Impact Entrepreneurs Replication School: Week 2 – Our Guest Speakers

February 1, 2012 at 6:05 pm Leave a comment

PSU’s Impact entrepreneurs, in partnership with Digital Divide Data and The Rockefeller Foundation, has been delivering Impact Sourcing Training to social entrepreneurs hand selected by Rockefeller. The training, hosted by digital Divide Data, is preparing these entrepreneurs from Africa and South Asia to launch or expand their own social enterprise initiatives in the Business Process Outsourcing space in their countries.

By Neil Schimmel, MBA Candidate at Portland State University, Student Teacher Week 2

Our program has the good fortune of being enhanced by guest speakers—experienced professionals working in the social enterprise community.  They graciously took time out of busy work schedules to share their perspectives and wisdom.

On Tuesday, DDD’s Chief Sales Officer, Lori Silverstein, discussed DDD’s sales and marketing strategy and their attempts to move up market into more technical work with increased margins.  The participants were able to converse with her directly in regards to their individual projects, refining their target market groups.  She provided research documents to support their market-sized assumptions.  We readily weaved this concept into the context of our finance studies, since understanding the size of the market is crucial to determining future cash flows.   The learning curve of this process is steep, and I anticipate the concepts will become clearer after Thursday’s exercises which will apply the strategies.

We were joined by Souphalak Souksavath, the Chief Financial Officer, on Wednesday. Lak shared with us her journey with the organization and some of the current challenges the business faces.  Some of the difficulties she noted include significant investment in a senior management team to develop a strategy of moving towards more profitable digitizing projects (eg. E-books) and expanding their operations in Kenya.  She noted the operations in Kenya should deliver significantly higher revenue per hour than their current business lines.  Given these investments, Lak highlighted how important DDD’s relationship with their impact investors as the company moves towards being self-sustaining.  The participant team will have an opportunity to visit with Insitor, one of DDD’s impact investors next Tuesday.

In addition to learning from these experienced professionals, our group has continued to navigate the process of investment decision-making.  We have lively discussion and unique real-time examples from the participants.  The week is progressing productively and enjoyably!

Entry filed under: DDD Replication School.

An Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship Impact Entrepreneurs Replication School: Week 2 – Our Guest Speakers

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