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#458: Microsoft: No Single Organization Can Close Skills Gap
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August 29, 2016 04:00 AM PDT
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Read the full Forbes article and watch the interview here: http://bit.ly/2bKCzd1.

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Devin Thorpe , CONTRIBUTOR
I cover social entrepreneurship and impact investing.

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Microsoft MSFT -0.24% reported doing over $1 billion of corporate giving, mostly in-kind, for fiscal year 2015. The software giant is making giving a more integral part of its strategy, as I explored here. One current initiative is a drive to encourage more STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, a three-year, $75 million program called YouthSpark. [Full disclosure: I own an embarrassingly small number of shares in Microsoft.]

Here’s the thing, Microsoft Philanthropies President, Mary Snapp (the first female lawyer at the company back in 1988), says, “No single organization or company can close the global computer science education gap. ” This may be the best lesson social entrepreneurs can take from Microsoft’s massive giving budget. When entrepreneurs set out to solve big problems, they need to partner with organizations who can help.

Microsoft has partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to expose a broader range of kids to computer science careers. The program provides a “Computer Science Pathway” with four modules, each one building on skills taught in the prior module. This builds upon Microsoft’s longstanding support of BCGA which includes more than $100 Million in cash and software donations.
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Read the full Forbes article and watch the interview here: http://bit.ly/2bKCzd1.

Need a corporate social responsibility speaker? Learn more about Devin Thorpe at http://devinthorpe.com.

#457: How To Do Your Due Diligence Before Investing
Clean
August 26, 2016 04:00 AM PDT
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Read the full GoodCrowdinfo article and watch the interview here: http://bit.ly/2bGCbKb.

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Hundreds of millions of Americans who have been statutorily and practically prohibited from investing in startups are now allowed to do just that under two new regulations. The 2012 JOBS Act created new rules for Regulation A offerings and Regulation Crowdfunding. Neither requires investors t o meet a specific net worth or experience requirement. Common sense suggests it is time to ask the expert how to do “due diligence” on a startup investment. Todd Crosland, CEO and Founder of Seed Equity Ventures, offers some advice on conducting proper due diligence. He suggests exploring each of the following questions:

Is there at least a minimum viable product or prototype with proof of concept?

If possible, you’ll want to use the product. If not, you should at least see it. If there isn’t a working prototype, be sure to ask yourself if you are prepared to invest at such an early stage. The answers to the other questions should be overwhelmingly favorable before investing in what amounts to a business plan.

Is there any initial traction with active users?

It is possible to have an active community without a product, but generally some type of minimum viable product will have to be in the market to prove the concept in the market. If the product is available and there isn’t an active user community, it may be time to move along.

Are there at least two full time team members?

Experienced investors have seen this movie before. A lone wolf entrepreneur fails because he can’t share credit, can’t delegate, can’t work well with other people or just thinks he can do it all himself. Look for a solid, committed team before you commit your hard-earned money to the deal.
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Read the full GoodCrowdinfo article and watch the interview here: http://bit.ly/2bGCbKb.

Need a crowdfunding speaker? Learn more about Devin Thorpe at http://devinthorpe.com.

#456: Social Entrepreneur's 5 Insights On Corporate Volunteering--You Will Love Number 5
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August 17, 2016 04:00 AM PDT
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Read the full Forbes artic le and watch the interview here: http://bit.ly/2bqdgcg.

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Angela Parker, co-founder and President of Realized Worth, has built a profitable, $1 million revenue consulting practice helping companies like Mcdonalds, TD Bank, and even the UN with volunteering programs. She will share five guidelines for corporate volunteering below.

The firm designs custom volunteer programs for its clients and then works with them to implement them successfully.

Parker earned an MBA, but that may be where her typical corporate consulting background ends. She worked in a variety of social services efforts, including disaster relief, managing volunteers for nonprofits and helping at-risk kids, she says. While not the typical path for corporate work, it was perfect for the firm she launched with her business partner Chris Jarvis. Both she and Jarvis have written respected pieces on corporate volunteering and giving.

Parker approaches volunteering programs more as a corporate training function to develop leaders than as a corporate social responsibility program to meet those standards.
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Read the full Forbes article and watch the interview here: http://bit.ly/2bqdgcg.

Need a corporate social responsibility speaker? Learn more about Devin Thorpe at http://devinthorpe.com.

#455: 1.1 Million Refugees Arrive In Germany; This Entrepreneur Goes To Work
Clean
August 15, 2016 04:00 AM PDT
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Never miss another interview! Join Devin here: http://bit.ly/joindevin.

Read the full Forbes article and watch the interview here: http://bit.ly/2aN2Fvd.

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes by clicking here: http://bit.ly/ymotwitunes or on Stitcher by clicking here: http://bit.ly/ymotwstitcher.
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Anne Kjaer Riechert, a young, Danish entrepreneur living in Germany saw the flood of refugees arriving in 2015 and did something about it. [Full disclosure: I have written about polio eradication for Rotarian Magazine.]

Riechert, a past Rotary Peace Fellow, moved to Berlin in 2012 to set up the Berlin Peace Innovation Lab in collaboration with Stanford University. When she observed what ultimately became 1.1 million asylum seekers, mostly from Syria, she saw an opportunity. ”Currently, there are 43,000 open jobs in IT in Germany,” she says.

John Hewko, general secretary of Rotary International, who spent much of his career in Europe, commenting on the refugee situation there, says, “If we don’t act now to build the conditions for sustainable peace, then the likelihood of events that undermine it, such as profound social instability, a lack of integration of migrant populations into their new host countries, and failures of national governance will only increase.”

So, she created a coding school called ReDI School of Digital Integration to train refugees to fill some of those jobs. Partnering with German companies, including Daimler AG, she is providing training in coding languages “like Ruby on Rails, CSS, HTML, Python” along with “skills like entrepreneurship and business intelligence,” she says.
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Read the full Forbes article and watch the interview here: http://bit.ly/2aN2Fvd.

Need a corporate social responsibility speaker? Learn more about Devin Thorpe at http://devinthorpe.com.

#454: When Boundless Optimism Meets Medtech Anything Seems Possible
Clean
August 12, 2016 04:00 AM PDT
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Read the full Forbes article and watch the interview here: http://bit.ly/2aFOsjD.

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes by clicking here: http://bit.ly/ymotwitunes or on Stitcher by clicking here: http://bit.ly/ymotwstitcher.
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Howard Leonhardt is the co-inventor of the TALENT stent acquired by Medtronic MDT +0.58% and used to treat over 200,000 patients. With boundless optimism, 20 patents issued and more pending, he has launched Leonhardt Ventures to form and incubate dozens of companies intended to collectively extend human life expectancy by 30 years. [While I have no business relationship with Leonhardt at present, he has invited me to join his advisory board.]

Most of the technologies in the portfolio are at the intersection of electrical stimulation and stem cells. Jeremy Koff, an entrepreneur with a deep background in medical devices himself has signed on as an advisor to Leonhardt’s California Stock Exchange, an early stage effort at creating a stock market for socially conscious companies.

Koff calls Leonhardt’s work “pioneering.” The two became acquainted over the music scene Koff helped to create, but bonded over medical devices when Koff learned that Leonhardt was inspired for the former’s uncle Alfred Mann, a giant in the medical device industry.

Koff notes that Leonhardt is “combining two approaches that haven’t been combined before.” He adds, “Using electrical stimulation with stem cells is quite a novel approach.”

When I asked what Leonhard would ultimately need to do to be successful, Koff harked back to his uncle, explaining that Mann needed twenty years and $100 million to develop Second Sight, which won approval for the first artificial retina in 2013. In other words, Leonhardt needs time and money to bring his advanced technologies to market.

Leonhardt’s business model is to build small companies until they are commercially viable and then to sell them to strategic buyers. He’s hoping to reprise his success with the TALENT Stent over and over again, each time retaining a small piece of future revenues.
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Read the full Forbes article and watch the interview here: http://bit.ly/2aFOsjD.

Need a corporate social responsibility speaker? Learn more about Devin Thorpe at http://devinthorpe.com.

#453: Emmy Winner Works to Close ‘Word Gap’ Among Disadvantaged Children
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August 11, 2016 04:00 AM PDT
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Read the full Your Mark on the World article and watch the interview here: http://bit.ly/2aCLAk2.

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes by clicking here: http://bit.ly/ymotwitunes or on Stitcher by clicking here: http://bit.ly/ymotwstitcher.
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Emmy Award winner Shane DeRolf has launched an effort he calls the Big Word Club to help disadvantaged children catch up with their more affluent peers.

Shane says, “A child’s vocabulary at age 5 is the single best predictor of his or her success in school and in life yet by the time they enter kindergarten, children from lower to middle socioeconomic families will know 400-700 fewer words than their wealthier classmates. This is called the ‘word gap’ and without effective intervention (i.e. improving their vocabularies at a young age), the word gap only gets wider as the child gets older.”

The real problem, he says, comes later. “Left unchecked, the word gap evolves into the ‘achievement gap,’ impacting the child’s academic and earning potential for the rest of his or her life.”

Until now, there hasn’t been an efficient way to address the problem, he says. “Though much research has been done about the causes of the Word Gap, until Big Word Club, no low-cost and scalable intervention existed. If we are going to improve the vocabularies of millions of children in America–and we need to–we need to provide busy parents and teachers with better tools to teach vocabulary to media-savvy kids in fast, fun and effective ways.”

“Big Word Club uses books, songs, animation and dance to help preschool and elementary school kids learn one new ‘big‘ word every day of the school year–in less than one minute a day! Big Word Club makes it easy for parents and teachers to improve their kids’ vocabularies and because Big Word Club is fun and entertaining, kids love learning,” Shane says.
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Read the full Forbes article and watch the interview here: http://bit.ly/2aCLAk2.

Need a corporate social responsibility speaker? Learn more about Devin Thorpe at http://devinthorpe.com.

#452: Don't Tell Starbucks: The Future Is Coming On A Bike With Blue Hair
Clean
August 08, 2016 04:00 AM PDT
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Never miss another interview! Join Devin here: http://bit.ly/joindevin.

Read the full Forbes article and watch the interview here: http://bit.ly/2aFrqHX.

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes by clicking here: http://bit.ly/ymotwitunes or on Stitcher by clicking here: http://bit.ly/ymotwstitcher.
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Maria De La Croix may one day prove to be the biggest mistake Starbucks SBUX +0.83% ever made. You see, the blue-haired young woman applied for a job as a barista with the global leader in high-end coffee shops and was turned down, she says, because her hair was “too blue.”

Lest anyone at Starbucks feel bad about the decision, no one could have guessed what would happen next. Suffice it to say, there is a mic drop coming.

With the help of some friends, De La Croix built a solar powered coffee shop on a bicycle and completely reinvented the coffee shop business. She calls her company Wheelys Cafe.

Her stores on wheels cost just $5,900, on which she makes a profit margin of 50 percent, she says. The shop is the key. By mass producing the bike-based shops, the company has reduced the production costs to about $3,000.
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Read the full Forbes article and watch the interview here: http://bit.ly/2aFrqHX.

Need a corporate social responsibility speaker? Learn more about Devin Thorpe at http://devinthorpe.com.

#451: Activist from Former Soviet Block Educates Children, Families on Healthy Diets
Clean
August 05, 2016 04:00 AM PDT
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Never miss another interview! Join Devin here: http://bit.ly/joindevin.

Read the full Your Mark on the World article and watch the interview here: http://bit.ly/2aCT3j8.

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes by clicking here: http://bit.ly/ymotwitunes or on Stitcher by clicking here: http://bit.ly/ymotwstitcher.
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This changemaker raised in the former Czechoslovakia, Iva Dior, became an activist as a small child. Today, in the United States, the singer and activist continues to advocate for change, working primarily to educate children and families on good nutrition.

She explains how she got her start. “I got to know families who were desperate to change their lifestyle, but didn’t know where to start. I took them shopping, shared a few recipes and realized there’s away to do this on a budget. It’s the moms and dads who needed to feel empowered to change their families’ eating habits.”

Along the way, Iva has faced significant challenges. “Having been raised in communist Czechoslovakia, one of the greatest challenges has been always going against the current. I never quite fit in, because I saw challenges and I wanted to solve them. Being a dreamer and a changemaker wasn’t encouraged, yet I felt my purpose was to live a purpose-driven life.”

She credits her grandfather for her success, even though she never met him. “My grandfather Otto, whom I never got to meet, but who’s presence I feel daily in my life is my hero. He was a community leader and an activist during the Soviet occupation during Prague Spring of 1968. I seem to have inherited his altruistic, activist and working-to-make-the-world-a-better-place gene.”
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Read the full Your Mark on the World article and watch the interview here: http://bit.ly/2aCT3j8.

Need a corporate social responsibility speaker? Learn more about Devin Thorpe at http://devinthorpe.com.

#450: 5 Tips For Changing The World With Technology Investments
Clean
August 02, 2016 04:00 AM PDT
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Never miss another interview! Join Devin here: http://bit.ly/joindevin.

Read the full Forbes article and watch the interview here: http://bit.ly/2aw0nNl.

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes by clicking here: http://bit.ly/ymotwitunes or on Stitcher by clicking here: http://bit.ly/ymotwstitcher.
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Read the full Forbes article and watch the interview here: http://bit.ly/2aw0nNl.

Need a speaker for an event, learn more about Devin Thorpe at http://devinthorpe.com.

#449: Entrepreneur Mends Communities To Reduce Violence
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August 01, 2016 04:00 AM PDT
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Never miss another interview! Join Devin here: http://bit.ly/joindevin.

Read the full Forbes article and watch the interview here: http://bit.ly/2aDE7o9.

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes by clicking here: http://bit.ly/ymotwitunes or on Stitcher by clicking here: http://bit.ly/ymotwstitcher.
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Colleen Copple, a social entrepreneur from what was once a gang-threatened neighborhood in Salt Lake City, is threading the needle between people that fear the police and the cops who protect them. She has created a business mending communities to reduce violence of all kinds.

Copple is the C0-Founder of Strategic Applications International or SAI as well as of Servant Forge, a nonprofit that provides similar services in Africa. The firm typically contracts with governmental agencies to facilitate community engagement and communications. In 2015, in SAI facilitated the production of the Obama administration’s response to community violence in Ferguson and elsewhere.

Twenty-five years earlier, in about 1990, Copple was living in the Glendale neighborhood of Salt Lake City when a sudden rash of gang violence erupted, related to closure of one of the city’s four high schools. Drive-by shootings increased from 1 to 200 from one year to the next.

Copple, still in her twenties, was serving on the local school board and felt responsible to do something about the crime in her neighborhood. She organized the community, worked with the police and helped to restore peace to her neighborhood.
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Read the full Forbes article and watch the interview here: http://bit.ly/2aDE7o9.

Need a speaker for an event, learn more about Devin Thorpe at http://devinthorpe.com.

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