On behalf of Rising Pyramid, I would like to thank everyone who came out and supported Rising Pyramid and Vittana at last Thursday’s event, How You Can Change the World: Solving Global Poverty Through Social Business. It was a great experience to speak to students (and non-students) of all ages and background. The vibe was contagious and the event was made a success by the active participation of all the students. A common question that I was asked was “how can a college student like me get involved?” It is crucial that the young, energetic, and enthusiastic wave of students have the proper tools in front of them to help learn about (and gain access to opportunities within) the social enterprise industry. Read more »
Tonight, Rising Pyramid is set to host its first event at UC Berkeley. As Chris described in a previous post, the event will be held at the Haas School of Business and will feature Kushal Chakrabarti, CEO and co-founder of Vittana.org as a speaker. Vittana is a person to person micro loan site that allows users to make small loans to poor people who would otherwise not have much access to financial instruments. What makes Vittana unique though, is the fact that they provide student loans only. Typically, microfinance loans are made to individuals who plan to start a business or make capital investments that will improve their earning potential going forward. With the emphasis of microfinance on businesses, other types of loans such as student loans (and I would imagine housing loans too) were being underserved. Kushal recognized that there was a unique need and started Vittana to serve it.
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Is poverty an inevitability or can it truly be eradicated? Will there a time when there are no more people living in what we have defined as “poverty”? At least in the foreseeable future, the answer is that poverty is here to stay. Social entrepreneurship would like to have something to say about that. Read more »
As was pointed out in the previous post, the collective term “Social Entrepreneurship” has evolved and expanded over time to become a very innovative yet decentralized industry. As it stands, organizations that can be identified as “Social Enterprise” range from microfinance to manufacturing to agriculture to services. The realized benefits of an industry that identifies, interacts, and collaborates together are no doubt apparent. The National Council of Nonprofits, The National Society of Professional Engineers, and The American Medical Association are perfect examples of how industries can benefit through a strong association. As it currently stands, there is no unified “professional organization” for social enterprises or social entrepreneurship. Should there be? Are organizations or companies that are socially-minded truly unique, or do they fit into a mixture of categories? Read more »
The term “Social Entrepreneurship” did not exist until some time in the 1950s and did not become widespread until the 1980s when Bill Drayton of Ashoka started using it to describe the social innovators he was seeking to find (Ashoka seeks to identify and fund high impact social entrepreneurs in developing countries through rigorous evaluation and screening). Even today, most of the general public doesn’t quite know what social entrepreneurship means, though many have heard of it. Read more »