SDG09 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

These social entrepreneurs are working on Sustainable Development Goal 9, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

E-Commerce for Everyone, with Isaac Hunja, Sky.Garden

Sky.Garden is a SaaS e-commerce platform built for retailers in Africa. People who work in the informal economy make up half to three-quarters of the non-agricultural labor force in many countries. In Kenya, the informal sector represents 82.7% of all employment. Many of the people involved in the informal economy also have a job in the formal economy. Isaac Hunja, the Chief Marketing Officer at Sky.Garden, comments, “Every Kenyan has a side-hustle.” One example of the informal economy is street vendors. They may have a kiosk in a marketplace or they may be selling goods from the back seat of their car. According to Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and…

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102, Jim Fruchterman, Benetech | Technology Serving Humanity #TechForGood

What if we focused the power of technology on our greatest social challenges? Jim Fruchterman was a social entrepreneur before the term was popularized. He told me, “I didn’t know I was a social entrepreneur for the first ten years.” Jim was in a PhD program at Stanford when he Left to join a rocket company. Unfortunately the rocket blew up on the launching pad. But by this time, he had been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. Instead of returning to the PhD program, Jim decided to go on to his next startup, a company that created omnifont Optical Character Recognition, or OCR. OCR is a technology that enables you…

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095, Nithya Ramanathan, Nexleaf Analytics | Connected Devices with Social Impact #TechForGood

Nexleaf Analytics creates low-cost connected devices with social impact. They help high-impact organizations measure everything from indoor smoke levels to the performance of a refrigerator holding precious vaccines. Nexleaf takes advantage of the widespread availability of inexpensive feature phones and sensors to collect the types of data that weren’t possible just a few years ago. Nithya Ramanathan first met her co-founder Martin Lukac while they were both working on their PhDs. Nithya told me, “Both of us ultimately were looking at how does real time wireless data from sensors, how can that really change the types of questions and the types of answers that scientists can start putting forth with…

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093, Taylor Downs, OpenFn | Increase Impact by Automating #TechForGood

In today’s episode of Social Entrepreneur, we continue our #TechForGood series. Today we meet Taylor Downs of OpenFn (pronounced open function). OpenFn is the easy way for NGOs to connect all of their technologies in a few clicks. Here’s why that is important. We know the promise of technology. When we automate routine data jobs: We increase the speed of our impact, brining data to near real time. We increase data accuracy, reducing data entry errors. We reduce costs of people-intensive routine jobs. And we can more easily utilize our technology, reducing the need for technical specialists on the job. We can quickly scale and amplify our impact, especially when…

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091, Cameron Goldie-Scot, Musoni Services | Microfinance #TechForGood

Cameron Goldie-Scot is a cofounder of Musoni Services, an award-winning, low-cost microfinance software licensed to more than 50 microfinance institutions. This episode of the podcast Social Entrepreneur is the first in a series we’re calling #TechForGood. As you know, technology is well suited for driving inefficiencies out of the market, creating value and allowing founders to reap rewards. And, while there is nothing wrong with creating a billion dollar tech startup, the same principles can be applied to take on some of the most intractable problems of our time. Cameron’s story starts when he graduated from university and decided to take a 5-week assignment, investigating the possibility of using M-Pesa…

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048, Astrid Scholz, Sphaera | Unleashing $100 Billion in Value for Social Impact

If there were ever an industry that is ripe for disruption, it’s what we might call the social change industry – charitable organizations, NGOs, government organizations and other change makers. That’s primarily because of inefficiencies of information across the industry. If only someone would come along to collapse the barriers to collaboration, think how much more social impact we could have. There is a number attached to that inefficiency in the social impact marketplace, and that number is $100 billion. Sphaera is a social enterprise dedicated to accelerating the pace of change. They offer a cloud-based solution-sharing platform. They collect and curate solutions (best practices, case studies, interventions, etc.) and…

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048, Astrid Scholz, Sphaera | Unleashing $100 Billion in Value for Social Impact

043, Mike Vo, we2o | $62.4 B in Untapped Funds for Charitable Giving

Charitable giving seems to be stuck in a time warp. While we easily bank, shop and communicate across mobile apps, online charitable giving is not always the best user experience. This poor user experience came to the attention of Tesla Motor’s Director of Quality Product Engineering, Mike Vo. Something else came to Mike’s notice. After 5 years of working 90+ hours per week with almost every day of the year, his accrued personal time off, or vacation time, was about to be forfeited. Mike wondered how common this problem was, and if he could do something with those unused vacation hours. In the US alone, every year there is $52.4…

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043, Mike Vo, we2o | $62.4 B in Untapped Funds for Charitable Giving

Pedro Domingos, Author of “Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Society”

If you want to talk about machine learning, Pedro Domigos is a good person to start with. When Pedro was growing up in Lisbon, he loved to read and to learn. In fact, when he was 13 years old, he decided that he wanted to learn everything that there is to know. It did not take him long to decide that it might be a little more useful to, instead of knowing everything, to become deeply knowledgeable about a few topics. His university studies led him to computer science in the 1980s, just as personal computers were beginning to catch on. Today, Pedro is a professor at the University of…

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Pedro Domingos, Author of “Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Society”