Business collaboration on water could have massive multiplier effect
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) attempt a “platform” solution to bring together multiple stakeholders to improve the condition of people and the planet. But these SDGs are a handful. With business as a key stakeholder, we must remember that managers can generally attend to only a few things. With 17 goals and 169 targets, the SDGs are far from being manager-friendly. For most executives we spoke with as part of our Inclusion Inc. research initiative, while the holistic objectives seemed worthwhile, the SDGs were deemed to be a bit too much to be helpful for managers with limited time. The SDGs needed a “killer app” – a goal widely shared across industries to engage companies, mobilise action and win over more adherents to the platform.
Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti in The Guardian
What’s it like to launch a social venture in a low-income country and have real world impact?
Picture this: 10 tons of maize grown by 8000 different smallholder farms in Rwanda, all trying to get to market in Kigali. The challenge? The crops are here; the markets are there. Lack of access to reliable, efficient, and transparent transportation means farmers struggle to get their goods to customers. Spoilage, delays, and lost shipments all come at great costs.
That’s where Kumwe comes in.
Co-founded by Fletcher alumnus Charles Dokmo (F’14) as part of a team of supply chain engineers from MIT, Kumwe aims to create a ground transportation brokerage to serve as “the connective tissue” between shippers, including farmers and transporters. The brokerage is intended to ensure professional, reliable and affordable freight transportation, all while lowering costs and improving efficiency in getting goods to markets for small farmers and other shippers.
Back in the summer of 2013, Dokmo completed a Blakeley-funded summer internship in Chad following his first year as a MALD student. “This is where I experienced first-hand the challenge of last-mile distribution,” said Dokmo. “I was helping a small biomass charcoal and cookstove pilot project become financially sustainable when I discovered the largest barrier to profitability was a lack of predictable, affordable transportation.” This sparked the idea of Kumwe, which turned into a reality after Dokmo graduated from Fletcher.