Five lessons learned in entrepreneurship for development

Entrepreneurship for development

This blog explores an interesting, yet contentious example of an organisation promoting an entrepreneurship-initiative for rural development. It highlights the difficulties of introducing a set of Western market-practices into a non-Western context – namely Tanzania. Economic development in rural Tanzania may be key to alleviating the negative consequences of rapid urbanisation and to addressing theRead more

Reclaiming symbols and spaces: social innovation made in (Southern) Italy

Reclaiming symbols and spaces: social innovation made in (Southern) Italy

Students of social innovation[1] know only too well the power of symbols and stories. Those who look for innovative solutions to complex, wicked social problems face, first, the challenge of conceptualising and clearly explaining to others the very social evil they are trying to address. This is usually no trivial matter: the way we considerRead more

Owning the future of work

Owning the future of work

A lot is written about the millennial generation in the press. Maybe that they are narcissists and buy too much avocado on toast, or that they have the attention span of a goldfish and are addicted to social media. Invariably these opinions are put forward by people with a very selective knowledge of the issuesRead more

Want to become a social entrepreneur? The University of Cambridge has you covered!

Want to become a social entrepreneur? The University of Cambridge has you covered!

You are bold, ambitious and determined. As a student at the University of Cambridge you also dream of becoming a social entrepreneur, someone who innovates to create economic as well as social and/or environmental benefits. Fear not, Cambridge has many resources available to support you in this entrepreneurial journey. Just one year ago I commenced myRead more

Building ethical cultures by hiring those who voice

Building ethical cultures by hiring those who voice

In today’s business, it is crucial that companies are known as having the right values and the willingness to pursue them no matter what the cost is. Being a determined value-driven organisation makes customers and other stakeholders trust you. Unfortunately, like people, organisations do not always act in rational ways and mistakes are made thatRead more

Gender as we know it: rethinking (in)equality in the workplace

Gender as we know it: rethinking (in)equality in the workplace

It is no mystery that the private sector can be an extremely gendered working environment.   From glass ceilings (invisible barriers preventing women from achieving high profile positions) to the perhaps lesser-known glass cliffs (leadership positions becoming available only when attached to great risks and high chances of failure), gender inequality is a very tangible,Read more

The academy and everyday sexism: can we ‘undo’ gendered biases?

The academy and everyday sexism: can we ‘undo’ gendered biases?

To female students and faculty members alike, sexism in academia is often a big, uncomfortable elephant in the room. The problem is a complex and multifaceted one, but two aspects are particularly worthy of attention. The first concerns inclusivity and the actual access of women, as well as other historically discriminated against categories, to highRead more

Mentors: hindrance or help for entrepreneurs?

Mentors: hindrance or help for entrepreneurs?

Recently we noticed a blog from the well-established incubator programme Village Capital explaining why they no longer hold demo days. The author, Ross Baird, points out that “I’ve never seen an investor make an investment decision, ever, as a result of a pitch”. This statement is self-evidently true. And at Cambridge Social Ventures we have never heldRead more

Board assurance for charities – do we really know what we think we know?

Board assurance for charities – do we really know what we think we know?

Governance failures have made headlines repeatedly in recent years across all sectors of the economy, and charities have not escaped scandal with high profile cases attracting scrutiny and eroding public confidence. I work with a range of different organisations at board and management level, and a common problem for boards is finding the right balanceRead more

Facing up to the fourth industrial revolution

Facing up to the fourth industrial revolution

On 13 November the World Economic Forum (WEF) convened the latest meeting of its Global Future Councils in the lavish settings of a Dubai beach-side resort, and I joined as a newly elected Global Future Council Fellow. The Global Future Councils were created by the WEF to be “the world’s foremost interdisciplinary knowledge network dedicatedRead more