Photos Tom Moore Investment Pitch 005

Dean Tom Moore Honors Program Investment Pitch

by Audrey Shaughnessy

This past fall, the Social Enter­prise Insti­tute (SEI) intro­duced a new annual grant pro­gram in honor of the late Tom Moore, for­mer Dean of the Col­lege of Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion and strong sup­porter of the social entre­pre­neur­ship cur­ricu­lum at North­east­ern Uni­ver­sity. In col­lab­o­ra­tion with the North­east­ern Hon­ors Pro­gram, SEI cre­ated the Dean Tom Moore Hon­ors Pro­gram Invest­ment Pitch, an oppor­tu­nity to pro­vide a select social enter­prise with $10,000 worth of grant fund­ing each year.

The North­east­ern Uni­ver­sity Hon­ors Pro­gram chal­lenges its schol­ars to immerse them­selves in one of four inter­dis­ci­pli­nary the­matic areas, one of which being social devel­op­ment. Voices of Devel­op­ment: How One Per­son Can Change the World, a course offered each fall by Pro­fes­sor Den­nis Shaugh­nessy, intro­duces fresh­man hon­ors stu­dents to the field of global eco­nomic devel­op­ment by means of social enter­prise. Within this course, stu­dents famil­iar­ize them­selves with Muham­mad Yunus, Paul Farmer, Jacque­line Novo­gratz and Geof­frey Canada, amongst a host of other revered social entre­pre­neurs. Of the spec­trum of top­ics cov­ered in this course, the emerg­ing field of impact invest­ing par­tic­u­larly stood out to many stu­dents enrolled.

Impact invest­ing is a rel­a­tively new strat­egy whereby indi­vid­u­als, cor­po­ra­tions or gov­ern­ment enti­ties seek to invest in enter­prises striv­ing for more than finan­cial returns. These enter­prises — be they for-profit busi­nesses, NGOs or non-profit enti­ties — pro­vide investors with the oppor­tu­nity to gen­er­ate social and envi­ron­men­tal value in addi­tion to finan­cial return. In order to effec­tively demon­strate the poten­tial of risk-tolerant, socially dri­ven invest­ment, Pro­fes­sor Den­nis Shaugh­nessy cre­ated the Dean Tom Moore Social Enter­prise Fund. This Fund will allow stu­dents enrolled in Voices of Devel­op­ment to pro­vide $10,000 of grant fund­ing to one wor­thy social enter­prise each fall.

After care­ful research, analy­sis and debate, the hon­ors fresh­men col­lec­tively agreed upon a list of four high-impact social enter­prises with ideal mis­sions, busi­ness mod­els and sev­eral other impor­tant char­ac­ter­is­tics of social enter­prises. The four enter­prises included in this list were One Acre Fund, Chil­dren and Fam­ily Well­ness (CFW) Shops, Esper­anza Inter­na­tional and Njabini Apparel.

On Decem­ber 13 2011, stu­dents pitched all four social enter­prises to a panel of indus­try spe­cial­ists, includ­ing Dr. Denise Horn, William Barker, Pro­fes­sor Gor­don Adomdza, Pro­fes­sor Frank Spi­tal, Denise DiCenso, Bob DiCenso, Dr. Mau­reen Kelle­her, and Pro­fes­sor Daniel Gre­gory. This group of judges was charged with decid­ing which of the four social enter­prises was most wor­thy of the $10,000 grant from the Dean Tom Moore Social Enter­prise Fund. It came down to One Acre Fund and Njabini Apparel, two Kenya-based social enter­prises. One Acre Fund pro­vides agri­cul­tural inputs to poor, rural small­holder farm­ers through­out Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi. Njabini Apparel, founded by North­east­ern junior Mike Behan, employs dis­abled Kenyan women, oth­er­wise unable to par­tic­i­pate in agri­cul­ture, in hand­craft­ing apparel sold in and out of country.

In the end, both One Acre Fund and Njabini Apparel received fund­ing. One Acre Fund received the $10,000 grant from the Dean Tom Moore Social Enter­prise Fund, with which they plan to pro­vide an addi­tional 500 Kenyan small­hold­ers with their ser­vices. Thanks to SEI and two of their sup­port­ers, Bob and Denis Dicenso, Njabini Apparel received $5,000 to fund a micro­fi­nance and finan­cial lit­er­acy pro­gram for the women it employs. An addi­tional $2,500 from the Dean Tom Moore Social Enter­prise Fund was awarded to Alli­son Smith and Gail Batutis, SEI’s 2011 Hon­ors Schol­ars. With this $2,500, Alli­son and Gail will mea­sure and eval­u­ate the impact of both the $10,000 grant to One Acre Fund and the $5,000 grant to Njabini Apparel.

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