Episode 87: Interview with Anh Bui, Vice President Benetech Labs

20170928_110452[4]Benetech Labs is the innovation engine of Benetech, a leading nonprofit that empowers communities through software for social good with a focus on education, human rights, poverty, and the environment. Benetech Labs works with communities and partners to identify needs and prototype software for social solutions and support solutions that deliver the greatest impact in the communities it serves. Benetech Labs uses a model very much like traditional venture capitalists use when evaluating projects with the key difference that Benetech Labs focuses on delivering maximum social good, not profit.

Anh is a seasoned nonprofit leader with expertise building scalable software for social good solutions through ecosystem engagement. At Benetech, Anh is responsible for leading Benetech Labs’ R&D work, engaging with communities, other technologists, and other non-profits around critical social issues to prototype new software solutions. Prior to Benetech, Anh led the development of a digital publishing platform for leading scientific and research publishers.

Episode 86: Interview with Joel Solomon, Chairman of Renewal Funds, co-author of the Clean Money Revolution

Joel-Solomon-2-200x300Joel Solomon is a highly experience social investor who has invested in over 100 early-growth stage companies in North America. Joel was instrumental in the development the Endswell Foundation, the largest, BC-based, charitable foundation in British Columbia funding environmental issues in the 1990s. Joel is currently Chair of Renewal Funds, Canada’s largest mission venture capital firm, with $98m assets under management. Joel is a Senior Advisor with RSF Social Finance, founding member of Social Venture Network, Business for Social Responsibility, the Tides Canada Foundation, and Board Chair of Hollyhock. He is co-author of the Clean Money Revolution, which will has now been published.

In this interview, Joel shares his perspective on the evolution of impact investing in the US, after years at the forefront front of social investment, and his experience building the Endswell Foundation. Joel discusses Renewal Funds investment strategy, what they are looking for in investee companies, and how they go about building a portfolio. He also provides advice for entrepreneurs that are looking to raise money for their business. Finally, Joel outlines some of the key ideas in his new book. Clean Money Revolution, and looks to the future of finance where profit & purpose are aligned. (An edited version of this interview has previously been posted to the Inspiring Social Entrepreneurs podcast series.)

Episode 85: Interview with Kevin Barenblat, founder of the Fast Forward accelerator

8VCxAjNX_400x400-200x200Kevin Barenblat is a highly experienced software entrepreneur with a passion for applying technology for good. He is a big believer that talented people can leverage technology to create scalable solutions to some of the world’s toughest problems. Kevin is the founder of the Fast Forward accelerator that helps tech nonprofits by investing money, providing training and mentoring, and helping scale them to impact using what he calls a “well-established Silicon Valley playbook.” (An edited version of this podcast was posted on the Financing Social Entrepreneurs podcast).

Episode 84: Interview with Ned Breslin, CEO at the Tennyson Center for Children

ned-1Ned Breslin is the CEO at the Tennyson Center for Children, a 112 year non-profit based in Denver, Colorado, dedicated to helping children who have experienced severe abuse, neglect and/or trauma so they can bravely, and safely, change their life’s story. Ned previously worked in international water and sanitation for close to 30 years and is a 2011 winner of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. 

In this inspiring interview, Ned talks about his ongoing journey as a social entrepreneur, the challenges and motivation of working in the child welfare sector, after 30 years working in water and sanitation. Ned talks about how Tennyson is re-envisioning provision of child welfare, how he has approached fundraising, and the real meaning of advocacy. Ned also touches on important trends within the social sectors including growing interest in hyper-local social innovation. This is a powerful interview where Ned shares the fruit of a long and committed career at the forefront of social innovation.

Episode 83 Interview with Jonathan Lewis social justice activist, social entrepreneur, author and educator

headshot-threeJonathan Lewis has had a long and varied career and vocation as a social justice activist and social entrepreneur. He is Founder of MCE Social Capital, an innovative social venture that finances small business loans to deeply impoverished people in 33 countries around the world. He is also Founder and President of the Opportunity Collaboration, an annual global strategic business retreat for anti-poverty leaders, and also co-founder of Copia Global, an Amazon-like consumer catalog. Jonathan has taught social entrepreneurship and lectured at universities around the world and is the author of the newly published The Unfinished Social Entrepreneur, a candid and provocative account of the challenges and questions facing all social entrepreneurs.