Thursday
November 5
2009

Francisco Noguera

Base of the Pyramid Career Paths: What Would You Ask?

Are you interested in getting involved in social enterprise? In finding a job and build a career around it? Perhaps even starting a venture of your own or join one that is in early stage?

If your answer to any of the above was yes, you’d probably be interested in knowing how you can best prepare yourself for it. What skills are critical to build a career that relates to the BoP, and what are the best ways to hone those? What opportunities are out there to get started? Where will future opportunities come from? Is it likely that large corporations will create more space for this kind of work? Or will those opportunities present themselves in early stage ventures in need to manage their growth?

Not easy waters to navigate, for sure… Exciting as it is, this space is evolving very rapidly and the answers to the questions above seem to be changing every day! As a good friend told me recently, tolerance to ambiguity may be the key skill for those of us interested in social enterprise. After all, if you’re interested in a first-year associate program in management consulting, lots of hard work awaits you can bet with almost certainty that an MBA is the path to walk. What about social enterprise where there are no first-year associate programs? MBAs are “turning to social enterprise”, some argue, but how must MBA programs evolve in order to keep up with an evolving industry?

OK, now let me ask YOU: What would you like to discuss if you had 90 minutes to spend with, not one, but three people who have built successful careers in this space? Next week at the Net Impact Conference I will have an opportunity to moderate such a conversation with Yasmina Zaidman from the Acumen Fund, Justin DeKoszmovszky from SC Johnson and Peter Eliassen, from VisionSpring. It’s frankly a remarkable panel that represents a diverse set of perspectives of this space: the start-up/ early stage venture, the intermediary/ investor and the multinational corporation.

If you’ve read this far I’ll assume that you are interested in exploring opportunities in this space and that you do have a bunch of questions you’d like to ask these interesting folks. Please chime in in the comments box below! That will help me as I continue to do my homework and prepare. I’ve been doing my homework reading some expert advice to make sure I as moderator add my two cents in making the panel useful, engaging and worth talking about after it’s done. My role will definitely not be to ask my own questions… rather, it will be asking your questions. So, again… the comments box.

If you’ll be at the conference and are planning to attend the panel, rest assured that I will leave enough time for you to ask your questions outloud. Also rest assured that I look forward to meeting you there!

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