Startups & Entrepreneurship

Where it’s from: Fast Company’s Chuck Salter
What it is: An article detailing Detroit’s recent rebuilding efforts.
What it’s about: In its efforts to rebuild itself, Detroit has earned itself the title of “the Wild West of social entrepreneurship,” because it has become the home of start-up companies and opportunistic entrepreneurs. The mantra of these young entrepreneurs has become:

Where everything’s broken, anything’s possible,

as they embrace the opportunities made possible through the city’s depression.
Why we like it: The revival of Detroit offers hope that if this battered city can be brought back to life through business, then business truly can change the world.

Social Consciousness

Where it’s from: The Boston Globe correspondent Virgie Hoban
What it is: An article exploring what social consciousness means for the many Americans whose poverty consigns them to poor health.
What it’s about: One entrepreneur saw the expanding problem of obesity in his neighborhood and sought to provide an inexpensive source of healthy food and resources for those who normally could afford neither, simply by partnering with a neighboring clinic.
Why we like it: This provides an excellent and relatable example of what it means to remain aware of the difficulties in a community and create businesses that seek to meet these needs; one of the core ideas behind Agora.

Socially Conscious Business/Social Enterprise

Where it’s from: The Guardian’s Tim Smedley
What it is: An article explaining that the key to providing clean water to areas with little to no easy access to the necessity, is charging money for it –in other words, using social enterprise.
What it’s about: Essentially,

to achieve universal access we have to move from the ‘charity approach’ … of giving people things, towards enabling people to invest for themselves. So investing in social enterprises specifically helps to ensure sustainability of services, because they know how to keep the books, how to maintain facilities and how to communicate with customers.

Why we like it: It is only through this business model that the world can sustain economic growth and poverty can be irradiated.

Solutions to Poverty

Where it’s from: TED Talk by Ernesto Sirolli on YouTube
What it is: A video of Ernesto Sirolli’s TED talk detailing how to help, rather than hurt, those living in poverty around the world.
What it’s about: Sirolli claims that,

“We western people are imperialist, colonialist missionaries, and there are only two ways we deal with people: we either patronize them or we are paternalistic.”

He examines the great harm caused by the former approach to helping impoverished nations and the great hope which may come from the latter so long as we shut up and listen to the passions and dreams of local people.
Why we like it: This idea is the essence of Agora Enterprises: providing resources that help people in struggling communities bring their dreams to life, rather than helping them to reach ours.

Sustainable Development

Where it’s from: World Bank’s YouTube channel
What it is: A video considering how China managed to rise from the depths of poverty, and what Africa can learn from China’s example.
What it’s about: As African nations seek to employ their young people entering the workforce, they have the potential to make an impact toward the irradiation of poverty. By following in the footsteps of China, and working with global partners, Africa can put in place the right conditions to become the next great investment destination.
Why we like it: This is yet another great example of how it is business, education, and infrastructure, not mere aid, which can change the world.