It’s no secret that poverty is still a critical global and domestic issue; and solving this issue seems to be getting more and more complicated. However, the idea of alleviating poverty through social entrepreneurship is becoming a more popular and viable solution. In order to discuss social entrepreneurship, and gain a better understanding of what it is, and how it works, The Ohio State University Business Builders Club, OSU Net Impact, and International Poverty Solutions Collaborative organized the Alleviating Poverty Through Entrepreneurship Summit (APTE).
The fourth annual APTE was held Saturday at the Wexner Center. According to the APTE website, the focus of this year’s Summit was “on the process of getting started: utilizing your resources, networks, and talents to do something that creates meaningful, sustainable change.” The event, which began at 9 a.m., featured a variety of speakers, question and answer sessions, and lunch catered by FreshBox Catering.
Joe DeLoss, the founder of FreshBox Catering and Nobul, was the first speaker of the day and started the Summit off on the right note by saying that poverty isn’t that easy to conquer, “we have to find more effective ways to deal with it.” That’s where social entrepreneurship comes in. As a social entrepreneur, DeLoss founded FreshBox Catering and Nobul in order to provide employment to residents of Faith Mission homeless shelters and people otherwise considered ‘unemployable.’
FreshBox Catering and Nobul are two local businesses that are working to solve poverty through employment. But, the majority of speakers discussed ways of alleviating poverty abroad. Mariana Paal Fernandes is from Sao Paolo, Brazil, and APTE 2012 was her first speech in English. She is a Partnership Coordinator for Artemisia, a pioneer organization which “leverages entrepreneurs and talents to build the best startups which serve the low-income population” in Brazil.
Evanna Hu, a Columbus native, is the CEO and Founder of g.Maarifa. The mission of g.Maarifa, which is currently headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, is to increase the vocational and technical skills of secondary school dropouts so that they have the necessary skills to look for jobs.
Other speakers included Shivani Siroya of Inventure, Michael Miller of PovertyCure, Jonathan Jakubowski of Affirm Global, Blair Miller of the Acumen Fund, John Shegarian of Ecopreneur, Abe Taleb of ReWork, Rhett Morris of Endeavor, and Jeffrey Spector of the Gates Foundation.
Following the main event, APTE hosted “Innovation Marketplace.” Innovation Marketplace was set up to provide resources and channels for action for student attendees. At the Marketplace attendees were able to search for socially entrepreneurial jobs, internships volunteer and research opportunities, and studies abroad.
Overall, APTE 2012 was interesting and informative. Everything about the event—even the lunch—focused on sustainable change and social entrepreneurship. It was an excellent event to attend, especially if you’re new to the whole idea of social entrepreneurship and want to know more. Speaker Michael Miller described alleviating poverty through social entrepreneurship perfectly when he said, “poverty doesn’t end when you give stuff; it ends when individuals create wealth for themselves.”
More information can be found online at www.aptesummit.org.