Tag Archives: thesis

sustainable + development + Acumen Fund + TED

Just watched another fabulous TED video and had to share…

Jacqueline Novogratz shares stories of how “patient capital” can bring sustainable jobs, goods, services — and dignity — to the world’s poorest.

She founded the Acumen Fund – a nonprofit that acts like a venture capital fund, investing in high risk businesses that serve a cause (high risk for other investors, but very serious in its approach to get results) in developing countries. Very interesting approach to tackling poverty…

I met Yasmina Zaidman, Acumen’s director of knowledge & communications (and writes most of the blogs over at the Acumen blog at the Net Impact Conference I went to last month. What a fantastic speaker as well.

Watch the video though, it’s great.

Moving forward (albeit painfully slowly…) on the thesis front. Wanted to bang my head against the wall more than a few times.. but that’s the joy of thesis writing, no? 😉

Anyways, this topic touches heavily on my topic so, I leave you now with questions (not just about Acumen Fund and ‘patient capital’ but just sustainable development questions in general), no answers.. something just for pondering…

  • this is ‘patient capital’ – which is needed for projects like this and doable in this case since it’s being funded by philanthropic dollars… but for everyone else who’s out there to make a buck, ventures are about growth growth growth… How can we tell people to ‘be patient’ when their investors are down their neck?
  • sustainable development – the word in and of itself is oxymoronic… sustainable (circular) and development (linear)… not the first one to point this out, just an ongoing question in my head. Annie, from the Story of Stuff is bang on “you cannot live on a linear system on a finite planet indefinitely” – at the end of the day, no one is 100% sustainable – read the No Impact blog to see how hard it is even to try
  • it seems like everyone who wants to help needs to go there (to a developing country) to understand first hand… if you don’t everyone else will tell you that you don’t understand ‘them’ – you’re less qualified to ‘help’ in that sense. What about the people who can’t get there? Plus, aren’t the environmentalists telling us to slow down on the travel? How can we make it easier to connect these two worlds virtually? Asking cause I think its about time I get myself out of the western world and see the world that the other 5 billion people see…

Well.. should probably start answering my own thesis questions…. so, back to work.

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When life just works out

Go back a year.

I was done my undergrad and debating really hard what to do with my life. Go to Finland for my Masters? Or, stay in Canada and start my own thing? I’ve had that entrepreneurial itch for a few years at least and after the mesh conference (which I sadly missed this year) I felt like, ready or not, I should just dive into the scary yet exciting startup world.

Fast forward.

I went, totta kai (of course) to Finland.

And I could not have been happier with my choice.

To give whoever reads this blog a hint into what I’m doing this summer (and perhaps for a while after that);

I was offered a job at the University of Jyväskylä to work with an amazing team on spurring growth venturing in Finland (and elsewhere), across disciplines, across fields (researchers, practitioners, students) on ‘problems worth solving’. (It can go a lot deeper than that, but I’ll stick with that for now;)

It hits the key tenets that I’ve been thinking/blogging/dreaming about:

  • Entrepreneurship and access to capital is a must for getting the ball rolling (not just small business entrepreneurship, but high growth, VC field entrepreneurship)
  • Mass collaboration changes everything , ala Wikinomics
  • We need to move into the sustainability age (enough blogs on this topic…)
  • Innovation will play a huge role in fixing yesterday’s, today’s and tomorrow’s problems. But we need to get people thinking about positive innovation. We already have a lot of problems; let’s use our creative skills to fix those, not start new ones.
  • Marketing has an important role to play in getting meaningful messages out – not just the usual “buy buy buy!” message
  • Think global, act local

For the most part, I’ll be writing my thesis this summer and working on some other tasks for the group.

I’ll let out pieces here and there about what’s going on, but in general thought I’d give you an idea about what’s going on in ‘ma vie’.

And, starting off on a good note, I’ll be traveling to Geneva next week to attend the Net Impact Europe Conference. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

Again, love it when life just… works out.

(NB: i am aware of the extreme amount of linkbacks in this post!)

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