Posted by Brian Latko from Nairobi, Kenya
Jacaranda Health is a social enterprise operating in the low-income suburbs northeast of Nairobi, Kenya, that is scaling up a new approach to maternity care that relies on tightly integrated services, finely tuned clinical protocols and leading-edge technologies to deliver high quality services at low cost. But the first step to making its model sustainable is to change mindsets, preconceived notions and cultural norms that may lead potential clients to forego necessary care. As Jacaranda prepares to begin construction on its second clinic, I'm developing the business plan for expansion including the potential addition of new services and capabilities.
This summer, I'm working for Living Goods, a social enterprise that trains and provides credit to micro-entrepreneurs that deliver life saving goods to the doorsteps of the poor. Since 2007, Living Goods has grown to support 400+ entrepreneurs in Uganda, and next week, we will launch our first branch in Kenya.
As an intern at Revolution Foods, I’m probably one of very few GSBers who has to wear a hairnet at work every day. There probably also aren’t that many of us roaming school cafeterias and offering food samples to students either. Sounds unconventional but it has been an absolute blast so far!
The U.K.'s non-profit landscape is very different from that in the U.S. With no culture of philanthropy, but a large government welfare system, our problems and the solutions are different. However, we still have significant disadvantage. Hull is a city in the north of England with its fair share of problems; high unemployment, drugs, crime and most of all, a poor education system. Hull Children's University is a charity that aims to counter this problem at the earliest stage possible. For 17 years it has supported children at risk and in doing so helped them to lead happy lives. I am spending the summer working with them.
This summer I am working for a charter network in the fortunate position of running a month-long pilot program to test its hypotheses about blended learning, peer tutoring and teaching computer programming at an elementary school level.
Are incubators/accelerators generating a $-value add to the impact investing space? This is the question I am trying to answer while interning at I-DEV International. I-DEV International is a management consulting and financial advisory firm for companies in emerging markets and "Making the $-Value Added Business Case for Incubator/Accelerator Services" is one of the projects I have been assigned to during the summer. The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) asked I-DEV International to conduct a 360 degree research project that would quantify the $-value add that incubators/accelerators are having today in the impact investing space and develop a framework for objectively comparing incubators/accelerators against each other going forward. Many believe that incubators/accelerators are generating value by closing the gap between investors and entrepreneurs, reducing the due diligence costs and the deal sourcing costs for investors, but none of these have been proven yet.
I am working as the Director of School Operations for a charter elementary school in Brooklyn, New York. The charter school's mission is to close the achievement gap by serving minority students in low socio-economic status neighborhoods. In order to help them carry out their mission and expand their school, I have taken on many roles and responsibilities for the first time. These firsts include manual labor (lots and lots of manual labor), managing a team of five (all older than me), firing high school interns, getting yelled at by the mothers of aforementioned high school interns, nicely negotiating with third party vendors, aggressively negotiating with third party vendors, hyper-aggressively negotiating with third party vendors, and managing all aspects of a major project. So far, I've had many successes and also many *learning moments* (read: failures).
My project for the summer is to put together a training strategy, specifically for operational processes and IT systems, for all types of new hires at the CMO, i.e. principals, teachers, deans, office managers, special educators, counselors, etc. My charter school has been leading the practice of using student data to better deliver quality education to the underserved communities. As they add on more and more schools to the network, a streamlined training program to teach all new hires how to use IT systems and key processes has become more and more imperative.
A lot of people think poverty in the U.S. means not being able to eat out that much or take that many family vacations. In reality, it means sharing one bedroom with four family members, or sleeping out of your car. It means buying fast food at drive-thrus on your way from one job to the next. It means prioritizing calories over nutrition when shopping for groceries because you can't afford both. It means that a $10 movie ticket is out of the question, and you wouldn't have the time anyway. It means no health insurance, so you better hope that the body you're running into the ground through manual labor and a poor diet doesn't quit on you. Don't ignore this need just because it's less exotic than working in a slum in Nairobi or the countryside in the Philippines. And lest we forget that we're business students -- where there's a huge need, there's a huge market.
If you know me well, you also know that I wake up every morning, excited to start the day with a much-needed, wonderful cup of coffee. I can barely function without it! Yet it wasn't until recently that I began to think about the small-holder farmer that works around the clock to make sure I can drink that cup every morning. Meet small-holder farmer Don Mario.