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A goal of Fuqua’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship is understanding how social ventures can move from idea to widespread and sustainable impact. CASE partnered with USAID, the Skoll Foundation, and Mercy Corps to launch Scaling Pathways to study how three organizations have done exactly that. For the first of these studies, Erin Worsham, CASE’s Executive Director, and Cathy Clark, an adjunct professor with CASE and director of Fuqua’s impact investing initiative, traveled to Belém in Brazil to learn how the nonprofit Imazon helped decrease deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions in the Amazon.
Worsham shares the purpose and potential of the project in this Fuqua Q&A.
Q: Why is scaling a particular challenge for social entrepreneurs?
Scaling is one of the toughest – and most critical – issues for social entrepreneurs. There is often excitement about the next new thing, the innovative idea or organization that has the potential to solve one of the world’s problems. But with so many of those ideas emerging around the world, there are few examples of social ventures that have scaled to solve problems or change systems. One reason is that social ventures are trying to solve deeply entrenched problems, which often include market failures and deep-rooted systems and beliefs, and have complicated cross-sector solutions. With commercial ventures you get immediate feedback from the market, are people buying your product or service or not? In the social impact space it’s not always so clear. It often takes more time, and getting to scale is not simply about growing your organization but about scaling your impact. That can be donethrough partnerships, advocacy, open source data and in other ways.
Carlos Fernández-Aballí Altamirano is chief strategy consultant for Cuba Strategies Inc., which works to bring sustainable investment to Cuba from the U.S. In this video In this video produced by Fuqua’s Center for Energy, Development and the Global Environment, he discusses the challenges and opportunities arising from Cuba’s plan to expand its renewable energy portfolio and modernize its energy infrastructure.
Steve Knode is the deputy senior commercial officer with the United States Commercial Service in Brazil, where Duke Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies professor Ambassador Patrick Duddy once served as consul general.
Reporting to the minister counselor for commercial affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia, Steve helps oversee a network of five offices and 60 professionals across the country, working principally to assist U.S. exporters with market access and insights, as well as to promote Brazilian investment in the U.S.
A member of the U.S. Foreign Service, Knode has been in his current assignment since September 2012. His other international postings include Malaysia, Japan, and Hungary. Knode met with a group of Fuqua students on a Global Academic Travel Experience trip with Ambassador Duddy in Sao Paulo earlier this year. Knode shares some insights on the U.S. Commercial service and doing business in Brazil in this Fuqua Q&A.