Social entrepreneurs take centre stage
Strange how ‘the bottom line’ always seems to be top of the corporate agenda. Profits can be counted while prophets are generally discounted in our boardrooms.
While innovators and disruptive technology companies contribute umpteen trillions – maybe quadrillions – to the economies of the world in terms of paper money and GDP, the true value of their inventions is either lost to the wider world or immeasurable in terms of contribution to humanity. That’s because the metrics the corporate world applies to ascertaining success are financial rather than societal – geared to the power of earning rather than learning.
So how to strike a better balance between grey cells and greenbacks to ensure brilliant technology delivers as much for mankind as it does for Mammon?
That will occupy the thoughts of social entrepreneurs speaking at the Nerve congress, organised by Business Weekly in Cambridge UK from June 25-27. Entrepreneur and author Robyn Scott was last year named one of Wired Magazine’s ‘50 People About to Change the World.’ Robyn is managing director and co-founder of OneLeap and an ace global facilitator. Her company connects pioneering entrepreneurs with business leaders but the initiative reaches much broader and deeper into communities across the planet.
Robyn is also co-founder of Mothers for All, which teaches entrepreneurship skills to AIDS orphan caregivers. Her first book was about growing up in Botswana against the AIDS epidemic. Her second is the true story of maximum prisoners in South Africa who have adopted orphans.
She is an ambassador for the Access to Medicine Index, a Gates Cambridge Scholar and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. Her interests represent a broad church and her influence enables powerful people, organisations and their ideas to cross-pollinate across borders.
Chris Rezendes, president of Massachusetts-based Inex Advisors Inc, is another evangelist for social enterprise. He leads client and partner engagements as well as new research initiatives for Inex. In his current advisory engagements, Rezendes focuses on helping clients define, select and prosecute their most promising growth and investment opportunities in internet of Things, M2M and related ‘killer’ enabling technologies markets.
Throughout his career, Rezendes has helped some of the largest and most respected companies in the industrial, embedded, defence, infrastructure and information technology industries achieve higher quality, more profitable, sustainable growth. His clients have included nearly 75 per cent of the Electronics Business Top 100 OEMs, most of the Information Week 100, and every tech-focused member of the Fortune 500.
Rezendes has led or participated in hundreds of intelligence and strategy projects with a total billing value approaching $100 million. Most importantly, in the context of his appearance at Nerve, Rezendes is persuading government organisations and major corporates to shift their compass to address how disruptive technology can help humanity. That mission is being pursued with oak leaves and clusters by The Van Heyst Group in Boulder, Colorado whose networking czar Peter Johnson will prove a hot gospeller for social enterprise at Nerve.
VHG is working on some exciting initiatives in the startup incubator and related investment space and is scaling up its ‘Future of Life’ platform – also dedicated to coaxing technology innovators to direct more of their firepower to societal uses. Johnson hopes to share more on both initiatives with Nerve delegates.
Johnson has 17 years’ experience in strategic partnerships, venture funding, angel investing, portfolio management, corporate sponsorship sales, and marketing. He is the co-founder and EVP of the Startup Phenomenon, a creative fusion of entrepreneurial catalysts committed to developing vibrant ecosystems across industries to foster enhanced networks and inspire future generations of business. And he is a managing partner for the Future of Life, a humanistic approach to the IOT and M2M global community.
He is also an adviser to The Billion People Project – a call to action to engage a billion plus individuals who commit to conscious positive actions for the environment.
Johnson is further involved with the H(app)athon project, whose goal is to leverage emerging mobile/sensor technology to boost the wellbeing and happiness of individuals.
The Nerve disruptive technology congress takes place at the Cambridge Corn Exchange and Guildhalls – June 25-27, 2013. Tickets and further details on speakers can be found on the Nerve website – www.itsnerve.com
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Chris Rezendes, president, Inex Advisors Inc