College graduates are finding a new way to step out into the world. Instead of finding entry-level positions in large corporations, they are making a global impact with their first jobs through social entrepreneurship. Pasand is one example and the grand-prize winner at Verb’s entrepreneurship competitions.
A global social enterprise, Verb partners with governments, international corporations and foundations to produce massive competitions focused on important global issues such as urbanization, health, water sanitation and education. Verb connects social entrepreneurs to the resources and money they need to grow. Due to the scale of innovation they had been using, Pasand stuck out in the crowd.
Over two years ago, Pasand was founded by four students at Princeton University. They were part of a class on social entrepreneurship taught by Professor John Danner. Pasand, the Hindi word for “a desirable choice,” has two objectives in India. By improving access to affordable sanitary protection, young Indian women now have the opportunity to make choices for their own health and dignity. The second is women’s health education. The target for these objectives is the 87.5 million schoolgirls in India who still use the cultures unsanitary methods to absorb menstrual flow.
Aunna Wilson, one of Professor Danner’s students, shared her experiences living in a girls’ orphanage in India. She witnessed many difficulties the girls endured during that period. She explained the difficulties girls faced due to menstrual taboos, poor access to feminine hygiene products and lack of knowledge surrounding their bodies. Wilson and fellow student Rebecca Scharfstein met with Professor Danner to tell him of their concerns; he turned to them and said, “Well then why don’t you DO something about it.” So, they did and Pasand was born.
Since then, Pasand has grown into 11 passionate and diverse individuals. They are launching their beta test this summer in two locations and plan to expand their pilot program in three additional schools. “We believe that social entrepreneurship has an enormous potential for impact because it creates a culture of accountability and business standards with a social bottom line. By being social entrepreneurs, we can use traditional business methods to challenge the status quo,” said Aunna and Rebecca.
They added, “By charging for sanitary pads [that they sell], we believe we can create value in both the product and girls who use it, while supporting the distribution of our health curriculum. By merging the sales of sanitary pads with the distribution of our health education, our vision of social entrepreneurship has strength in both business longevity and social impact by encapsulating women’s empowerment and long-term growth from all angles.”
The Summit Research Institute (http://thesummit.org/?team=andrew-sievright) finds its roots among Ben Franklin’s Juntas Society, bringing together intelligent minds for the improvement of society. Since Franklin started the first think tank, many have come to exist. As researchers and hosts, our role is to stimulate, motivate, educate and inspire.
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