Global social innovation round-up #07

$3m social impact bond expected to launch in California this month

A social impact bond that aims to raise enough money for the Richmond Community Foundation in California to buy just under 1,000 derelict homes in the state is expected to be launched this month. 

The New York Times reports that the Foundation hopes to employ local workers to “rehabilitate the homes” – which cost taxpayers “thousands of dollars” in maintenance costs every year – which can then be sold to individuals on first time buyer programmes. 

Solar powered plane takes off on epic world adventure

A plane equipped with over 17,000 solar panels aims to fly around the world using no fuel at all. Having taken off on March 9th, the round trip is expected to take around five months and if successful will be the first successful mission of its kind. In the driving seat are Swiss pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg.

Digital platform aims to make Singapore more sustainable 

International sustainability advocates Forum for the Future have launched a digital platform in Singapore to encourage businesses, government officials and other organisations there to develop new systems that promote sustainability. The Forum was established 19 years ago and now works with more than 130 organisations globally to develop sustainable supply chains and energy supplies.

Scottish social enterprise to host Hollywood star

George Clooney has reportedly accepted an invitation to stop for a sandwich at Social Bite – a social enterprise in Edinburgh that allows customers to pay for food and drink for vulnerable homeless people in the city – later this year. 

Clooney will be in Scotland to raise money for the charity he co-founded Not On Our Watch, “which campaigns to end attrocities in Darfur and Zimbabwe and to provide assistance to victims in areas of conflict”.


Special: social innovation education digest...


£8.5m social innovation centre to open in Northampton

Next month the University of Northampton will open its own Innovation Centre to provide accommodation and support services for social enterprises, start-up businesses, co-operatives, voluntary and community organisations. 

The University is one of the leading education institutions promoting social entrepreneurship in the UK and was the first in the world to be made a designated Ashoka 'Changemaker Campus'.  

British Council backs international social enterprise school initiative

The British Council, RIO (Real Ideas Organisation) and SEA (Social Enterprise Academy) have teamed up to launch a digital resource pack and a programme that includes engagement, policy dialogues and training on social entrepreneurship for schools to offer pupils. 

A Global Social Enterprise in Schools Network will also be launched to help education institutions “share, stay connected, celebrate success and learn from each other”. 

US university replaces traditional MBA with sustainable entrepreneurship programme

The University of Vermont on the east coast of the US has launched its newest accredited programme – the Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA (SEMBA) Programme – which replaces its former standard MBA degrees. According to the university, “the SEMBA programme will train business leaders to focus on more than just the bottom line, and employ sustainable resources and business models to build a better planet”.


Photo credit: Dave Herholz