GSVC 2016 Global Finals: Social Enterprises Converge in Thailand

By Cameron Scherer

IMG_9878 None of us expected the night to end with a water gun fight – but I’ll get there later.

Last month, three classmates and I had the privilege of traveling to Bangkok, Thailand for the Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) Global Finals. We did not compete, but attended the Finals as GSVC Fellows, tasked with developing strategies to make GSVC an even stronger program for aspiring social entrepreneurs.

The GSVC, managed by Berkeley-Haas and partner universities around the world, highlights the next generation of mission-driven business leaders. The competition provides entrant teams with mentorship, connections to industry experts, and seed funding to transform their promising ideas into real-world impact. For the past several months, I have gotten to know our global partners, to figure out how we can better serve entrants’ needs, and what lessons we can learn from their experiences.

After weeks of phone conversations, I finally had the opportunity to meet everybody in person during the three-day Global Finals and Think Big, Act Small symposium, a whirlwind of meetings, pitches, and speeches. Before the event formally started, we held a meeting with our global partners to collaboratively develop strategies to better position GSVC within the rapidly proliferating landscape of startup competitions. These discussions were energizing and we have an interesting set of opportunities and challenges ahead of us as we look towards the future.

Now onto the main event of the weekend–the competition. Never have I been so impressed by a group of peers. The solutions presented by the finalist teams were as diverse as the countries they represented, from a Korean company up-cycling leather car scraps into stylish bags to a team from Boston reinventing how we diagnose lung cancer. Selecting a winner among these innovative and mission-driven ventures was no easy task. Certainly all these teams traveled far and wide to win the grand prize, but what GSVC provides them is more than just prize money. GSVC is a supportive community where young social startups can work on their ventures, obtain valuable feedback from industry experts, and foster a network of like-minded entrepreneurs hoping to leverage business to make the world a better place.

The highlight of the entire trip, though admittedly biased – was traveling with my three fellow Fellows (ha) – Mitul Bhat, Vanessa Pau, and Claire Markham (all FTMBA ’17) in and around Thailand. Of course, you can’t really go wrong with a trip of Berkeley-Haas students, but I could not ask for a more fun, inspiring, and kind group of three.

And, oh yeah, the water fight.

The final night, after the awards were announced, we celebrated the Thai New Year Songkran with bright colored shirts and toy water guns. Instantaneously, job titles and who won or lost became irrelevant, as we darted between tables, ready to attack an unsuspecting friend.

I couldn’t help but wonder how many conferences end this way? I was struck then, as I was all weekend, by the value of holding the GSVC in Thailand: not only do we get to hear from so many new voices when we travel abroad, but also be reminded that letting loose and having fun might just be the best way to celebrate the incredible accomplishments – and futures – of all the participating teams.

The 2016 GSVC Global Finals were held in Bangkok, Thailand, April 1-2, 2016. For more information about the event and competing teams, visit: http://haas.org/1WIPxH3

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The Family Impact Canvas – a new tool for change makers

In about six weeks, CSSL will formally launch our new Social Impact Collective, a new community of high net worth families seeking insight, tools and connection to make their giving and impact investing more effective. Our inaugural group will gather for our Discovery Weekend in Half Moon Bay at the beautiful Miramar Farms.

In addition to the amazing people who are founding the Collective, we’re fortunate to have a tremendous group of faculty for the weekend to drive learning, reflection and action on social impact. The faculty includes:

  • Laura Tyson, our former Dean, and the Director of the Institute for Business and Social Impact here at Haas
  • Paul Brest, the former President of the Hewlett Foundation and Professor Emeritus at Stanford
  • Kat Taylor, co-CEO of Beneficial State Bank and signer of Warren Buffett’s giving pledge
  • Diane Parnes, Board Officer at SV2 and former ED of the Sobrato Family Foundation
  • Fay Twersky, Director of the Effective Philanthropy Group at the Hewlett Foundation
  • Paula Goldman, Global Director of Impact Investing at the Omidyar Network

And we’re still adding speakers. Continue reading

A new phase and home for “Armed Conflict” research

Dr. Angana Chatterji

Dr. Angana Chatterji

The Armed Conflict Resolution and People’s Rights Project (ACRes) is moving to the Center for Race and Gender at UC Berkeley. The project has been with the Center for Social Sector Leadership (CSSL) at Berkeley-Haas since it was instituted in April 2012. Along with the move, the project will also take on a new name and focus; it will be called the “Political Conflict, Gender and People’s Rights Project.”

The Center for Race and Gender (CRG) is the new home for the project effective January, 2016, with the full and enthusiastic support of CSSL and CRG. The move will further enable the interdisciplinary commitments of the project in the next phase of its work. A pioneering, interdisciplinary research center, CRG houses research initiatives and working groups concerned with race and gender (as well as coloniality and other relations of power), allowing them to develop freely and flourish.

Conflicted DemocraciesThe first and successful phase of ACRes, led by founding co-chairs Professor Angana P. Chatterji and Professor Shashi Buluswar, and director of programs, Mallika Kaur, included project partnerships with civil society organizations in the areas of focus in South Asia, and with the International Human Rights Law Clinic (IHRLC) at Berkeley Law, and both the Institute for the Study of Human Rights (ISHR) and the Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research (CHRDR) at Columbia University. The project produced a collaboratively authored monograph entitled, Conflicted Democracies and Gendered Violence: The Right to Heal, with a statement/preface by Navanethem Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (2008-2014) and a foreword by Veena Das, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University. The project co-produced a co-authored a report with IHRLC entitled, Access to Justice for Women: India’s Response to Sexual Violence in Conflict and Social Upheaval [PDF]. The project also initiated an archive on the legacy of conflict.

Continue reading

From Charity to Change: A Dynamic Approach to Building a Better World

By Joe Dougherty

On the first day of December, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan celebrated the birth of their daughter, by announcing their intention to direct 99% of their Facebook shares to a new philanthropic venture, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which will seek to “advance human potential and promote equality.” The announcement was met with a fair amount of criticism, mostly centered on the couple’s decision to make the Initiative a (potentially profit-making) corporation rather than a private foundation, like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Critics like ProPublica’s Jesse Eisenger point out that Zuckerberg and Chan did not donate to charity but rather, “created an investment vehicle” which is subject to fewer legal restrictions than a nonprofit or a foundation and thus leaves Zuckerberg “completely free to do as he wishes with his money,” including investing it in profit-making ventures. This observation is certainly true… and it was certainly a good move for Zuckerberg and Chan, if they truly wish to advance human potential and promote equality.

Here’s why: Charity, traditionally, is how the social sector helps meet a need that government or private companies don’t address – like sheltering the homeless or helping former prisoners find jobs, for example. This type of direct charity is important and, unfortunately, still very necessary. But most foundations – even well-established ones like the Rockefeller and MacArthur Foundations – have long since moved beyond traditional charity to seek lasting social change. Instead of just feeding the homeless or helping former prisoners, they are also addressing the root causes of homelessness and asking why so many people are in prison in the first place. Rather than perpetually filling the gaps left by government and markets, modern philanthropists are exploring whether governments and/or the private sector can permanently close those gaps. This is old news, and most people would agree that it makes more sense to look for sustainable solutions rather than stop-gap measures – in other words, philanthropy should not simply apply band-aids to society’s wounds but rather, help create a healthier society.

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Faculty Spotlight – Joe Dougherty

Joe DoughertyJoe Dougherty, Partner and West Coast Leader, Dalberg Global Development Advisors

Berkeley-Haas Lecturer

“Coming to Berkeley, I was delighted (but not surprised) by how smart, inquisitive, and creative the Haas MBA students are.”

Joe Dougherty first began teaching at Haas when fellow lecturer, Shashi Buluswar recommended that he co-teach the ‘Social Enterprises’ section of the Social Sector Solutions course in 2013. “I had taught graduate courses previously at UNC Wilmington and Johns Hopkins, and was delighted to have the chance to work with Haas,” said Joe. “It was a great course. I worked hard, but had a blast!”

This coming Spring, Joe will be teaching his first undergraduate class – Leadership in Nonprofits and Social Enterprises.  Joe hopes that students are able to take away the idea that:

“Managing a nonprofit or a social enterprise is more complicated than managing a traditional for-profit, because you serve two masters: financial performance (a.k.a. sustainability) and impact,” he said. “Also, the people who receive your services and the people who pay for them are often not the same, which introduces further challenges. At the same time, the work can be incredibly rewarding.”

Joe has worked with nonprofits and social enterprises in over 20 countries in addition to organizations in the United States. He is currently a part-owner of a global social enterprise, Dalberg. As Joe has said, “I’ve learned a few things about what seems to work – and what definitely does not work – and I hope to use this experience to help Berkeley students avoid the mistakes of the past and engage with the social sector in a more informed and insightful way.” He plans to use lessons learned from his various experiences outside the classroom to further enrich the course and provide insight to his students.

Community Partner Spotlight – Project Open Hand

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Founded in 1985, Project Open Hand  is a nonprofit organization that provides meals with love to critically ill neighbors and seniors to fulfill their mission to nourish and engage their community.

Every day, more than 125 Project Open Hand volunteers prepare 2,500 nutritious meals and provide 200 bags of healthy groceries to help sustain their clients, as they battle serious illnesses, isolation, or the health challenges of old age in San Francisco and Alameda Counties.

For Seniors and Adults with Disabilities: The organization provides warm, nutritious lunch to seniors (age 60+) and adults with disabilities (age 18-59) at locations throughout San Francisco.

Project Open hand photo 2

Courtesy of Project Open Hand

For People Living with Critical Illness: Through Project Open Hand’s Wellness Programs, they provide nutritious, medically-tailored meals and groceries for pick up in San Francisco and Alameda Counties. Home-delivered meals for clients who are homebound are offered as well. Registered dietitians support and counsel clients to help them feel better by eating right.

Involvement with the Center

“As we have expanded our services over the past several years, Nora Silver, Ben Mangan, and Jay Stowsky have served as strategic thought partners and an invaluable source of guidance,” said Hannah Levinson, a Development Officer for Project Open Hand. “We look forward to continuing our involvement on a larger scale through Social Sector Solutions!” Continue reading

Alumni Spotlight – Doug Galen, MBA 88

DougGalen hdshot Galen, BS 84, MBA 88
Co-Founder & CEO of Ripple Works: rippleworks.org
Lecturer at Berkeley-Haas and Stanford GSB

Doug Galen is passionate about building and scaling great companies that disrupt industries and drive innovation. He has had extensive experience in building and scaling startups and currently lectures at Berkeley-Haas and Stanford University. “I’ve learned how to make brutally hard decisions when you don’t have enough resources, and I’ve come to know what it’s like when a product is great vs. mediocre,” said Doug.

He is the founder and CEO of RippleWorks, where he now gets to play a role in helping companies scale as they do everything from solar panels in rural Tanzanian villages to micro-insurance for the poor across Africa and Asia.

The initial question at the core of RippleWorks was “How can we best help millions of people?”  It’s an overly ambitious, daunting quest.  But there already exist great social entrepreneurs well on their way to helping millions get out of poverty. The question then became, “How can we help?”  RippleWorks pairs promising social entrepreneurs around the world with tech and startup experts from Silicon Valley to jointly conquer specific scaling challenges of the social venture.

Impact through RippleWorks

RippleWorks is wrapping up its first cohort of companies that it has helped scale.   They have taken on projects ranging from cloud infrastructure to scaling call centers. The program pairs volunteer experts, who give 1-5 hours per week of their time, with social ventures for a 3-4 month project. Culminating the project, RippleWorks flies the experts to spend a week with their social venture for an immersive work session.

RippleWorks: Mike and Aldi

Mike and Aldi in Indonesia

“We get to bring the best-of-the-best people together to collaborate, which is always special,” Doug said. “We recently had an expert, Mike, go and visit Aldi, his project partner in Jakarta, Indonesia.  Mike felt pure joy because he maximized his volunteer time by providing priceless technology and architecture advice. His input will accelerate Aldi’s growth to help more shop keepers in rural Indonensia.”   Mike also visited Aldi’s home and connected with his son, teaching him how to sing the itsy-bitsy-spider.  Now, Aldi sings the song per his son’s nightly request.

“It wasn’t just about the project,” Doug said. “We get to see personal encounters like Mike and Aldi, the where two people bring the best out of each other, and really see what can happen when you connect two worlds together.”

Advice for current Berkeley-Haas students:

Doug reminds students to appreciate the true melting pot that is Berkeley.  “Haas exposed me to business people from around the world, and Berkeley exposed me to the most diverse group of people.” It offers an opportunity to experience the vast world outside of Silicon Valley.  Also, Doug advises to take advantage of everything Haas offers, particularly beyond curriculum.

  • Attend every event you can – you have the chance to attend more powerful events in your two years at Haas than you can for the rest of your life.
  • Make sure to take the time to understand your passions and values, and use that to discover what opportunities are out there and what goals you want to set for yourself.
  • Appreciate your classmates – you will learn as much from your experiences with them as you will from instructors, homework, or assignments.
  • And have fun along the way. Play intramural sports. Kick some butt at Challenge for Charity, and, if nothing else, beat Stanford.

 

 

Social Impact Consulting Panel

Social Impact Consulting Panel

Jennifer Kawar and Laura Tilghman

Photo by Bruce Cook

November 9, 2015

The annual Social Impact Consulting Career Panel broke our own speaker series attendance record this year! It is always a popular event, and this year more than 100 people filled the room to hear the perspectives of the accomplished panel members. The all female panel was made up of distinct leaders in the social impact space and moderated by Kimberly Wright-Violich, the co-founder and managing partner of Tideline.

2015 Panelists:

  • Alison Colwell, Associate Director, Advisory Services, BSR
  • Jennifer Kawar, Chief Investment Officer, Nonprofit Finance Fund
  • Willa Seldon, Partner, Bridgespan Group
  • Laura Tilghman, Senior Consultant, FSG

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HSIF: Providing Stable Futures Through Affordable Ownership – Angela Steele

This is the fifth post in our Haas Social Impact Fund (HSIF) series.

Habitat for Humanity development in San Francisco, Habitat Terrace.

Habitat for Humanity development in San Francisco, Habitat Terrace.

“The best moment of my internship was doing a walk-through of Habitat Terrace, a development in San Francisco,” Angela Steele (MBA16) said. “Standing on the construction site, it became real that 28 families who otherwise may have been displaced and left struggling to make ends meet will now be able to stay in the city and own their own home.” This past summer, Angela worked with Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco (GSF)’s Real Estate Development (RED) team, an opportunity she was able to pursue partly due to the Haas Social Impact Fund (HSIF). Aside from building affordable single-family homes, Habitat for Humanity GSF also provides financial literacy courses to home buyers and rehabilitates distressed homes.

Having taken the Real Estate Speaker Series and participated in the Bank of America Low-Income Housing Challenge, Angela looked for a chance to examine the affordable ownership model within a small organization. “Maintaining a stock of affordable housing in order to preserve the diversity of cities is something I believe in and I wanted to explore this for my internship,” she explained. Continue reading