Francisco Noguera

Net Impact 2009 Kicks Off at Cornell University

It’s a bright, crisp and chilly morning in Ithaca NY, where Cornell University’s main campus hosts the 2009 Net Impact Conference. I just took a short stroll across campus and am thrilled to be at this important venue. It’s hard to believe a year went by already since the 2008 edition, but it’s great to see many familiar faces in the hallways.

Last year, while blogging from the U Penn campus that hosted the 2008 edition, I alluded to 2,400 reasons to be optimistic… I hear that this year there are more reasons, with close to 2,500 attendees expected. Without a doubt, it’s an event that captures a lot of the energy around social enterprise and the possibilities for students and professionals to build a career around this idea.

The content is somewhat overwhelming, I must say, with more than 20 parallel sessions going on at the same time! The Base of the Pyramid and market based approaches to poverty alleviation will play a prominent role and we’ll provide coverage of those sessions. Tomorrow morning, for instance, Stu Hart will take the stage and discuss the potential of clean technologies at the base of the pyramid, with panelists Kevin McGovern. Also tomorrow, I’ll be discussing career opportunities at the base of the pyramid and posing the panelists with all the great questions NextBillion readers have suggested over the past few days.

For now I’ll go and grab a good seat to listen to the opening session with Jeff Immelt and the president of Cornell. If you’re around here, shoot me a line or ping me at @fjnoguera on Twitter. If you’re not around but interested in following the discussion, follow the hashtag #ni09 on Twitter and stay tuned for our posts later this weekend.