear, measurable targets for its community engagements.

“Becoming the African university serving humanity can only be realised if we move past the isolation and insulation of life in academia to break down the walls that separate us from society,” Pienaar said.

In a nutshell, community engagement should assist universities to perform their core functions in a more meaningful way.

Article source: http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20130328162627623

Samar Fatany



Dialogue among nations can facilitate wide-ranging discussions to erase misconceptions that divide people and lead to conflicts and wars. Dialogue can be a tool that presents a more accurate description of the current conditions that influence societies and govern policies in different parts of the world. This is why the Australian Arab Women’s Dialogue under the theme “Talking the world to a better place” which took place in Australia between 15-27 March 2013 was an opportunity to foster better relations between Australia and the Arab world.

Australian and Arab women engaged in dialogue to raise women’s voices and to address their challenges and concerns. Not many people in Australia understand Arab and Muslim cultures. Many of the Arab immigrants in Australia remain marginalized and are viewed with suspicion. The eight Arab women from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates were invited to speak to the media and hold public debates in universities, civil society organizations and government departments to address these challenges and present Arab culture, societies and the evolving role of women in their respective countries.

The women delegates included, Minoush Abdul Meguid founder and managing director of Union Capital in Egypt, who eloquently explained the challenges of the Arab Spring and the aspirations of young Egyptian women who confronted the uprisings that have undermined their role and have put them at risk because of violence and instability. Minoush outlined the role of women in Tahrir Square and the social media campaigns that provide support for women activists in their fight against discrimination and their defense of justice and human rights.

Hanaa Edwar, founder and secretary general of Al-Amal Association in Iraq spoke about the network of women’s organizations working to preserve the constitution and promote human rights in Iraq. Rana Husseini, the award-winning journalist of the Jordan Times talked about her coverage of the brutality of honor crimes which raised public awareness and was instrumental in introducing new policies imposing tougher laws against such crimes.

Zeina Daccache, founder of Catharsis, a Lebanese center for drama therapy, the first organization of its kind in the Middle East, outlined her role in influencing more humane attitudes toward prisoners and enacting new policies for reduced sentences for good behavior and less serious crimes. Her work as a drama therapist supports the rehabilitation of prison inmates and brings attention to the unjust conditions in Lebanese jails. Manal Elattir, the founder and managing director of Anarouz social enterprise, described the role of her organization in empowering women and alleviating poverty through entrepreneurship and market access. Women in rural areas were able to benefit from such programs and were able to maintain their own businesses to support themselves and their families.

Wafa Abdul Rahman the founder of “Filastiniyat” the NGO committed to the empowerment of women and youth in Palestine outlined her role as a member of the Palestinian female journalists club in Gaza and the West Bank in exposing Israeli injustices and defending the rights of women and children in the Palestinian territories and the occupied lands.

Dr. Houriya Kazim, the UAE’s first female surgeon, eloquently explained her role in raising awareness among women in the UAE about preventive measures to address the prevalence of cancer. She founded an NGO for breast cancer awareness and charity to support underprivileged cancer patients.

Finally, as a member of the Saudi women’s online writers group, I outlined the role of Saudi women writers in raising awareness about the importance of the empowerment of women in Saudi Arabia who constitute 50 percent of the population and include highly qualified professionals in all sectors of society.

The Dialogue created an opportunity for Arab women to talk about their experiences and portray a more positive picture of their constructive role in the building of their nations. Australian women were provided firsthand information about Arab women who do not fit the image of oppressed or uneducated women that Western media often portrays in its coverage of the region. The Arab women talked about their role in making their world a better place.

The Australian Arab Women’s Dialogue is the brainchild of Libby Lloyd, one of Australia’s 100 women of influence, who was nominated as “ACT Australian of the year”. Libby is a member of the Council for Australian Arab relations and a member of the ministerial Council for Asylum Seekers and Detention. She has lived in Egypt and Iraq and has a deep understanding of Arab culture and people. She has recruited three outstanding women to form the organizing committee: Dr. Victoria Mason, co-convener and professor at the School of Politics and International Relations, College of Arts and Social Sciences, ANU, whose research focuses on conflict resolution in Israel-Palestine and Iraq , particularly on the occupied Palestinian territories; Fatima Ali, the project manager who is of Lebanese origin and has a wealth of experience in international and community organizations focusing on cultural diversity and refugees and asylum seekers; and Amy Ward, who has experience as a lawyer in the Emirates, Palestine and Syria.

Libby and her team worked hard to introduce the project to the major sponsors who supported the initiative and believed in her cause, namely AusAid, the Australian National University (School Of Politics and International Relations), Etihad Airlines and the Council for Australian Arab Relations, (DFAT). The team used their connections and contacts to put together a comprehensive program to introduce the Dialogue to the Australian government, civil society, the media and the public.

The initiative succeeded in promoting people-to-people relations, and it is to be hoped that the public debates and media coverage will influence lawmakers and affect the political stance of Australia which is currently a member of the Security Council and an emerging power in the global arena. The positive exposure of Arab societies highlighting the concerns, hopes and aspirations of women and the large youth population may also affect future political and economic relations. Hopefully, the noble initiative of these few women can create far-reaching consequences that can impact relations between Australia and Arab societies as well as promote harmony among people of different cultures and faiths in Australia and the Arab world.

— Samar Fatany is a radio broadcaster and writer. She can be reached at [email protected]

Article source:

As more Millennials enter college and start businesses, finding ways to satisfy both economic and social bottom lines has captured the attention of business programs across the country.

Vincent Ko, Luke Lagera and Michael Mills wanted to help change the world.

The three friends and recent Georgetown University graduates were inspired to create an alternative to plastic and metal sunglasses, but wanted their company to have a significant social impact at the same time. Finally an idea struck: Panda Sunglasses , a collection of sustainable, handcrafted sunglasses made out of bamboo.

The trio partnered with the Tribal Medical Outreach Association (TOMA) — an organization that provides free eye examinations and other health services for tribal communities — and took their idea to Kickstarter in 2011, raising $20,000 in just three days.

A following of socially conscious consumers and support from boutiques and retailers like Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie soon followed.

Just over a year later, the company has helped fund more than 1,000 eye examinations and free eyeglasses through the TOMA Foundation.

“We want Panda to be a recognizable brand for social change,” Ko said. “So when someone sees Panda, they know that for everything that is purchased through the company, an individual in need or a charitable organization will benefit.”

The founders don’t hide the influence that successful social brands like TOMS — a company that donates one pair of shoes for each pair purchased — had on germinating the idea for their company.

“We figured if we could make a fraction of the impact that (TOMS founder) Blake Mycoskie made with a different item, we’d be doing a good job,” Ko said.

The importance of combining profit with social impact has been embraced by businesses big and small over the past few years. Industry titans like Starbucks and Nordstrom have made social responsibility an integral part of their marketing plans, but in the world of young start-ups, entrepreneurs are still figuring out how to keep the model as authentic and transparent as possible.

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“It’s difficult to be a social entrepreneur because you have two goals you want to achieve; you have a cause you are promoting, but still want to make money,” said Sarika Gupta, the student program manager at the University of Michigan’s Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies.

As more Millennials enter college and start businesses, finding ways to satisfy both economic and social bottom lines has captured the attention of business programs across the country, said Cheryl Kiser, the executive director for Babson College’s Lewis Institute and Social Innovation Lab.

Babson College has been recognized as the top entrepreneurship college in the country for more than 20 years by U.S. News and World Report , a title strengthened by its innovative programs and an alumni base that includes the founders of Home Depot and Lycos. It offers just two degrees: a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in the same subject.

When educating the next wave of social entrepreneurs, Babson teaches students to seek out social problem opportunities and think of business ideas to solve them.

“We are at a time when people want to marry what they do for a living with a personal purpose for doing it,” Kiser said. “More people are designing products and services to have social responsibility and relevance built in from the beginning, and it’s changing the way we think about things.”

A greater focus on collaboration is prompting entrepreneurs to branch out and partner with professionals from different backgrounds, resulting in a cross-pollination of problem-solving methods. Kiser says the method is paying off, especially for social sectors — such as healthcare and food production — that are in need of innovation.

“Collaboration in both thought and action always ends up producing a greater value than trying to do something on your own,” Kiser said. “By cultivating unusual relationships and curating actions to solve problems, the opportunity to change the way we do things is greater than ever.”

Caitlyn Finnegan is a Spring 2013 USA TODAY Collegiate Correspondent. Learn more about her here .

Article source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/03/29/young-entrepreneurs-business-social-responsibility/2028243/

The Beedie School of Business has established a new, interdisciplinary social-innovation lab and venture incubator that aims to change business education and launch high-impact solutions to social challenges.

Dubbed RADIUS (radical ideas, useful to society), the initiative brings together students from all faculties across SFU to develop and nurture practical solutions to pressing social problems and provide opportunities for deeper learning.

RADIUS already has a number of projects ongoing, including one in which students are working with Ecotrust Canada to help trace and certify forest products and evaluate their economic and environmental impacts.

Leading the incubator are co-founders David Dunne, the organization’s chair and an SFU Beedie senior fellow, and RADIUS director and adjunct professor, Shawn Smith. The pair has a strong track record in innovation education and venture incubation.

Dunne, formerly with U of T’s Rotman School of Management, is an award-winning business educator who launched multi-million dollar products as a business manager and consults to multi-nationals on design and customer experience.

“Wicked problems are pervasive in business and society—they are critical, chronic and have no clear start or end point,” says Dunne.

“RADIUS will teach students to rethink problems from the ground up, empathize with those affected and create radical, sustainable opportunities.”

Smith is a globally recognized social entrepreneur. Last year, he launched the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at SFU Beedie. It has gone on to produce a number of social ventures such as a cultural experience company employing immigrant women and a transportation sharing community.

“At RADIUS, we know that big ideas are great, but pressing social issues demand action,” says Smith.

“Instead of solving pre-digested cases, RADIUS students will encounter the messy real world, come up with creative solutions and then move them to implementation.”

Says dean Daniel Shapiro: “As a business school we have made a longstanding commitment to social innovation and entrepreneurship. This is a great example of learning that is adaptive, interactive and highly experiential.”

Article source: http://www.sfu.ca/sfunews/stories/2013/sfu-unveils-social-innovation-incubator.html




Vittana Founder Takes Center Stage at TEDxBYU

PROVO, Utah , March 28, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – Vittana Founder and Co-chair Kushal Chakrabarti was selected as 2013 Social Innovator of the Year by The Ballard Center at Brigham Young University (BYU). The Melvin J. Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance at BYU leads the advancement of social innovation through education, research and experimental learning. is a non-profit who pioneered student microloans in the developing world ensuring access to education and the graduation of a generation beyond poverty.

Kushal Chakrabarti will present at TEDxBYU on March 28th at BYU aiming to spark thought and dialogue among audience members around social innovation. He is also the guest speaker at the Social Innovator of the Year Luncheon on the following day. Chakrabarti launched Vittana in 2009 on the belief that education is the most powerful tool we have to fight global youth poverty. “I’m honored to accept this award on behalf of the Vittana community everywhere — our youth, partners, friends and supporters. BYU is a long-time leader in social entrepreneurship and their recognition of education’s power to fight youth poverty means so much to us,” Chakrabarti said.

Previously, Kushal ran technology for a $1 billion team at Amazon and is the author of 20+ patents and papers. Kushal was recently named as one of Seattle ‘s Top 40 Under 40 and voted the #1 Game-Changer in Philanthropy by the Huffington Post. He is a frequent speaker on youth poverty, education and social entrepreneurship, including at SOCAP, Pop!Tech and In his free time, he races triathlons, takes pictures and works with dogs. Kushal lives in Seattle with his

About Vittana
works to provide access to education for millions of youth struggling to overcome poverty. Vittana pioneered the $750 student microloan in developing countries that combines education’s transformative power and microfinance’s massive reach. The impact is a 300% increase in income and leaving a life of poverty behind. Today more than 8,000 students in 13 countries have received a Vittana Loan and are repaying at a rate greater than 99%. Capital to fund Vittana loans come from its crowd-funding website, investment funds and strategic partnerships. Vittana’s work has been highlighted in the Economist, Fast Company, Wall Street Journal, and as a member of the Clinton Global Initiative.

Media Contact:

Matt Duncan
[email protected]
425-894-6558

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Article source: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/brigham-young-university-honors-kushal-chakrabarti-with-the-2013-social-innovator-of-the-year-award-200417101.html

“We want to prevent people from going unnecessarily blind because of cataracts,” said Javier Oykhusen. Two years ago, the former investment banker returned to his native Mexico City, where he and a friend founded the Sala Uno health center. Many people still unnecessarily lose their eyesight in the Mexican capital as a result of inadequate information and a lack of medical care.

Oykhusen, 32, and his partner developed a business model that drastically reduces costs for surgery. In the two years since the Sala Uno center opened, doctors have restored 4,000 patients’ vision. The team of doctors and engineers is not only a blessing for people in danger of going blind, Oykhusen said, but for their families, too, “Many patients are a burden on their families and not able to contribute much to the country’s development.”

Alternative models

Social entrepreneurs could be key to eradicating extreme poverty, Collier said

Paul Collier, a professor of economics at Oxford University, researches mass poverty: why almost a quarter of the world’s population lives in extreme poverty and how to help them. Collier is convinced social entrepreneurship could turn out to be the best solution in the fight against global poverty.

The economic expert, however, is also critical of aid organizations’ approach. Collier said the danger is that the countries in question will not learn to handle their problems independently. Collier said aid organizations usually provide financial support and reconstruction for a limited time only.

“Once the organization leaves the country, it might quickly revert to the exact same situation that existed before the mission,” he said.

During his years as director of the development research group at the World Bank, he learned to be especially cautious where financial aid for developing countries was concerned. If you “simply shovel money into a system, you may be encouraging the leaders of a failing state,” he said, adding that in some cases, such aid might serve to legitimize questionable action by a political elite not at all interested in change.

Motivation and growth

In contrast to NGOs, social businesses like Sala Uno give poor societies in developing countries the opportunity to care for themselves over the long term. Financially, social entrepreneurs are on their own. As well-intended as their missions may be, they can only function if they can secure the existence of the organization and its employees.

Motivation, revenue, jobs and growth are significant factors on the road to success. Growth is particularly important, Collier said. “Many NGOs only provide assistance on a small scale in crisis areas,” he added, suggesting that large organizations in a position to help many people are needed.

Kenyan example

Some fear aid makes countries dependent on foreign support

Kenya is an example for a country in need of change. The East African country’s economy is weak and, apart from the coffee industry, Kenyan agricultural products are not competitive on international markets. The many small farmers mainly grow produce for their own needs.

Haron Wachira’s company Akili analyzed difficulties among rural populations in an effort to make farms more profitable. Many small farmers use 19th century technology to work small parcels of land and the crops they harvest often are not enough to survive on.

An IT specialist, Wachira developed strategies to fight poverty, including the installation of agriculture cooperatives. When villagers pool their fields and work together, they can sell their goods at a profit. As many as 500 farmers work in one agricultural area, concentrating on one single product. The size of the venture makes the difference between profit and loss, Wachira said.

The UN will likely miss most of the Millennium Goals it set to achieve by 2015. Progress has been slow in the fight against poverty, in particular in African countries; hunger, education and medical care are closely linked to poverty. Entrepreneurs with an eye on profits, growth and social progress could prove to be in a position to provide a step in the right direction.

Article source: http://www.dw.de/social-entrepreneurs-tackle-poverty/a-16702344

Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer

The Jamaica Lives organisation and the Office of Social Entrepreneurship, University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, are gearing up to host the first staging of ‘Jamaica Lives’. It is a poetic art exhibition and concert on Saturday, May 4, at the Mona Visitor’s Lodge, UWI Mona. It will feature several aspects of Jamaican culture, ranging from food and art to the performing arts.

The exhibition will be hosted from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Gold Room, while the concert will start at 7 p.m. and is expected to end at 2 a.m. It will feature bands such as New York-based Mystic Souls.

According to the event production co-ordinator Omar Lynch, Jamaica Lives is concerned with the upliftment of all things Jamaican.

NEW YORK-BASED

“Jamaica lives is a New York-based non-profit organisation. We are trying to get the Diaspora involved in launching business entrepreneurs locally and on the international scene. We also do community charity as well as mentor students from several of our Jamaican schools. Vauxhall High school choir is one of our beneficiaries, and they will perform at the event as well,” Lynch said.

Among the activities scheduled for the day is a panel discussion which will feature speakers from the Diaspora as well as State Minister in the Ministry of Entertainment and Tourism Damion Crawford. The discussion will see the panelists seeking to unearth means and ways to get resources to improve entrepreneurship in Jamaica.

Jamaica Lives also seeks to promote Jamaican products through the event. “We want to harness ways to promote Jamaican goods and sell it. Goods like our art, our food and our music. This is different from other events; we are changing up the vibes and we want to make it super inclusive,” Lynch said.

Information on obtaining tickets for the event as well Jamaica Lives is available at facebook.com/jamaicalives or www.jamaicalives.org. Jamaica Lives was launched in July of last year.

Article source: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130328/ent/ent3.html

The University Alliance mission group has gained another new member from Million+ while also announcing it is signing a partnership with its Australian counterpart.

The University of Greenwich will become the 24 th member of the Alliance, which describes itself as a group of “the most innovative and enterprising universities in the UK – major institutions combining science and technology with a focus on delivering for the professions, business and the community”.

The move follows decisions by Coventry, Glasgow Caledonian, Kingston and Teesside universities to all join the Alliance from Million+ since 2009.

The more recent moves may be evidence of a shift in positioning by some institutions under the new, more marketised fees and funding system.

David Maguire, Greenwich vice-chancellor, said: “Greenwich is an ambitious institution focused on top-class research and business engagement, as well as excellent learning and teaching, so University Alliance is our natural home.

“This step is an important recognition of Greenwich’s achievements so far in enhancing its reputation as a leading London university.”

Greenwich will join the group on 1 April.

Meanwhile, Alliance chief executive Libby Hackett and chair Steve West travelled to Australia to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Australian Technology Network, which comprises five of the “most innovative and enterprising universities”.

The link aims to include the development of a UK-Australia higher education policy leaders group; the potential for partnerships in Asia; collaborative work on international student visas; shared examination of student fee and loan models and work on the “integration of student entrepreneurship and internship programmes” into curricula.

On Australia’s funding model, Ms Hackett said there may be “lessons we can learn from them”, noting that the nation had “achieved a demand-led system that is affordable and sustainable to the government”.

She added that in Australia “the idea of a social contract is very well established, between the student and the state, where there is about a 50-50 sharing of cost”.

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