This semester, the undergraduate chapter of Net Impact worked to provide interactive and socially minded initiatives for its members and the Northeastern community. Two of the most impactful and interactive initiatives stem from Grameen America which prompted students to undertake two interesting simulations of poverty: the $27 challenge and the Live on $5 a day challenge. The $27 Challenge required students to simulate the experience of Grameen borrower by operating a business on just $27, equivalent to the loan Muhammad Yunus first gave to impoverished women in Jobra, Bangladesh. The latter challenge forced students to adjust their lifestyle and consumption patterns for one week to fit within the financial parameters of a Grameen America borrower, providing insight into domestic poverty.
A new partnership developed this spring out of the aligning missions of Net Impact and Project Repat, a social enterprise that upcycles used t-shirts into new apparel, encouraging more mindful consumption and providing living wages to workers in the US. Project Repat achieves this through its engagement with Opportunity Threads, a worker owned cooperative in Morganton, North Carolina in which employees receive a fair wage and work under dignified conditions. To assist in Project Repat’s initiative to make apparel specific to the Northeastern community, Net Impact held a university wide t-shirt drive to provide Northeastern t-shirts for upcycled apparel to be sold on campus. A partnership with Project Repat will be sustained for the fall semester, as Net impact is supportive of their environmentally and socially responsible business practices.
Central to Net Impact’s efforts this semester was planning the Net Impact Student Forum for Social Innovation, a social venture pitch competition taking place November 17, 2012 at the Microsoft New England Research and Development Center. The mission of the SFSI is to serve as an incubator for impactful social enterprises, integrate socially minded students to foster a deeper understanding of social entrepreneurship, and provide networking opportunities for students, professionals, and existent social enterprises alike. Enterprises will be evaluated by esteemed professionals in three rounds of judging, based on their fulfillment of the six-part social enterprise framework designed by Professor Dennis Shaughnessy. The final round of judges will be composed of audience members who will vote on the enterprise they believe will have the greatest social impact with the confidence that the social enterprises that have advanced to the final round have fulfilled the framework.
Net Impact is proud to have secured a valuable partnership with Ashoka Youth Ventures for the SFSI. Ashoka Youth Ventures is a critical partner in making the SFSI an engaging and impactful event as it shares Net Impact’s unrelenting commitment to supporting young social entrepreneurs and its provision of funding for the top four social enterprises. In addition to Ashoka Youth Ventures, Net Impact is actively seeking additional partners and sponsors that will help grow the SFSI’s impact. Additional funding for the SFSI was raised through Catalyst, a Northeastern University created crowd-sourcing platform. Net Impact was one of three Northeastern student groups featured on Catalyst and raised $2500 in under 30 days.