The weekly wrap: The top social entrepreneurship stories from the week that went byNelson Vinod Moses
Every week we bring you the best social entrepreneurship stories from around the world. This week we have stories about Morgan Stanley and its $10 billion commitment to impact investing, the winners of Google’s Global Impact Challenge, a feather in the cap for Aavishkaar and the importance of mentors for social enterprises.
Enjoy the read.
Morgan Stanley’s setting a goal of $10 billion in total client assets to be invested through its mpact Platform in the next five years. By developing new products, innovative thematic portfolios and sustainable investing thought leadership, this platform will meet rapidly increasing client demand for opportunities to invest for positive environmental and social impact in addition to the goal of achieving risk-adjusted financial returns.
Two prestigious US universities (Stanford University and Duke University) have selected social venture capital firm Aavishkaar Venture Management Services and its flagship fund, Aavishkaar India Micro Venture Capital Fund, as among the world’s top global impact investors.
But a different trend in entrepreneurship is developing about 3,000 miles away. What Stanford is to classic tech entrepreneurship, Yale is becoming to social entrepreneurship. George W’s alma mater has become the ultimate training ground for innovative social entrepreneurs. If you want to find someone who is likely to help change the world, you would do just as well to look to New Haven as Palo Alto or Silicon Valley. And you would do even better to pay attention to Yale’s women.
4) Google announces winners of Global Impact Challenge
Google has announced the winners of its Global Impact Awards. Projects floated by Janaagraha, Digital Green, Agastya and SANA (popular vote) won the top prize of Rs 3 crore each. Google served up an early festive delight, by surprising the rest of the six finalists, granting them Rs 1.5 crore each to further their projects. The Rs 1.5 grant was not part of the original announcement.
5) Energy without limits: Urja is empowering rural entrepreneurs through solar solutions
In a country where nearly 400 million rural people still lack access to electricity, solar has for long been viewed as the energy source with the most potential to offer low-cost power. With support from the government through positive policy support, and plummeting prices of solar panels that’s used to store power, entrepreneurial activity in the sector is riding new highs. In the past few years, with increasing recognition of this technology’s potential, there has been a proliferation of social enterprises like Barefoot Power, D Light, Grameen Foundation and Sunkalp adopting a variety of business models. These ventures have come up with solutions – ranging from solar off-grids to solar-powered home systems – that are not just cost-effective but also less toxic than traditional fuels like kerosene.
Collaboration and embracing mentoring are key ways to make your social enterprise a success. Liam Black writes about the importance of mentors to social enterprises.
Starting a business is hard. Starting a business that attempts to solve large-scale social problems is even harder. But that hasn’t stopped the most idealistic and ambitious entrepreneurs from trying. In fact, over the last five years, social entrepreneurship has increasingly become the motivation behind startup business plans and a point of consideration in corporate boardrooms. Whether they’re tackling world hunger, improving education or helping people rent out the things they aren’t using, companies of all sizes are seeking ways to make positive change in the world.
As part of a global initiative, Hindustan Unilever has embarked on a wide-ranging program to source all its agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020. The Indian farmer is a key beneficiary.