Social Business and Microeconomic Opportunities for Youth Conference: A Social Entrepreneur’s Perspective (Pt 1)

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March 24, 2008

The Social Business and Microeconomic Opportunities for Youth Conference inspired and motivated me. I learned from Muhammad Yunus and John Hatch as they described how microfinance has helped over 133 million households. Listening to stories about the over billion people who still live on $1 per day challenged me to join the fight against global poverty.

My favorite story was Yunus’s description of meeting with an illiterate woman (Grameen Bank borrower) proudly standing with her doctor daughter (Grameen Bank scholarship recipient). While he was thrilled to see the educational level go from illiteracy to medical school in one generation, he was saddened that the mother could have been a doctor too if she had the resources to attend school. Through microfinance and social business, we can use financial capital to help people improve their health and education resulting in expanded human capital.

Bob Sample’s posts did a great job highlighting several key speakers and panelists, so this article will cover the youth entrepreneurs, social entrepreneur panel and breakout sessions.

There was an impressive number of youth in the audience. When John Hatch asked audience members who were 30 or younger to stand, I was among the approximately 20% of the audience who stood. A reception allowed finalists for the Social Business Plan Competition to show their products to conference attendees.

Buddy BarnOne of the conference’s main hosts was Micro Business Development, which uses micro-finance to help low-income and disadvantaged Coloradans to become successful micro-entrepreneurs. In addition to hosting a fabulous, well run conference, they also featured some of their local entrepreneurs. Every speaker and panelist received a highly sought after customized stuffed animal produced by The Buddy Barn, a small business run by Denver micro-entrepreneurs.

Kevin Gormley is the President of MyLocalCause.com LLC, which raises funds and awareness for non-profits and schools

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