Posts Tagged ‘acumen fund fellows’

Whose vision of serving the poor?

July 20, 2009

Does the vision of serving the low income segment of society extend beyond the investors and CEO of a social enterprise?

In my opinion, only an affirmative answer to this question will ensure that the vision of serving the poor is fulfilled (however long it may take…).  Watch what the team of doctors running AyurSEVA Hospitals has to say about their vision and motivation to work for this organization.

“Living” Social Enterprise

April 3, 2009

Many of us are working at social enterprises that have won multiple awards for the impact they are having in the world and the innovative idea that drove them to assist in the ever existing fight against poverty. The terminology used to describe social enterprises and social entrepreneurs by default indicates and assumes that the business will be socially oriented.

When I review such awards, mounted on the wall, or listed out by name and year in pamphlets, I wonder about the social “insides” of the company and the transferable nature of such ideals into the inner workings of the business.

I often ask myself: Are they living social enterprise? Are employees treated fairly, with the same sense of social awareness and concern? Does the management & leadership style of the management team reflect such values?

In reality, I assume that many enterprises have not yet found this balance. Is it possible to take the social agenda that these enterprises are trying to meet on a daily basis with their target clients into the company? Can a business be labeled social enterprise if both sides of the coin are not met? Some might argue it is more about getting the work in the field done as fast and quickly as possible that’s  most important.

Does living social enterprise matter? Should it matter?

Reverse Brain Drain

January 23, 2009

After spending some time at Drishtee, I realized that there was a high percentage of new hires (as well as existing management staff) who were Indians who had recently or in the past few years returned to India from the US.

Many had gone to the US to study for undergrad and ended up staying for both graduate school and work. A number of people had lived in the US for many years, anywhere from five to 10 (or more.) This was much different then my experience in other countries around the world, where usually people left to study overseas and never returned.

When I began to ask people why they came back, many stated they were interested in joining its growth spurt by helping to build it and take it forward. Even if family pressures were part of the equation, people had made the choice to return and turned down working at a large multi-national or Indian corporation for a social enterprise.

This is also the case at many other social enterprises, a good number being Acumen Fund investees. At a another social enterprise I know, one woman had worked in China and decided to return to India on the basis that she could do the same type of work at home and couldn’t see remaining somewhere else when the same issues existed in her backyard.

People actually research, study and write about reverse brain drain. I found an article describing this situation with Indian immigrants in the US. Yet it’s not only a US to India journey, but other countries are also seeing this happen: China, Malaysia, Brazil and Turkey. Today, much of it may be due to the financial crisis in the US and Europe, but others have returned because they were interested in working for business with a social mission.

I interviewed two new employees at Drishtee: Rahil and Upasana. Rahil currently works in Connecticut for a hedge fund and took a 6 month sabbatical to work with Drishtee on its supply chain model. Upasana returned after attending university and working on the West Coast over a period of 8 years and is part of the Process and Planning team. Watch to find out more!