Global trade is like a hundred-lane highway criss-crossing the world. If it is a free-for-all highway, with no stoplights, speed limits, size restrictions, or even lane markers, its surface will be taken over by the giant trucks from the world’s most powerful economies. Small vehicles— a farmer’s pickup truck or Bangladesh’s bullock carts and human-powered rickshaws—will be forced off the highway. In order to have win-win globalization, we must have fair traffic laws, traffic signals, and traffic police. The rule of “the strongest takes all” must be replaced by rules that ensure that the poorest have a place on the highway. Otherwise the global free market falls under the control of financial imperialism.
—  Muhammad Yunus
Fact: More and more consumers are demanding socially responsible products.

Since 1993, Americans’ enthusiasm to shop with a conscience has sky-rocketed. Increasing more than 20 percentage points during the last 20 years, U.S. consumer likelihood to opt for brands associated with a cause, given comparable price and quality, has jumped from two-thirds of the population in 1993 to nearly the entire population in 2013.

This trend will undoubtedly continue with the coming of age of Millenials, the first generation of Americans who have grown up alongside cause marketing. Numbering more than 80 million Americans, they are the largest cohort the U.S. has ever seen – and an undeniable force. Millennials are hyperaware of, and have high expectations for, corporate social responsibility efforts to make the world a better place – for themselves and broader society.

Source: Cone Communications, 2013 Social Impact Report

I lead my life by two theories: ‘Tinkerbell’, which holds that if you can get enough people to believe in something it will almost certainly happen, and 'Last Man Standing’, which says that if you have a degree of charm and people know you won’t go away, they will eventually pay you to do so.
—  Tim Smit, founder of the Eden Project
8 Hard Lessons for Starting a Social Good Organization
My best mistakes turned into hard lessons learned from starting a social good organization.
[1] Build a brand. Tell a story.  Many do-gooders tend to focus only on building and strengthening their programs. Don’t forget to focus on building your brand and telling your story of success and failures. This is how you begin to build an online and offline community.
[2] Focus. 

Providing access to clean water? Providing scholarship? Building school infrastructure? Teaching entrepreneurship skills? Pick one (or two), focus, and be great at it. 

[3] Find the right co-founder. 

Recruit co-founders that are aligned with your vision, values, and work style. It’s like marriage. Make sure that it’s the right fit. 

[4] Failure is inevitable.  

Murphy’s Law states “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” Expect failure, build a tolerance for it, and most importantly, make sure to squeeze as much learning from it as possible. Fail quick. Fail cheap. 

“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong." 

[5] Recruit Board of Advisors. 

If you are a first time entrepreneur, recruit a serial entrepreneur into your board. Be honest about your weaknesses and find advisors that are invested in helping you and your idea grow.

[6] Build a Culture of Shipping. In launching a new product, service or project, do not shoot for perfection. Aspire to ship quickly, and iterate, iterate, and iterate. While ideation is incredibly important, focus on execution - this key to an agile team looking to scale social impact quickly.  

[7] Be Intentional about making money. 

Whether it is traditional fundraising or creative ways for bringing in revenue, make sure to prioritize generating revenues to sustain your operations and programming right from the start.

[8] Don’t forget about yourself. 

Simply put, help yourself before you help others. 

'Creative Capitalism' and future business strategy?

I participated in a radio panel on ‘creative capitalism’ - which Bill Gates introduced at a WEF event in 2008 as “Profits + Philanthropy”.

Got me thinking and here is where I’ve got to:

“It isn’t about corporate philanthropy anymore. What you do with your profits is not as important as how you earn them. The successful businesses of the future will create shared value for their suppliers and supplier communities and their customers and customer communities, as well as their staff. The new game is creating wealth for the world, not only for a small group of shareholders”.


Burberry uses to create the ultimate Social Enterprise


This was a great Speech by Kevin Trapani at the TEDxAshokaU. Awesome conference, Awesome Speech, Awesome organization. 

Entrepreneur Spotlight:

Chantal Butare, 21, Rwanda

Chantal Butare launched her Kinazi Dairy Cooperative in 2012 to help Rwandan genocide survivors, who had been given cows under a government assistance program, but who were struggling to sell and market their milk. The initiative now serves more than 3,200 farmers, and supplies markets in Rwanda and Burundi.

How'ya Like Them Apples?

Someone I knew in my life BB (before Burundi) once told me that I’d be doing better by the world if I were starting a business (as of course he was) than I would be by working at a clinic in the developing world. His argument involved something about job stimulus, classism and xenophobia… I forget the finer points. 

Well, happy news! I’ve been promoted. I’m now leading our Economic Development programs. Effectively, I’m helping to start four new businesses that will benefit more than 100 women (victims of gender based violence, specifically) and their families, not to mention aid in developing a naissent economy in the world’s 4th poorest country. We’re using a co-op model that will pay everyone fair wage and then reinvesting any additional profits into business training and micro insurance. 

I’ll end there because I’m on the edge of my ability to remain civil. I’ll just close with a great big, “How'ya like them apples?"