Engineering for Good. Our friends at MIT are really on to something. Not only have they added a BoP focused track to their amazing $100K business plan competition, but they are also expanding the IDEAS Competition. The MIT Global Challenge benefits directly from the robust project development ecology at MIT to help alleviate poverty. The cash prize is $25,000 so you can be sure that this competition will attract many impact investing aficionados and hopefully more than one viable idea will be funded. Teams will also benefit from the support of the D-Lab at MIT, the Sloan Entrepreneurs for International Development (SEID), the Global Poverty Initiative, and the International Development Initiative.
This is sure to make big headlines (and for good reasons). When the richest people in the world hold clandestine meetings, it attracts attention. When giving away 50% of their wealth is listed on the agenda, it quickens the pulse. But what we really like is Nathaniel Whittemore’s more sober take on what it all means. Let’s face it, if we don’t change how people land on the Fortune 400 in the first place, there will never be enough money to solve our global ills.
The Unreasonable Institute launched the Unreasonable TV!!! Check out interviews from the fellows, including pitches, and a review of their first weeks. Those folks are doing a great job and I am sure more is going to come out of it. Stay tuned!
PBS launched another documentary examining our industry, The New Recruits, this time focusing directly on social entrepreneurship. They are claiming that it takes on the hard issues (e.g. “ Is it appropriate to send an evangelical Christian--social entrepreneur in to a Muslim community, or should Acumen--as a secular venture--screen out faith-based Fellows?”), and isn’t just a long commercial for Acumen and a few Fellows. Let’s hope so. There is a lot of hype (some deserved) in our industry and it will come back to haunt us if we are not honest with ourselves.