Social enterprise: what to look for in an MBA course – Georgina Campbell Flatter

Georgina Campbell Flatter, Executive Director at MIT Legatum Center, Senior Lecturer in Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management

From Financial Times.

The developing world holds some of the fastest-growing economies. But some countries still present challenges.

The World Bank estimates that more than 736m people worldwide were living in extreme poverty in 2015, meaning they had no access to basic services such as water and sanitation, food, healthcare and education. To eradicate poverty, people need jobs. But 30m new vacancies are required every year just to keep up with the growth of the global working-age population, according to the UN.

A new generation of MBA graduates is trying to solve such complex problems by developing innovative, sustainable and scalable solutions that not only make money but also create employment.

The founders of Sanergy — David Auerbach, Ani Vallabhaneni, and Lindsay Stradley — met during an orientation hiking trip at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and set up the Kenya-based venture to make sanitation affordable and accessible.

Some 4.5bn people worldwide lack access to adequate facilities, which means more than half the world’s population live without toilets or latrines that safely dispose of waste.

According to Ms Stradley, whose recent TED Talk describes Sanergy’s approach, the team weighed several challenges in the developing world before they decided to help cities “systematically manage all of their poop” — which, in part, meant converting it into fertiliser and animal feed. In 2011, Sanergy launched in Nairobi, a city they chose for its entrepreneurial infrastructure, and where many people are without access to adequate sanitation.

Sanergy’s founders manufacture low-cost, high-quality toilet units which they franchise to slum residents who run them as businesses. Sanergy’s teams then collect the waste and transport it for conversion into fertiliser and animal feed. Seven years after it launched, the social enterprise serves tens of thousands of people per day with 1,700 toilets.

Read the full post at Financial Times.

Georgina Campbell Flatter, MEng (Oxon) SM, is a Senior Lecturer in Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Executive Director of the MIT Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship.

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