Do Good, Together, with Value – Lessons from High School Entrepreneurs

YEAH-groupThe Young Entrepreneurs At Haas (YEAH) program recently concluded its 27th year of service to Bay Area high school students. A key component of the program is business plan presentations done by high school sophomores. The students are given free rein to devise any business they think is needed and could be successful. With ideas in hand, they work with an undergraduate business or MBA student coach to flesh out the business value, structure, financials, supply chain, and marketing. With a clean slate on which to innovate, the talented groups came up with novel product and service ideas. Three themes emerged from this year’s presentations:

  1. Social Entrepreneurship
  2. Collaboration
  3. Consolidation

These themes underscore the evolution of business and the mindset needed from a new generation of business leaders. The teams presented to a panel of judges and deftly defended their ideas during the Q&A sessions.

Berkeley-Haas YEAH presentation

An enthusiastic crowd supports the student presenters.

Social Entrepreneurship
One half of the companies provided a social good of some kind. The teams did not refer to themselves as social entrepreneurs, but the mission focus of their idea and business structure was clear. The presentations made it clear that students did not consider this novel or attention-getting. There is an implicit expectation that successful companies will contribute to the well-being of the community either directly through an offering or through its operations. Many startups consider social impact to be a point of differentiation or even a competitive advantage. These budding leaders signal a soon-to-be future where that it not the case.

Berkeley-Haas YEAH presentations

A student team fields questions from judges.

Collaboration
The business mantra of “leading” and “following” is dissolving. The next generation of leaders doesn’t see a push-pull, us-vs-them environment. Where a traditional business plan would identify competitors, young leaders see only potential partners. With one presentation after another, teams commented that their ideas offered something new, and that incumbents were better off collaborating to stay relevant in the marketplace instead of wasting the time and energy to compete head to head against novel startups. Collaborative networks working to create shared value are not new to the social impact space. Young entrepreneurs see collaboration as a key business tactic for success across sectors.

Consolidation
In terms of the actual ideas, many of them showed a frustration with a fragmented landscape of niche products and services. There is a value in a consolidated, robust product that provides users with a go-to place for what they need. Students identified a complex world where each product or service provides one small remedy to an ongoing pain-point. There was a tenable desire for consolidation of these services. Several teams hinged on this added value as the core proposition for their idea.

The success of the YEAH program is clear, with a 27-year track record and nearly 100% of program graduates going to college. Visit the YEAH program page at Berkeley-Haas for more information.

 

Which of these themes ring true for you?

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Beyond Numbers – Strategic Financial Management for Nonprofits

Nonprofit Financial ModelIt’s not just you: Nonprofit financial management is difficult for several reasons. Even experienced finance industry professionals can struggle to understand the financial structure of a nonprofit whose board they join. Despite this reality, a little information goes a long way for board members trying to understand and engage with nonprofit finances.

This was the main theme of Brent Copen’s financial management presentation for select nonprofit board members. Previously recognized for his outstanding teaching, Brent is also the CFO of Tiburcio Vazquez Health Center in Union City, CA. He has worked with hundreds of nonprofit organizations through the years. He recently led a training as part of our Berkeley Board Fellows program.

Financial Management by Brent Copen

Brent Copen presents to Nonprofit Board Members

Brent’s presentation contained real-world examples, activities, and tools for board members. Here are three brief but important points among many from the presentation. Continue reading

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

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.

Continue reading

Was the Walmart Pay Raise Real Leadership?

Walmart made waves last week announcing  pay increases for their workers. The Wall Street Journal cast this as a pure labor market move – prompted by an increasingly competitive environment for retail workers. Walmart, of course, promoted this as a double-bottom line move that reflects the needs of their workers as well as something they need to do to remain competitive.

wmt

So, which was it?.

This shift provides an interesting lens through which to explore what leadership really is, and what meets the test for different types of leadership.

What is effective business leadership when you run one of the largest employers of low wage workers in the world and serve primary segments that are low and moderate income?

What is moral leadership in this context?

Can the two intersect when groups of large shareholders might believe a wage hike to be a violation of managers being fiduciaries? (It’s notable that WMT’s share price took a hit right after this was announced).

I actually believe it was an authentic expression of both effective business leadership and moral leadership. Walmart has taken a beating from the left for years because of the way it treats workers – and rightly so. They have traditionally paid very poorly, and have had a business model with incredibly high attrition rates for workers – signalling that they have a view of their workforce as heavily commodified, perhaps at the expense of being as humane as needed.

To me, the pay increase is a signal of an authentic shift. I believe this for three primary reasons: Continue reading

Community Partner Spotlight – YMCA of San Francisco

ymcaYMCA of San Francisco
http://www.ymcasf.org/

With a focus on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility, the YMCA of San Francisco strives to nurture the potential of every youth, improves the bay area’s health and well-being, and provides opportunities to give back and support neighbors.  The YMCA of SF builds strong kids, strong families and strong communities by enriching the lives of all people in spirit, mind and body.

To achieve their mission, The YMCA of SF has embarked on reaching an ambitious Vision and in order to do so they knew that they needed an external analysis of both partnership and defined structure around what it means to be healthy.  They sought the expertise The Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership and worked with two of the Center’s signature programs, Berkeley Board Fellows (BBF) and Social Sector Solutions (S3).

What is the YMCA of SF’s 2020 Vision?

“The healthiest children in America will live in the Bay Area, building the skills and habits for a healthy life, being empowered to reach their highest potential and make valuable contributions to society through the strength of the communities the YMCA of SF serves.”  Read more about the YMCA’s Vision as well as their 2014-2017 Strategic Plan.

Involvement with the Center

“We were fortunate enough to have two projects with the Center.  Both projects [were] very different but both heavily impacting the future of our work and future impact on the communities we serve”, states Marketing and Communications Executive, Jane Packer.

The Social Sector Solutions (S3) project also contributed to the Y’s strategic planning process by assisting the organization perform high level diagnostics of child health in the Bay Area, as well as identify priority areas for improvement. Because the YMCA is a complex organization with many partnership throughout the organization, its branch structure leads to local and city-wide partnerships which sometimes can overlap. The S3 analyzed this partnership landscape, which in turn led the YMCA of SF to a pilot collective impact initiative with its focus on “An Early Start to the Healthiest Self.” Through this initiative, the YMCA of SF could examine current and future partnerships to determine their fit. The S3 project, in creating the initiative, helped the organization understand the landscape of effort already underway in the Bay Area and that in order to be successful in collective impact, complementary partnerships are key.

The work of S3 has helped us to leverage a network approach through identifying stakeholders and common need in communities we serve,”  says Chuck Collins, President and CEO, YMCA of San Francisco.

The Berkeley Board Fellows (BBF) program assisted the YMCA of SF in defining the key dimensions of physical, social-emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being that characterize the “healthiest children” – an integral piece of the strategic planning process. Working with the organization’s staff, the BBF team developed a logic model to help the organization determine how to clarify its intended impact and the relationships between inputs, activities and desired outputs, and outcomes.   This logic model has since served as the guidepost when thinking about existing and future YMCA programs.

 

Tackling Stigma and Brainstorming on Strategy for Nonprofit Aiming to Prevent Deadly Virus

By Katherine Murtha

On November 3, six alums of the UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business proved they are students always. Gathering on campus, the group of alumni volunteered to help a startup online health education nonprofit at a Solutions Lab organized by the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership.

The nonprofit client, HPVANDME.ORG, creates easy-to-understand videos educating people about human papillomavirus (HPV). Its mission is to become the premier hub of information on the treatment and prevention of HPV and HPV-related head and neck cancers. HPV is a prevalent disease: each year, more than 14 million people are infected, and 26,000 are affected by the cancers it causes – cancers that are preventable. HPV has a vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control recommend all people ages 11-21 (up to 26 for women) receive the vaccine, which targets three of the most common strains of the virus. But as HPV is a sexually transmitted infection, efforts to educate the public about it must overcome a social stigma that stifles conversations about sex.

Volunteer alums Alice and Dave brainstorm ideas on sticky notes for HPVANDME, a client of the Solutions Lab.

Volunteer alums Alice and Dave brainstorm ideas on sticky notes for HPVANDME, a client of the Solutions Lab.

The approachable style and high production value of HPVANDME’s content have drawn the attention of the Centers for Disease Control, the Farrah Fawcett Foundation, the Mayo Clinic, and other potential partners. During the Solutions Lab, the alumni volunteers brainstormed ways for HPVANDME to partner with these organizations to help it achieve its goal. Alums drew on a diversity of experiences in online content creation, technology startups, and health care. The opportunity to give back through business skills piqued the interest of one volunteer, who said activities like Solutions Lab keep his “brain from turning to mush.”

“This is our ‘continuing education,’” another Haas volunteer said of Solutions Lab, “and it feels good.”

That continuing education included a quick overview of a Problem Framing Problem Solving brainstorm technique, diverging and converging. After ideating individually on sticky notes, volunteers paired up to cluster their ideas by category and refined a pitch. They presented their top ideas to the client and, via video conference, to representatives of two prospective partner organizations for HPVANDME. In the process, alums learned about the disease and the discourse within the medical community on prevention and treatment for HPV-positive cancers.

In addition to approaches to partnership, the ideas for HPVANDME also included business practices that the startup nonprofit could implement to help it grow.

The Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership has hosted four sessions of Solutions Lab, a unique opportunity for Haas alumni to lend their business acumen to assist nonprofit clients. You can read more about past sessions here.