Episode 63 Interview with Ron Bills, CEO of Envirofit, a US based social entreprise with a mission to create products that reduce pollution and energy dependency

Envirofit is a global social enterprise that develops innovative smart cookstoves designed to reduce smoke and CO2 emissions and enable families to live healthier lives, while reducing climate change and increasing clean energy initiatives.

 Since the company was set up in 2003 it has grown into a global company serving over five million people, with over a dozen products and regional headquarters in East Africa, West Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

 In this interview, Bill talks about:  ron-bills-1-298x300

  • how a clean technology cookstove can be a life changing event
  • The power of execution
  • Bill’s philosophy of getting and staying close to users, using focus groups and other communications to develop “products that users have a passion to own.”
  • How Envirofit was set up from the outset to manufacture at scale

Episode 62 Interview Taylor Downs, Co founder Vera Solutions and OpenFn

Taylor has spent almost a decade designing data systems for leading international development organizations. He co-founded Vera Solutions—an organization that works with social impact organizations to create affordable, powerful and flexible technology solutions that put real-time information in the hands of the people who need it. Vera has now served more than 175 organisations around the world.

taylor_downsTaylor also set up OpenFn.org, a platform that helps organizations connect their technologies to create complete information systems, from program monitoring and evaluation to community health worker tools in the field. OpenFn automates the flow of data between existing tools to save time, save money, and prevent human error in data processing. In the end, he hopes that decision makers, from the board to the front-lines, will get better data, faster.

Episode 61 Interview with Professor Mariana Christen Jakob CEO & Founder seif, the Social Entrepreneurship Initiative & Foundation, based in Switzerland

Mariana is CEO & Founder of seif, the Social Entrepreneurship Initiative & Foundation, based in Switzerland.  Seif was established in 2010 to develop a wide variety of business creation and growth workshops, and support social businesses looking for funding – it has catalysed the development of a more professional community of social entrepreneurs and innovators in Switzerland.

mcj_2-kopie-672x372The Seif Awards for Social Entrepreneurship is the largest business plan competition in German-speaking Europe. Seif has also recently developed the Impact Investors Circle comprising business angels, family offices and other investors interested in funding social businesses to deliver a financial return and social impact in Switzerland and across German speaking Europe.

Episode 60 Interview with, John Rendel the Founder and CEO of PEAS, (Promoting Equality in African Schools)

John is the Founder and CEO of PEAS (Promoting Equality in African Schools), a rapidly growing and multiple award-winning social enterprise that widens access to secondary education in Africa. 

Ten years ago John began working full time on setting up PEAS –the aim was to create a sustainable and self-sufficient network of schools, which can thrive with government support. The charity now has a network of 28 schools in Uganda and 2 in Zambia.

PEAS students tend to come from poorer backgrounds than government or private schools in Uganda. Even though many of the schools are in hard to reach rural areas, PEAS students are achieving exam results that are above the national average. Three
PEAS schools have recently been recognised by the Ministry of Education in Uganda as being amongst the top performing secondary schools in the country. PEAS’s ambition is now to lead a charter school movement by helping Africa governments create enabling education ecosystems that get millions more kids through quality secondary school.

john-rendelJohn has gone on to become a member of the Courvoisier Future 500, the Rockefeller Top One Hundred Next Century Innovators and the Charity Times Awards Rising CEO star.  In 2013, PEAS won the UK Charity Awards and the WISE Global Innovation Awards.  

Episode 59 Interview with Deep Joshi, co-founder of Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN)

Deep is an Indian social worker and NGO activist He co-founded the pioneering Indian non-profit organisation, Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN), of which he was the Executive Director till 2007.

PRADAN is involved in building self-help groups, developing land and water resource, natural resource management, forest-based livelihood, horticulture and agriculture.

Deep was awarded the 2009 Magsaysay award for Community Leadership for his work for “development of rural communities.” He is also a recipient of the civilian honour of Padma Shri.

In this interview, Deep discusses: deep-joshi-magsaysay-313

  • PRADAN’s growth and success
  • PRADAN’s vision to improve productivity of natural resources
  • Insights from PRADAN’s pioneering apprenticeship programme
  • The impact of India’s falling levels of rural life
  • What it means for India to be a developed economy