[TC-I Call to Action]: Job Opportunity with Piramal Water

For those interested in social enterprise, water, or addressing health issues, Piramal Water is looking for a Chief Operating Officer.  A quick overview of the organization:

Piramal Water Private Limited develops sustainable drinking water solutions for rural and urban populations where the quality of water is often the cause of more than 60% of common health ailments.  Our business is designed around scalable innovations, technical/process improvements, ensuring livelihoods for local entrepreneurs, and developing customized community water filtration systems that can produce ultra-affordable drinking water for the masses.

To learn more about this fantastic opportunity, please click here: Piramal Water COO

[TC-I Call to Action]: MSME Business Plan Challenge – Sankalp 2009

IndiaPRwire helps announce the launch of yet another challenge; this time, focusing on micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) business plans. The nationwide challenge, titled Sankalp, is presented by India Development Gateway, a new portal “designed to overcome the barriers currently limiting flow of capital into social enterprise.”

Sankalp 2009 is a serious attempt at identifying social enterprise investment opportunities within the Indian MSME space. What makes this challenge unique is the force that powers it- the India Development Gateway (IDG) is an easily browsable website rich with information that helps entrepreneurs improve their concept and connect to an online community of mentors, experts and investors for networking. Sankalp 2009 effectively leverages the online platform and helps entrepreneurs make their plans investment worthy, link finance and expertise to business opportunities, and make high potential, socially relevant investable plans visible globally through the IDG platform.

The first round of the competition closes December 29, 2008. Rural Innovations Network plans to sponsor a special prize for the most innnovative business plan, in addition to cash prizes for the top winners. If you have an idea for a MSME, be sure to submit your business plan.

A New Breakthrough in Tracking Social Entrepreneurs

I’ve always valued metrics but remain wary of the extent to which numbers can be used to reveal the whole picture. Hearing about the new Portfolio Data Management System (PDMS) – an online database tracking social entrepreneurs – is proof that there is progress in the effort to measure social impact. A variety of organizations came together for this massive effort: Acumen Fund, Salesforce.com Foundation, Skoll Foundation, Lodestar Foundation, along with programmers from Google. How does the PDMS work? BusinessWeek explains:

A common set of metrics will be recorded for each organization so donors and investors can check regularly and track their progress or spot trouble. Social entrepreneurs will be able to benchmark their results against those for similar organizations around the world.

The system will allow foundations and other donors see what the return on their investment is, and compare it against other similar organizations to see if real progress is occurring. I can imagine that not only will the information be useful to investors, though, but also to other stakeholders – partner organizations, beneficiaries, almost anyone involved the same field who wants to stay informed of the value of programs and money.

Since social enterprises are relatively new entities, standards and benchmarks are not common or shared. A specific metric that one enterprise decides to use may differ with the next. The PDMS offers a solution to the current haphazard situation… Continue reading

DBS Bank Offers Social Enterprise Products, Expands in India

DBS Bank, which is based in Singapore, is hoping to expand in India. With branches currently in New Delhi and Mumbai, the bank offers Enterprise Banking to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in India. An interesting program is the new DBS Social Enterprise Special Package, which is currently available in Singapore:

The `DBS’ Social Enterprise Special Package’ offers social enterprises preferential rates on business loans and unsecured overdrafts, and fee waivers for a slew of services, among other benefits.

In addition, employees of social enterprises will be granted special privileges for a whole range of personal banking services, including mortgage loans, renovation loans, auto loans, credit cards and general insurance.

No indication of offering this in India yet, but with all the entrepreneurial expansion occurring in the country, there may be a market for it. If you are aware of any banks in India offering financial products to assist social enterprises, please leave information in the comments.

Agora Fellows Program

As an update to a prior post entitled “MBAs without Borders” (MWB), it has been brought to our attention through NextBillion that Agora Partnerships, in collaboration with MWB, has launched a fellowship program that aims to address issues of long-term management, specialization, expertise, and sustainability in the social enterprise sector:

The Agora Fellows program is a new initiative by Agora Partnerships to bring extraordinary entrepreneurial talent directly into developing world small businesses during their critical growth phase. Agora Fellows are management, finance, and development professionals who work in-country for 4-6 months to assist the leadership teams of Agora portfolio companies in setting up managerial processes and executing the business plan.

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Op-Ed: Arrogance today, humility tomorrow

A curious micro-debate seems to be emerging in the blogosphere on what is more critical to a social entrepreneur’s success — their humility or arrogance. This is an interesting discussion, as both qualities provide varied paths to success and failure.

For example, often times organizations are inextricably tied to the charismatic, larger than life personalities of their founders or current leaders. Two that immediately come to mind are the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative. Here arrogance, or what could at least be described as leveraging celebrity status, was a crucial component to the rapid success and growth for both organizations (w/r to the Gates Foundation immense capital also did not hurt).

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