Our 1st Social Innovation Hack: Wow!

Our 1st Social Innovation Hack: Wow!

WOW! – That’s the most popular opinion, or reaction, we heard from everyone at the end of the 3-day sensational event on Sunday night. Our Social Innovation Hack this past weekend was a great success, and it wouldn’t have been possible without all of our sponsors, mentors, speakers, and participants! From Friday night to Sunday night, hackers (from designers, engineers to marketers) got to network with like-minded peers, pitch awesome ideas, form teams, flex their creativity, learn from insightful mentors, and develop solutions to global issues into a social enterprise – and most importantly, have fun while doing so! Thanks to LMHQ for hosting the event at their collaborative space, which allowed hackers to get creative and develop their ideas. Huge thanks to Bard MBA in Sustainability for their tremendous support and for bringing their entrepreneurial spirit to the event. What happened at the 2016 Social Innovation Hack Friday Alejandro Crawford of Acceleration Group and Bard MBA kicked off the event with an inspiring and action-provoking talk on Ideation. At the beginning of his talk, only two participants shyly raised their hand expressing the intention to pitch an idea. After Alejandro had stepped off the stage, we ended up with pitches from 8 brave individuals! Participants proceeded to network and discuss the ideas shared. The night ended with the formation of 5 teams of 3 to 6 team members.  Saturday Karen Schlesinger of Founder Therapy started off the day with a session on Customer Discovery and Development. Her actionable presentation motivated participants to get to know their prospective customers and partners before diving into the details of their business...

Our First-Ever Social Impact Pitch Night: What We Learned—and How You Can Get Involved

Net Impact NYC recently held a pitch night with four new startups working in the social impact space. Each startup’s business model relied on a web-based platform to serve as a virtual connector for very specific communities. Fcancer and Agora for Good both use online platforms to connect donors to nonprofits, though each takes a different approach in providing value and communities served. Eat Offbeat and NaTakallam seek to empower refugees through employment opportunities and help them harness skills that these populations already possess. Here’s more details on these awesome organizations–and ways to get involved: As it’s name implies, FCancer’s mission is to fight cancer. Instead of collecting dollars for to do so, the organization helps individuals donate skills to support nonprofits working in this space. Designers, photographers and animators rank among the volunteers who have donated work hours to support the work of nonprofits such as The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Agora for Good takes a similar approach, but instead of just matching potential donors to projects, it works to provide the donor with added value in terms of promotion of nonprofits recommended by experts in the field and metrics that marry purpose and performance. Eat Offbeat appealed to the crowd’s palate as well as their sense of social justice. The organization employees refugees to cook and deliver meals whose origins are ‘off the beaten path’ (think Nepalese and Eritrean). Perhaps the most effective testament to the chef’s effectiveness came from the audience that night – an NINYC member who had dined on food provided by Eat Offbeat and deemed it delicious. NaTakallam, or Arabic for Let’s Talk, had also found an elegant solution to employ refugees, specifically Syrians,...

The Intersection of Social Enterprises & Environmental Sustainability

Can businesses do good and be profitable? Hunter Lovins, President and Co-Founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions and Time Magazine millennium Hero of the Planet, thinks so. On April 11, Lovins shared her thoughts on social enterprises and environmental sustainability at an event hosted by Net Impact NYC, Bard MBA, and MPOWERD, at COOKFOX architecture firm in Chelsea. John Salzinger, Co-Founder of MPOWERD, a New York City-based B Corp, moderated the conversation. There is a “personal case, a business case, and a society case for well-being,” which becomes apparent if we switch the predominant narrative from “he who dies with the most toys wins,” to one that reflects “wellbeing is the key to happiness,” Lovins said. Her latest endeavor, Leading for Wellbeing, brings together business leaders, policy makers, scholars, faith leaders, media experts, and change agents to create a world that works for 100 percent of humanity. On the business side, many social entrepreneurs are working towards this new narrative. MPOWERD, for example, makes clean energy products that are affordable, easy to use, and good for the earth—including Luci inflatable solar lights. MPOWERD wants to empower the 1.5 billion people in low-income countries still living without electricity by delivering Luci lights at prices they can afford. According to Lovins, social enterprises like MPOWERD have an important role to play in helping to solve energy poverty. Throughout the world, 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity. Many use kerosene lamps which can have negative effects on health. “It’s a wonderful idea to start a business, but incredibly challenging,” said MPOWERD’s Salzinger. As an impact company with an integrated bottom line, “it’s difficult to garner investment...

Careers in Depth: Social Impact in the Private Sector

Interested in social impact but not sure how to incorporate it into your career? You’re not alone. On April 4, Net Impact’s Fordham and NYC chapters joined forces to present an interactive conversation on social impact career opportunities in the private sector followed by a networking reception. Many of the attendees, who represented a variety of ages, races, and industries, were interested in transitioning into a more impactful career. The panel of industry experts moderated by Cal Zarin, Founder and Principle of Shared Value Media, included Erin Eriksson, Executive Director of the M?A?C AIDS Fund; Colleen Galvin, Senior Vice President, Citi Community Development; and Kyra Kaszynski, Strategy and Relationship Executive for the United Nations at Deloitte. The panelists provided insights, discussed trends, and shared their career paths with attendees.   On career transitions: The panelists emphasized the value of diverse work experience, encouraging job seekers to play up their strengths. “The best way to work your way up is out and in,” they agreed. Colleen recommended that those with a corporate background use their skills to volunteer for a nonprofit organization. Though she didn’t originally gravitate toward community development, by volunteering when she was unemployed, Colleen made new connections that helped her define her career-path. Even once you know what you want, getting there isn’t easy, and the panel revealed that it is equally challenging to transition from corporate to nonprofit as it is from nonprofit to corporate. While getting her MBA, Erin decided to focus on HIV and AIDS work with the intention of entering the nonprofit public health space. “The philanthropy world is hard to get a foot in the door, and once you have a...
Panel: Social Business and Microfinance in NYC with KivaZip

Panel: Social Business and Microfinance in NYC with KivaZip

On Wednesday, November 11, Net Impact NYC had the pleasure of partnering with KivaZip to host a panel of KivaZip loan recipients here in NYC. Kiva Zip is part of Kiva.org, a platform through which lenders make microfinance loans directly to borrowers. Guests learned about the social entrepreneur’s experiences with KivaZip and how their using the loans for social impact-driven missions.  Although all the entrepreneurs had different reasons for beginning their business, they shared common themes and challenges. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about peer-to-peer lending in NYC, and network with like-minded people! Lenders and representatives from Kiva Zip were on hand to answer questions. Interested in attending other #NetImpactNYC events? Visit our upcoming events page for what is coming up...
Beyond the Screen: Media that Inspires Impact

Beyond the Screen: Media that Inspires Impact

On Wednesday, September 30, Net Impact NYC had the pleasure of partnering with NYU Stern Social Enterprise Association to host a panel of activists and filmmakers who are inspiring social change through their work. Debika Shome, Deputy Director of The Harmony Institute moderated, and panelists included Heather Asch, Director of No Strings Productions, Peggy Rajski, Director of Trevor and Founder of The Trevor Project, Cynthia Lowen, Producer of Bully and Co-Founder of The Bully Project, and Kristen Fitzpatrick, Director of Acquisition & Exhibition at Women Make Movies. We explored how a new generation of creators is building movements around films to spark action on pressing social issues. Here’s five key takeaways: 1. Sometimes, it starts with a simple “Aha” moment. Peggy Rajski spoke about hers. Her film, about high suicide rates among LGBT youth, was taking off—and she realized there was no support hotline for young people who were struggling to actually reach out to. That’s where the Trevor Project started. It began with just a handful of individuals sitting around her kitchen table. The organization was built within 3 months just in time before Ellen Degeneres screened the film. 20 years later, the organization has a staff of 60 and its hotline answers hundreds of calls, chats and texts a day. 2. Partnerships and collaborations are really pivotal in bringing it all to life and to the right audience. All of the panelists spoke about how they’ve relied on partnerships, coalitions, and sometimes international networks to get the word out. For example, Cynthia Lowen talked about how she was able to film Bully in schools with children because of a connection she had with someone...