Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Waste Concern

People often ask me what is the benefit of being identified as a social entrepreneur? My answer is two things: it helps me raise money for Benetech and the people I meet who are also social entrepreneurs are my closest peers in the world.

When I travel to new places, I always try to connect with other social entrepreneurs. With this in mind, I got in touch with Iftekhar Enayetullah and Maqsood Sinha of the social enterprise Waste Concern. When I first met them several years ago, Waste Concern was processing organic waste from Dhaka into fertilizer, and generating jobs for the poor.

The amazing thing I learned on this visit was how much more was going on with these guys. It turns out that their work generates carbon credits, and so they've been able to attract millions of dollars of investment. They are not just in Dhaka, but a dozen other cities now. The topic of hybrid for-profit/nonprofit enterprises is a big one for me, and these guys are busy setting one up to greatly expand their operations. Plus, they are expanding into other areas of sustainability work, such as solar powered water pumps in rural Bangladesh.

As usual, I leave meetings with other social entreprenuers with my head spinning about where the world is going. In a great way!

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