Net Impact–2010 Alleviating Poverty Through Entrepreneurship Summit

I am a member of Net Impact, a nonprofit membership organization for students and professionals interested in using business skills in support of various social and environmental causes. I joined this organization because I have a great interest in micro-finance and social enterprise. In addition, this quarter I am in the supply-chain focus group and clean tech focus group with two of my classmates, Fan and Lisha. We are working on an energy audit project coordinating with the Energy Services & Sustainability Center of OSU and will provide recommendations on economically justifiable ways to reduce energy consumption on campus.

On February 5th, Net Impact held the 2010 Alleviating Poverty Through Entrepreneurship Summit, and I happily served as a volunteer in the event. We invited many speakers from academic, social enterprise and non-profit sectors, and I was especially interested in Acumen Fund. I knew Acumen Fund when I was an undergraduate, when I found that charity alone could not radically solve the problem of poverty. I was confused how I could balance between my passions of helping the poor with managing a sustainable business. On day I read an article in Business Week Taiwan of an interview excerpt of Ms. Jacqueline Novogratz from Acumen Fund. She spoke about patient capital and social enterprise, and I was impressed and moved by the effect that business can have on global social change.

Unfortunately, because of the weather, the practitioner, Ms. Yasmina Zaidman from Acumen could not make it. I was a little disappointed—indeed, I just applied for the summer associate of Acumen Fund that the direct supervisor will be Ms. Zaidman. I couldn’t wait to know more about the patient capital. However, I still had a great interaction with Ms. Erin Krampetz from Ashoka. I asked Ms. Krampetz if I am planning to be involved in social enterprise, as a current MBA student what should I do to prepare myself well. Ms. Krampetz kindly suggested me that I could join as many voluntary activities as possible, and also acquire broad knowledge of non-profit business and financial analysis. Most excitedly, I learned that Ashoka has a program called Full Economic Citizenship that is specially designed for MBA students. This will certainly be a great opportunity for MBA students to step in the social enterprise career.