Advising Dr. Sarmah

Dr. Pradip Sarmah, CEO of Rickshaw Bank, visited MIT Sloan to give a talk on his successul social enterprise, and to solicit advice from SEID MBA students. Rickshaw Bank is an NGO that has served thousands of impoverished rickshaw drivers in India by selling them rickshaws on credit, allowing them to keep profits for themselves after they have paid off their loans. Dr. Sarmah sought strategic advice on the future of the organization, including organizational structure (non-profit vs. NGO) and how best to scale the business.

Olive oil tasting and learn about social entrepreneurship in the Middle East!

Come hear from two social entrepreneurs who have successfully started ventures in the Middle East region, followed by an olive oil tasting!

Mohammad Hanif Jhaveri set up Hera Capital, a social investment fund in the Middle East. The fund’s model included soliciting funds for projects in emerging Muslim Nations with the purpose of reducing incidence of poverty, extremism, and expanding economic opportunity for the lower-middle classes. Hanif is currently a joint-student MBA-MPA-ID at Stanford and Harvard Kennedy School. Prior to investing, he worked at McKinsey in a variety of public and private sector projects.

Olde City‘s founders, Ali Siam & Ena El-Hadidy, received as a wedding gift of a bottle of Palestinian olive oil in 2007. After remarking on the flavor and quality, they founded Olde City in 2008.  The business turned profitable in only 1 year, and achieved 5 figure sales in its first 6 months of operation, and doubled sales between 2008 and 2009.  Olde City currently carries exclusively fair trade products.

Location: E51-335

Time: 5:30-6:30pm

Date: November 3

Sponsored by the Middle East and North Africa Business Club, SEID, and the Entrepreneurship Club

Avoiding drug conterfeiting in Ghana – CEO of Spoxil

Growing up in Ghana, Ashifi Gogo was amazed that he could surf the Internet on his mobile phone from anywhere, but couldn’t always get clean tap water to drink. “The only state-of-the-art infrastructure we have is our cellphone network,” said Gogo, a 28-year-old Dartmouth College engineering graduate, who co-founded Sproxil Inc., a cell-phone based drug authentication service. Gogo said the decision by many African nations to privatize the mobile industry has inadvertently created tremendous opportunities to help solve widespread problems such as counterfeiting. Gogo hopes Sproxil will help end the “menace” of counterfeit drugs in Africa and other developing nations.

Room:  e62-250

Date: October 27

Time: 12pm – 1pm

Co-sponsored by SEID, Africa Business Club, and MoMIT

Mobile’s Role in Supporting Emerging Markets – Director of Nokia

Lior Nir leads the Global Strategy, Portfolio Management, and Business Development teams for Nokia’s Services Platform business unit. In this role, Lior sets the strategy and manages the portfolio of Nokia’s Cloud Computing and Data Core Services, which enable Nokia’s Services and mobile devices to serve 100s of millions of active users. Prior to this role, Lior was the General Manager of Nokia’s personal media sharing service, Ovi Share. He built and launched this Service in over 100 countries and managed the Services Social Media ecosystem. Before this, Lior was the Director of Global Product Marketing for Nokia Enterprise Mobility Solutions, responsible for the development and execution of the go-to-market strategy.

Room: E62 in room 223

Time: 12pm -1pm

Date: November 1

Cosponsored by SEID and MoMIT

Does Venture Capital help social enterprises in Latin America? Hear from CEO of IGNIA Fund

Come hear from the Co-founder and Managing Partner of IGNIA Partners , Álvaro Rodríguez Arregui, about his perspective in creating one of the most successful venture capital organizations to support social entrepreneurs in Latin America. Before IGNIA, Alvaro was Former Chairman of the Board of ACCION International (, a 50 year old US based non-for-profit and a global pioneer of microfinance and worldwide leading development organization in the field.

He also served as the Chief Financial Officer of Grupo Vitro, one of the largest glass manufacturers in the world. In 2005 was named Young Global Leader (YGL) by the World Economic Forum (WEF). Rodríguez holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.A. from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM).

IGNIA is a venture capital investment firm based in Mexico that supports the founding and expansion of high growth social enterprises that serve the base of the socio-economic pyramid in Latin America. IGNIA empowers entrepreneurship and generates social impact while creating attractive financial returns for its investors. IGNIA is raising an initial fund of approximately US$75 million.

Lunch will be served

Room: E62-223

Time: 12pm -1pm

Cosponsored by SEID, Latin American Club, and VCPE

Hear from the founder of Global Public Health at BCG

Co-sponsored by Sloan Entrepreneurs in International Development, Management Consulting Club, and Net Impact

Wendy Woods – Partner and Managing Director, BCG

Wendy Woods is a Partner and Managing Director of the Boston Consulting Group. She founded and leads BCG’s work in global public health – working with foundations, partnerships and multilateral organizations to improve health across the developing world. Before joining BCG, Wendy worked for the OECD and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Lunch provided

Room: E62-262

Time: 12pm – 1pm

Lessons learned about microfinance – Hear from CEO of ACCION

Mr. Schlein, CEO of ACCION, brings 25 years of extensive international banking, management and public service experience to ACCION, whose mission is to help alleviate global poverty by providing „micro‟ loans, financial services and business training to the world‟s entrepreneurial poor. ACCION currently works with partner microfinance institutions in 23 countries, and last year helped reach over 3.7 million poor clients with small working-capital loans, savings accounts and other financial products.

As President of Citigroup‟s International Franchise Management unit, Mr. Schlein helped manage the bank‟s network of 100 Chief Country Officers, who were responsible for performance, regulatory relations, governance and reputational risk in their respective countries. Prior to his senior posts at Citi, Mr. Schlein served as Chief of Staff at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as Chief of Staff for the New York City Deputy Mayor for Finance and Economic Development.

Mr. Schlein holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1984.

ACCION International is a private, nonprofit organization with the mission of giving people the financial tools they need – microenterprise loans, business training and other financial services – to work their way out of poverty. A world pioneer in microfinance, ACCION was founded in 1961 and issued its first microloan in 1973 in Brazil. ACCION International‟s partner microfinance institutions today are providing loans as low as $50 to poor men and women entrepreneurs in 23 countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa and the United States. In the last decade alone, ACCION partners have disbursed more than 28.5 million loans totaling $23.4 billion; 97 percent of the loans have been repaid.

Lunch will be served

Room: E62-250

Time: 12pm – 1pm

Date: Oct 14

Sponsored by SEID

Women Entrepreneurs in War Zones: The Power of Small Business to Change Women’s Lives

Women Entrepreneurs in War Zones: The Power of Small Business to Change Women’s Lives” with Gayle Lemmon – 12pm – 1pm; Room E51-345

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon began writing about women-owned businesses in Afghanistan, Rwanda and Bosnia during her second year at Harvard Business School in 2005.  Since then she has reported from Kabul, Kigali and Sarajevo on the enormous opportunities and challenges facing women entrepreneurs for the Financial Times, New York Times Global Edition, Christian Science Monitor, HuffingtonPost, Daily Beast and Her work on women’s entrepreneurship during and after war has also been published by Harvard Business School, the International Finance Corporation, and the Center for International Private Enterprise.  In March HarperCollins will publish her first book, The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, which tells the true story of a young woman whose business created jobs and hope for 100 women in her neighborhood during the Taliban years.

Gayle will talk about her experiences in Afghanistan, the outlook for women-owned start-ups in some of the world’s most difficult business environments, and the power and potential of women’s entrepreneurship to change family’s lives.  Bring your questions for what is certain to be a lively discussion and dialog.