Episode 16 Interview Jane Chen co-founder of Embrace

Jane Chen is co-founder of Embrace, a US social enterprise which has developed a low-cost infant warmer -and aims to help the 20 million premature and low birth-weight babies born every year.

The Embrace infant warmer costs about 1% of a traditional incubator and is currently being distributed across clinics in India, with pilots being conducted in 10 countries. It is credited with having helped more than 60,000 babies worldwide.

Jane was CEO for five years building of Embrace from an idea to a life-saving innovation- she now works as Chief Business Officer for Embrace Innovations, a for-profit spin off of Embrace.

In this interview, Jane talks about:  220px-Jane_Marie_Chen

  • The benefits of design based thinking
  • Why Embrace relocated to India
  • How rapid prototyping works for Embrace
  • The value of co-creation with customers
  • Embrace’s hybrid profit/non-profit structure


Episode 15 Interview with Christian Busch Associate Director and Research Fellow at Innovation and Co-Creation Lab, London School of Economics

Christian Busch is Associate Director and Research Fellow at Innovation and Co-Creation Lab, London School of Economics (LSE) where he works with governments, enterprises, and social enterprises to develop scalable inclusive business models.  Christian’s research focusses on entrepreneurship, social innovation, social networks, and business model innovation.

In this interview, Christian talks about ChristianBuschPortrait_V3

  • Changing expectation about corporate behaviour amongst millennium generation
  • Why social entrepreneurs need to develop financially sustainable models
  • The importance of innovative finance models that allow social businesses to scale
  • Lessons from the success of RLabs South Africa

Episode 14 Interview with Kevin Starr, Director of Mulago Foundation

Kevin Starr directs the Mulago Foundation, a private foundation that invests in charities and philanthropic opportunities that have the highest possible impact. Indeed, the foundation has a single-minded focus on impact: how to build high impact organisations for social change, how to measure and invest in impact, how to take impact to scale. The Mulago Foundation’s portfolio includes notable organizations such as the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), the One Acre Fund, Conservation International, and Kick Start.

In 2003. Kevin established the Rainer Arnhold Fellows Program to apply Mulago’s ideas to help social entrepreneurs turn good ideas into large-scale lasting change. It supports social entrepreneurs with promising solutions to the biggest problems facing the developing world, and aims to help them scale up their impact. Kevin mentors and teaches fellows in numerous other programs for social entrepreneurs.

In this interview, Kevin talks about:

  • The importance of measuring impact
  • The growing importance of teams rather than solo entrepreneurs
  • The resilience factor
  • Why scalable ideas are the foundation of successful social enterprises
  • How to pivot in the face of new information

Episode 13 Interview with Tom Szaky, founder of Terracycle

Tom is the founder of TerraCycle, an American company that makes consumer products from waste. It all begain in 2001 with a simple idea to make an organic fertilizer from worm poo;today TerraCycle has grown into a company with annual revenues in excess of $25 million, providing free waste collection programs for hard to recycle materials-and then turning that waste into affordable green products. TerraCycle now operates in 26 countries.

TerraCycle has developed a range of volunteer-led recycling systems that enables individuals, families, schools, or community groups to establish “Brigades” to collect a specific waste stream such as coffee capsules, cosmetic packaging and recently, cigarette buts. Its Bottle Brigade program, where schools and communities can send in recyclables for cash, operates in more than 26 countries around the world. In this interview Tom talks about:


  • The economics of recycling tom szaky
  • How to leverage purpose to enhance impact
  • How TerraCycle has built a 60 million volunteer support group
  • Why social entrepreneurs need to plan for success assuming they don’t have the benefit of purpose or social impact
  • The power of partnerships to achieve impact


Episode 12: Interview with Fermin Reygadas, Co-founder of Fundacion Cantaro Azul

Fermin Reygadas is Executive Director and Co-founder of Fundacion Cantaro Azul, an organization based in Mexico that works with rural communities to develop and implement safe water services.

Berkeley, Cantaro Azul developed the first ultraviolet water disinfection system specifically design for rural households. Cantaro Azul has also developed safe water solutions for schools and communities, including a hybrid franchise called Nuestra Agua. The franchise uses a kiosk-based technology operated by local entrepreneurs under an economically sustainable model to offer an affordable and reliable safe water service.

Fermin’s ultimate goal is to enable widespread and constant access to potable water while empowering community members with ownership and control of their water sources.

In this interview, Fermin talks about:

  • Cantaro Azul’s blend of research and groundworkFerminR01
  • The importance of building a support system
  • Why social entrepreneurs need passion and empathy
  • The benefits of working collaboratively with rural communities
  • Cantaro Azul’s social franchise model that works with local entrepreneurs to provide potable water