In a recent, thought provoking piece for the Harvard Business Review, contributor Timothy Ogden makes the argument that the United States is a laggard, not a leader in social entrepreneurship. The piece shares the humbling story of William Kamkwamba, a teenage boy from Malawi who homespun a ramshackle windmill out of scrapyard materials to provide power and running water for his family.
I have to admit, Ogden's argument is compelling. He proceeds to discuss how major social innovations like microfinance, mobile to mobile money transfer services and text message crisis response all have originated in developing nations; what he refers to as the "two-thirds world". It only makes sense that those whose lives are embedded into situations of poverty and disadvantage be the most likely to appreciate the innovation necessary to solve their most immediate concerns. Our strategic philanthropy through the likes of Kiva, just isn't as compelling as a story like Kamkwamba's.
Ogden proceeds to argue that the U.S. needs to concern itself less with incubating social innovation domestically and create more capacity to support innovation internationally. The most obvious asset we can provide to such a situation is financial capital. Additionally, unique programs like MBAs without Borders provide management resources help to entrepreneurs in the two-thirds world.
To read the full, original article click on this link: Does the U.S. Lag in Social Entrepreneurship? | Social Enterprise
Author: Nick Piedmonte