By Alex Marino, Staff Writer
For those interested in careers in the non-profit or NGO sectors, development projects through global organizations such as the World Bank (WB) or International Monetary Fund (IMF) provide an interesting track to getting involved and gaining experience. These globally-oriented organizations effectively organize subsidiary branches and projects all over the world, but they are criticized for their lack of effective and efficient implementation of donor funds in a way that measures actual sustainable results. As a result, a new approach has emerged that combines the lucrative corporate business structure with a donor mentality to create not only a shared value, but more importantly a measurable social impact and profit stream. This hybrid entity is known as a social enterprise, and the model is rapidly spreading across the globe as a new and innovative method to ensure that donor funding and profit generation create a self-sustaining company capable of measuring impact in socially-oriented projects. If this sounds interesting to your career ambitions, it’s time you learned about Net Impact!!
Net Impact is a conference geared towards philanthropist and development activities, social enterprise, and social entrepreneurship. It’s an interactive conference that includes a career fair with social enterprises and larger corporations, such as Coca-Cola, that are embracing sustainable development projects. In addition to the career fair, participants engage in interactive workshops with students from other prestigious business schools, such as Colombia University, that are led by social entrepreneurs active in the respective field.
Why join the Net Impact community?
The magic of Net Impact is its ability to open the door to so many opportunities to create real sustainable development, measure that development, and use profit generation to re-finance more projects. When you get into the social enterprise field, the first thing you’ll notice is a large global pool of “social investors” willing to contribute to projects that create a social impact. Social investors are unique in that they operate and invest with the knowledge that their investment is not intended to generate a personal financial return, but instead must create a social return. Social enterprises seeking investor capital need the skills to create social accounting bookkeeping that tracks Social Return on Investment (SROI) along with the traditional financial sustainability accounting formats. This dual/hybrid accounting system is a perfect example of what you will learn in a Net Impact workshop. More important than the hard skills, however, is joining the Net Impact community, which puts you into face-to-face contact with aspiring students in your fields. It also gives you access to the same network with entrepreneurs leading the way to create long-lasting sustainable development for communities all over the world.
The conference website (netimpact.org) describes the event as an experience of “unbeatable inspiration,” “supercharged networking with expert speakers,” “cutting-edge, interactive sessions,” a “diverse and inclusive community,” and “skill-building opportunities.” This year’s keynote speakers include prestigious leaders paving the way for social innovation such as Mark Alexander, President of Americas Simple Meals and Beverages; Ahmad Ashkar, CEO and Founder of the Hultz Prize Foundation; Chad Dickerson, CEO of Etsy; Alicia Garza, Co-Founder of #BlackLivesMatter; and Doug McMillon, President and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., to name a few. This year’s conference will be held in Philadelphia from November 3-5, and interested students have the option to volunteer online to receive a reduced ticket price as well as participate in the event activities.
From Thunderbird’s Net Impact community, we hope to see you there and welcome you to the team!!