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Graduate applies social entrepreneurship in Boston

Emily Turner took full advan­tage of inter­na­tional and expe­ri­en­tial learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties while study­ing Inter­na­tional Affairs and Polit­i­cal Sci­ence at North­east­ern. She did co-ops at the World Peace Foun­da­tion and the Har­vard Kennedy School’s Pro­gram on Intrastate Con­flict and stud­ied abroad in Geneva and Brazil. With a con­cen­tra­tion in social entre­pre­neur­ship, she also worked in micro-enterprise in north­ern Thai­land and par­tic­i­pated in SEI’s Field Study Pro­gram on micro-finance in the Domini­can Republic.

Grad­u­at­ing in 2010, though, left her in a tight job mar­ket. Despite all that she had learned and stud­ied at North­east­ern, Turner found her best option to be an unpaid intern­ship at the non­profit social invest­ment fund, Root Cap­i­tal. Begin­ning oper­a­tions in 1999, Root Cap­i­tal is a pio­neer in financ­ing the “miss­ing mid­dle” of the devel­op­ing world. Turner describes this miss­ing mid­dle as “small grass­roots busi­ness that are too small and risky for large, main­stream banks and too large for tra­di­tional micro-finance.”

Rec­og­niz­ing the poten­tial of this mar­ket to bol­ster the devel­op­ing world’s econ­omy, Root Cause lends to these busi­nesses that have been “locked out the local bank­ing sys­tem and have few alter­na­tives for afford­able credit.” Root Cap­i­tal gen­er­ally works with agri­cul­tural busi­ness and pro­vides them financ­ing for both short-term work­ing cap­i­tal loans and longer-term invest­ments. They also work to estab­lish part­ner­ships with com­pa­nies like Star­bucks and Whole Foods, using future sales con­tracts as collateral.

Hav­ing learned about Root Capital’s work in Pro­fes­sor Shaughnessy’s Social Entre­pre­neur­ship class and the Domini­can Repub­lic Field Study, Turner was excited to work at a social enter­prise in Boston con­tribut­ing to inter­na­tional devel­op­ment. Dur­ing her unpaid intern­ship, her impres­sive work ethic was rec­og­nized. Six months later, she is work­ing full-time among a very tal­ented staff as a Busi­ness Devel­op­ment Assistant.

I love my job because of all of the pas­sion­ate peo­ple I work with. Every­one is very per­son­ally invested in the orga­ni­za­tion,” says Turner of Root Cap­i­tal. Recently, she has been pro­moted to an Investor Rela­tions Asso­ciate where she will work with finan­cial strate­gies and com­mu­ni­ca­tion with com­mu­ni­ties Root Cap­i­tal is invested in.

Many inter­est­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties are avail­able at inno­v­a­tive social enter­prises world­wide, like Turner’s. A great way to become aware of them is through the newly approved Social Entre­pre­neur­ship con­cen­tra­tion or minor. Check out our web­site for more details!

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