GIVE LIKE AN ENTREPRENEUR - taken from Forbes.com

To read original entry at Forbes.com, go to: http://www.forbes.com/2007/12/14/philanthropy-giving-donations-ent_mf_1214charity.html?partner=smallbusiness_newsletter

Mitch Goldman is looking forward to shaving this weekend. For four weeks, he's been growing a mustache and using it to gain attention--and contributions--for his favorite charity. As co-organizer of the New York chapter of Mustaches for Kids, Goldman is helping 80 members raise about $40,000 for Donorschoose.org, a nonprofit that helps public school teachers buy school supplies for students who can't afford books, paper or pencils. The direct link that donorschoose.org builds between people with means and people with needs demonstrates the way the Internet is reshaping the world of philanthropy. Individuals at almost any financial level are now setting the specific course of their own charitable giving and volunteerism in a way that until recently was reserved for the very wealthy.

For decades, only the largest givers made extensive use of networking, highly targeted giving and specialized volunteer efforts. Now, those three tools are in the hands of almost everyone with altruistic leanings, thanks to proliferating Web sites like Donorschoose.org and Network for Good. Steve Case, co-founder of America Online, and his wife are tapping into this momentum. Their private foundation, the Case Foundation, is hosting a competition in which users of the Causes application on Facebook and readers of Parade magazine can compete to win between $250,000 and $500,000 for their favorite charities. "This is the year of the 'wired fund-raiser,' " says Bill Strathman, executive director of Network for Good, the independent nonprofit Web site founded by America Online, Cisco Systems and Yahoo! that connects charities, donors and volunteers. According a survey the group sponsored, 75% of individuals say they give to charity because friends and family ask them.

"People can now use the Internet to fund-raise, something that's much harder to do in person," Strathman says. "By hiding beyond the Internet, people can also donate on their own terms." Actor Kevin Bacon, known for his six degrees of separation from nearly everyone in entertainment, has tapped into the zeitgeist and worked with Network for Good to set up Six Degrees, a Web site where individuals can set up accounts to ask friends and family to contribute to designated, licensed U.S. charities. Another Web site, Chipin.com, allows users to solicit money for a specific cause and use PayPal to collect the funds. Online donations are growing. Network for Good.org says its donations are up 50% from last year. It expects to raise $20 million during December, a month responsible for 40% of the year's donations. According to ePhilanthropy Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based, nonprofit research and education organization, online giving has increased to more than $4.5 billion in 2005 from $250 million in 2000. While online networking has become a key component to fund raising, many people are also using a variety of Web sites to find specific causes and even recipients for their charitable giving. More than 58% of high net worth individuals say they would give more to charity if they could determine their gift's impact, according to a 2006 survey of more than 1,000 people earning more than $200,000 a year that was conducted by Banc of America and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. "The most significant trend we've seen is the increasing desire of donors to know where their money is going and how it's used," says Donna Callejon, chief operating officer of Globalgiving.org, a Washington-based international marketplace for charitable giving. Through Global Giving, individuals can target contributions to specific projects--for example, water systems or schools in different areas of the world. Callejon says all donors receive regular progress reports for their donations.

"It used to be that you needed to give a lot of money to get that kind of reporting back," she says. Other groups that allow people to target donations to specific projects include Heifer.org, a Web site aiming to eliminate hunger. It allows Internet users to purchase farm animals or trees for families or communities throughout the developing world. Kiva.org allows budding entrepreneurs in the developing world to solicit loans. They outline their needs, their plans to use the money and their ability to repay a loan. Those with money can use the site to make either a donation or a loan at a reasonable rate. Some loans are for as little as $20. Time is as valuable as money, and many intermediary organizations use the Internet to help volunteers find ways to donate their time to charities.

The Hands on Network (handsonnetwork.org) helps people find volunteer opportunities that can last for just one day or find a place to make a longer-term time commitment. While it's possible to approach an agency or organization to offer assistance, typically it's easier for both the individual and the nonprofit to go through these intermediary agencies. "Not every organization has the capacity to manage volunteers. It takes resources," says Ariel Zwang, executive director of New York Cares, the New York chapter of the Hands on Network. The sheer number of participating nonprofits provides volunteer opportunities that match many skills and interests. "If a project involves a choir singing in nursing homes," says Zwang, "people who gravitate to that project can probably pick up sheet music and sing it." While the Net and high-tech networking provide highly targeted charitable opportunities, a little face time still works wonders, says Goldman, the Mustaches for Kids organizer, especially when your face is changing every day. "Half of what we do is some sort of rah-rah publicity for mustaches," Goldman says. "Once we get people interested in that, we can keep going and pitch for money and our cause."


Two young jewerly entrepreneurs

Here we go with the first two entrepreneurs to profile, two young ladies, friends of mine!
Specially for this Xmas season, who knows if some of you might be interested in purchasinfg their products!

1. Vera de Galdos - http://www.veradegaldos.com/

Entrepreneur: Vero Luna (Peru, UK)
Vera de Galdos is the brand new peruvian silver jewerly project of Veronica Luna. I shared with Vero, a crazy and very professional woman, two years of work back in AIESEC. Vero has worked for TCS in London and currently for UBS, in the same city. So together with his father and another partner, Vero has lauched Vera de Galdos.
The site, being still a young company, looks great and allows you to do online shopping.
One particular reason why I want to share Vero´s case (besides being a friend!) is that her story is a proof that you can perfectly be highly engaged with your work as employee (let´s call it your non-entrepreneurial life) and yet find the right partners, product and market to start making money.

2. Gris Joyería
http://www.flickr.com/photos/grisjoyeria (catalog), http://www.bogotamiciudad.com/Directorio/Detalles.aspx?BMC=127861

Entrepreneur: Catalina Spinel (Colombia)

This is a very similar story to Veronica´s, but the business is however is bit smaller. Catalina is a work college (that also is a full time employee!) and nowdays with a partner designs and sells jewerly. They started first just trading jewerly and even had a shop together with more people in the north of Bogota, but after the shop closed for some reasons, they started designing the own pieces and trading them in key spaces as handcrafts fairs. They even won a price recently of Artesanías de Colombia, not designing jewerly, but some amazing bag, gloves and kind of bells done with the same material of the colombian San Jacinto Hammocks.
The jewerly market, at least in Colombia, is very competitive and diverse. Colombians can buy jewerly for 1 USD on the streets but also in prestigious boutiques that designers put together at expensive malls. There is market for everyone ... but no matter the choice that one makes, it´s a beautiful business where it´s very brave to see people, as my two friends, entering and discovering what it means to be an entrepreneurs. I wish them lost of sucess and lots of sales!


Roots of the word entrepreneurship

Kavita Ramdas, President and CEO of the Global Fund for Women, defines entrepreneurship by looking to the roots of the French language. She found two words: "entre" and "prendre" that suggest the act of immersion into something that also takes hold of you. (Taken from Stanford Educators Corner)

I have always liked the past video (not only because I love indian accent!), and even if it was an intervention of 2003. What a better way to start understanding entrepreneurship than analizing the roots of the word itself?

So, even if the roots of the word entrepreneurship (and therefore of the word entrepreneur) come from a romance language, as french is, it´s important to notice that in spanish only few words or terms that we use normally related to entrepreneurship do officialy exist. For example, if you go to the REAL ACADEMIA DE LA LENGUA (the highest authority for the spanish language words writting and definitions), the noun EMPRENDIMIENTO (entrepreneurship, endeavor) is reported as non-existent. But we use it everywhere. However words as EMPRENDEDOR (entrepreneur) and EMPRENDER (verb for entrepreneurship, that actually does not exist in english) exist. And it´s a similar story in portuguese. I personally remember starting using the word entrepreneurship when I was about 19 - 20 years old ...

What is the point I try to make? Isn´t it funny to talk so much about those terms in Latinamerica when the word simply does not exist? Let´s face it, entrepreneurship now is in fashion, and many of us once used the word without even knowing what it really meant! but at the beginning must have been hard to start acting upon a culture which definition and concept was not even familiar to our language. Nevertheless, entrepreneurs, no matter what we called them and since when we started called them like this, have always existed, id oubt our civilizations would have had evolved without them. If not, let´s remember that in France in the beginning of the XVI century the word was also used to refer to the adverturers that traveled to the "New World" looking for life opportunities without knowing what to expect. Not really a big difference with what we today understand, right?

Any other theories or insights about the roots of the word?! Feel free to share!

Hope to come back soon with more capsules about Nature and Definitions of Entrepreneurship.

Welcome to Entrepreneurial Discovery!

Dear readers,

It´s with lots of exitement that I am lauching Entrepreneurial Discovery! Since some months I have been procrastinating launching this blog that is meant to serve as an space to inform, share and discuss about the different aspects of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Why I am doing this blog? First of all, I enjoy a lot blogging. Since around 3 years I´ve managing my own personal blog, where I touch all kind of topics, many of them about my own life and my adventures, many of them related to general topics I am passionate about. The second motivation to launch Entrepreneurial Discovery is highly related with the fact that always, and specially since the beginning of 2007, I breathe Entrepreneurship everywhere. I´ve been engaged with international programs that fostered Social Entrepreneurship, working with foundations and NGOs. I worked with an India entrepreneurs as a trainee for 6 months. Right now, I work for a global non-profit organization that identifies and supports high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets to facilitate and encourage long-term sustainable growth. On the other side, many of my familiy members, friends and my boyfriend are entrepreneurs. So I feel blessed to be on a professional and personal level engaged with real change makers, from diverse sizes and industries as well with top business people that support those entrepreneurs at different levels.

It´s inspiring. It´s challenging. And it´s a pity that all the knowledge and experiences that I have access to every day gets archived only in my head. That´s why I wanted to give a chance to this blog.

To finish this first post, I just want to share some principles:

1. This blog can be read and nurtured by all kinds of people, you do not have to be an entrepreneur nor an expert on entrepreneurship to participate. The idea is to have a space to learn from each other, around a topic that we all should be passionate or at least interested about.

2. We encourage you to disagree and challenge everything that is written by all blog participants (if it´s the case), however do it constructively and in a respectful manner, trying to understand the points of view of everyone.

3. The official languages of the blog are english and spanish. I´m colombian and I´m not native in english, therefore thinking of my local network, it might happen that some posts will be in spanish. For those cases, I´ll make my best to write at least an abstract in english, if not a full translation. When the blod grows, we can see if the add more languages!

4. The nature and topics of the post are not restricted, however I would love to keep some order and use tags that relate to certain common themes. So far I have:

  • Nature and Definitions of Entrepreneurship

  • Financing and Investing

  • Entrepreneurial cuture and attitude

  • Entrepreneurs - role models and case studies

  • Entrepreneurship and education

  • Entrepreneurship and legislation

  • Entrepreneur´s challenges

  • Innovation and Creativity

  • Youth Entrepreneurship

  • Women Entrepreneurship

  • News and opportunities for Entrepreneurs

All past areas apply for business as social entrepreneurship.

5. Finally, I am open and looking forward to include people not only as readers, but as writters of the blog. The process for that is simple, if there is an interested person, she or he can let me know, we´ll talk about the motivations to be a writter of the blog and if there is a good fit, we start!

Feel free to subscribe for email update or through RSS, the options are to be found in the right side bar of the blog. WELCOME!