Thursday, March 22, 2007

Best Practices in Social Entrepreneurship

Somewhat related to my metrics post a few weeks ago, I've just come across Duke's Case Studies Database for Scaling Social Impact.

These are mostly cases used for teaching, but there are also many lessons to learn by any social entrepreneur.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

"Bridging" Knowledge about ICTs and Entrepreneurship has a number of interesting reports on promoting entrepreneurship in developing economies. The organization also offers a large number of case studies relating to ICTs and grass-roots technology initiatives.

I really like their model of bringing experts together online. As stated in their overview, one of the benefits of connecting online is preventing environmental damage caused by air travel.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Win €20.000 for your social venture

The BiD Challenge is an international business plan competition organised each year by the BiD Network Foundation. Their mission is to contribute to sustainable development by stimulating entrepreneurship in developing countries. Find out more at The deadline is May 31st and you can win up to €20.000.

Winning Social Capitalists

I know that Fast Company's Social Capitalist Awards winners list has been out for a while, but I only recently had a chance to peruse the ventures.

There are a few mainstays:
ACCION International
Endeavor Global
Grameen Foundation
Teach for America

Among the recipients, there seems to be a very clear trend toward providing access to education in the United States and around the world.

I've come across Endeavor Global before and was very excited about their success and business model to help entrepreneurs in Latin America and Africa. Likewise, EcoLogic Finance provides support to coffee growing entrepreneurs.

(And, as per the earlier discussion about metrics, maybe the Nonprofit Finance Fund offers some insight...).

Follow Up on Comments

As per Erik's comments on my last entry, I agree that with metrics there comes a danger of "teaching to the test."

That is part of the challenge of developing appropriate metrics (that take into account cultural aspects of the community served, for example). However, metrics are important to determine the impact made on the community and, although at times they may be difficult to qualify (or, even more so, quantify), they can help to make the most significant impact (and make sure that the venture continues to maintain its standard of service/support over time).

Despite the danger of "teaching to the test" with metrics, I assume that social ventures aim to make a positive impact. I think that being able to measure some aspects of the impact attests to the societal value of the organization (whether the metrics are quantitative or qualitative). I guess these metrics have to be very specific to the organization, however, in order to avoid the problem of broadly-defined outcomes that might encourage "teaching to the test." However, if teaching to the test means that there are some positive societal outcomes, it might not be a negative approach.