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Student social innovators

Agustin Belloso

Agustin Belloso

Student Innovator

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Agustin Belloso is from Argentina, he is an MBA student at Cambridge Judge Business School. 

He graduated as a lawyer in Buenos Aires, but after some years working as a solicitor his passion for sustainable agriculture and social innovation made him move into the field and out of the office.

Prior to moving to Cambridge, Agustin founded and led a group of students in a social innovation venture called NonOva which sought to stop the waste of food in graduation celebrations in Argentina, where it is very common to cover the new-grad in flour and eggs. This model was later adopted by the main Universities in Buenos Aires and has "saved" tons of food going to waste.

He is also founder of Marbell Agro an agricultural business with a sustainable approach that focuses on integrating local communities into the production cycle and taking care of natural resources while making a profit.

"Latin-Americans are very united and solidary, and always willing to help others. But, paraphrasing the common saying, this help has always consisted in giving away fishes. We need to really start teaching people how to fish. We need to, once and for all, focus on the creation and development of virtuous circles through entrepreneurship and empowerment of our people."

 

Isaac Holeman

Isaac Holeman

Student Innovator

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Issac Holeman is a PhD candidate and Gates Scholar at Cambridge Judge Business School. His passion for global health equity combined with innovation led him to co-found Medic Mobile, a social enterprise that uses technology to improve the health of rural communities in the developing world.

"Social innovation provides us with a method of approaching some of the broadest challenges in humanity, and business schools can provide the management and strategists needed to realise and lead this quest. I also believe that business schools in particular are the place to "do" social innovation, because of the emphasis they place on interdisciplinarity. No orthodoxy exists here.

"Cambridge Judge Business School, the Gates Cambridge Trust and I all share a commitment to leadership and to change lives for the better. Cambridge encourages innovation and learning across disciplines, and this is why a number of my Gates Scholar peers and I want to study here.

"There are also particular merits to studying within a collegiate system, which enables those holding a number of different perspectives and experiences to come together to breed innovation. You have a hunch, you speak to a smart person from a different background, with a different perspective or idea and it turns your thesis upside down…

"Social innovation is not only for those who aim to do well financially while doing good for society - my personal interest, having lived and worked in places like Malawi, is in the way that social innovation can help us to address humanity's most pressing problems in difficult contexts. Innovative approaches to government and non-profit management and organisational strategy could help us overcome the obstacles posed by finite time and money.

"For me, the real strength of a Centre for Social Innovation would be the opportunity to learn with academics who have a foot in the 'real' world and are able to translate their rigorous understanding of the issues into language and resources that can have a measurable impact on the practice of social innovation."

 

Sara Serradas Duarte

Sara Serradas Duarte

Student Innovator

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Sara is a PhD student in Neuroscience with a very strong commitment to increase access to education. The combination of her childhood in Mozambique, her previous experience as a teacher and her different experiences as a student made her realise the power of this basic human right in addressing the world's development needs and made her believe that social entrepreneurship can be a very sustainable and scalable way to address social problems.    

As a result, she co-founded secondGO, a social start-up based at University of Cambridge that extends the educational opportunities of current University students to students usually excluded from higher education through the solution of an environmental problem. Sara was also the president of Beyond Profit, the social entrepreneurship society at Cambridge, in 2013/2014 and was selected to represent the University Cambridge at TEDx Oxbridge 2014, where she spoke about the central role that Universities should have in generating social innovation.   

"All my life I have been exposed to the incredibly powerful and long-lasting effects of Education and, more recently, I discovered the extra consistency that social entrepreneurship can bring to the efforts made towards an increased access to this and other basic human rights.  My ultimate dream is to place us one step closer to a world where we can all fulfill our potential through Education."

Watch Sara's talk "Why universities should invest in education" for TEDxOxbridge on YouTube

 

Sophus zu Ermgassen

Sophus zu Ermgassen

Student Innovator

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Sophus is a fourth year Management Studies Tripos undergraduate based at Cambridge Judge Business School. He completed a Zoology degree in his first three years, specialising in ecology and nature conservation. He believes that only the private sector has the resources and ability to effectively scale global environmental efforts to the degree that are required to avoid climate change and widespread biodiversity loss, and as a result that they must be the leaders in overcoming global environmental challenges. He hopes to work on the corporate side of the interface between conservation and business.

Sophus has been a highly active proponent of the University's environmental initiatives, having led the University's ecological educational outreach group and worked on designing and implementing environmental behaviour change initiatives for the University's Estate Management. He is currently working as a research assistant for the Nature Conservancy, with his research focusing on quantifying the economic values provided by conserving natural habitats in the Gulf of Mexico, specifically with regards to their impact on fish production.

His main environmental interests include rewilding, the concept of restoring large swathes of land to an unmanaged state in which they can be entirely governed by natural processes, the question of how to internalise some of the negative environmental externalities generated by our world's economic system through the development of efficient ecosystem service markets, and how Creating Shared Value initiatives implemented on corporate agricultural supply chains can produce mutual economic environmental and social gains.

"Natural habitats globally are nearly always and systematically undervalued when it comes to the services they provide society. If we think of a tree - any machine that successfully sequestered carbon and converted it to useful organic molecules, produced oxygen, provided habitat for thousands of organisms, help regulate our water cycle and bound soil to prevent degradation with no energy cost would be lauded as one of the greatest human innovations of all time. Yet these services are constantly ignored because they are provided for free, in a way that no market has properly accounted for. One possible inference could be that the failure to establish markets for the key 'natural commodities' - carbon, biodiversity, pollination etc. - is one of our society's greatest failures. Developing adequate markets for these services could be seen as a potential solution within the constraints of our capitalist society, but is associated with a whole host of gaping problems. I think that's one of the things that makes these concepts so interesting. And finding solutions to these challenges is only becoming more essential as it becomes clear that environmental degradation is a key social justice issue - the most vulnerable are also those disproportionally affected."

 

Georgina Hemingway

Georgina Hemingway

Student Innovator

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My background is in UK politics but I have always had an interest in international development. A trip to Cambodia saw these interests merge with the idea of social innovation. Spending time in Siem Reap, Cambodia's most popular tourist town, made me realise what one of the guest speakers on social innovation at Cambridge Judge Business School recently stated: "business is the only free agent in town". While the idea of business being totally free is obviously an exaggeration, the realisation that it has more freedom than other actors was certainly a powerful one. Using business as a vehicle for positive social change was my motivation for co-founding New Leaf Book Cafe. A restaurant, bookshop and event space in one. New Leaf donates 100 per cent of its profits to educational projects in Siem Reap province; has created its own book donation programme to rural schools and invests significantly in the development and welfare of its 17 strong team.

I started studying at Cambridge Judge Business School because I wanted to have the knowledge and skills to scale up the business model we created in Siem Reap globally. Judge Business School is a unique and exciting environment. The learning experience is very much tailored to you as individual and your  goals. I could not have hoped for a better tutor and mentor, both of whom have extensive real world experience in the field of social enterprise. The programme's mix of practical and theoretical content really push you as an individual to identify your weaknesses and strengths and to develop those accordingly. Outside of the course, the School is continuously organising events and talks for its students and Cambridge has vibrant start-up  scene with a wide variety of investors focused on innovations here as well as a strong social incubator community. Cambridge Judge brings all of these opportunities together and helps you as individual turn your ideas into a reality.

Visit the New Leaf Book Cafe website

Zoë Cullen

Zoë Cullen

Student Innovator

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Zoë is an MBA student at Cambridge Judge Business School. She is a sustainable development professional, passionate about the role of communities and the private sector in driving economic development in ways that enhance community well-being, and sustain the natural environment rather than degrade it.

Zoë has spent the past eight years working with the international conservation NGO Fauna & Flora International (FFI). Her work focused initially on social and environmental intrapreneurship within the private sector - the steps being taken by businesses to address sustainability issues through their core business policies and practice - and leveraging the influence of investors to motivate a greater focus by companies on these issues. 

More recently, she has been leading a programme of work on 'innovative conservation finance' focused on scaling-up the use of entrepreneurial (market-based) models to finance long-term conservation efforts and sustainable livelihoods development in rural communities. To date, much of this work has focused on tropical forest landscapes, including the development of community-led Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) projects to access global markets for voluntary carbon offsets.

"The world of conservation and community development has long been dominated by a dependence on traditional grant based funding models. While grant funding has and will continue to play a critical role in addressing social and environmental challenges, it is inherently unpredictable, short-term and influenced by the latest funding trends, presenting significant operational challenges for long-term interventions. These are challenges I faced first-hand when developing a new community forestry programme in Sumatra, Indonesia. 

"But times are changing. There is growing recognition of the role of entrepreneurship in tackling social and environmental challenges. The phenomenal growth of impact investment as an asset class, the growing interest in markets for environmental services, and the proliferation of social enterprise incubators are all signs that the routes to social and environmental impact are increasingly diverse and, importantly, can be designed to self-sustain.  

"My aim is to support the development of mission-driven enterprises that deliver positive social and environmental impact, internationally and on my doorstep." 

 

Tandadzo Matanda

Tandadzo Matanda

Student Innovator

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Tandadzo Matanda is an MPhil in Innovation, Strategy & Organisation student at Cambridge Judge Business School, and a staunch believer in the power of socially innovative business models as a vehicle to engender change and alleviate social inequality. This passion for social innovation inspired her to launch Six Strands in 2011, a social enterprise that sold hair products and donated 6 per cent of the retail price of each product sold to provide scholarships for disadvantaged girls in sub-Saharan Africa. Six Strands also exclusively hired unemployed and under-employed female graduates as brand ambassadors. These young brand ambassadors were a provided with business training, and personal mentorship opportunities to enhance their employability. 

"Spending time in the social entrepreneurship sector made me realise that whilst there was a lot of information and financial support for socially impactful firms as they grew from idea to small or medium enterprises, many ventures encountered a 'glass ceiling' when they attempted to scale up their operations and thereby increase their social impact. With little known about social enterprise growth and expansion strategies, I am currently researching a micro-insurance firm and its transition from a non-for-profit business model to a social enterprise, and then subsequently to a for-profit model in just over a decade.

"CJBS and the Centre for Social Innovation are dedicated to understanding and empowering social enterprises, and providing practical and impactful research. It is an outstanding opportunity to undertake my research surrounded by so many great thinkers, who share my passion for social impact, and understand the role of innovative thinking and business in changing the world at large."

 

Carolina Serra

Carolina Serra

Student Innovator

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Carolina is an MBA student at CJBS, active on social integration of migrants. As a volunteer for the not-for-profit association PRIME Italia, she offers personalised job seeking support to refugees and migrants. Moreover, thanks to her technical background, she provides a special contribution in identifying and building IT tools enabling the organisation to perform better. 

Previously, as an innovation specialist in a multinational energy company, she developed a sensitivity for clean technologies and energy access. Studying technological trends of distributed renewable energy generation and energy efficient technologies, she was intrigued by business models with a potential for sustainable social impact.

"During my graduate studies at MIT and at CJBS, I learned that global challenges are there for me to be solved, and that I can achieve anything in a well-matched collaborative environment, integrating diverse talents and skills.

"My highest aspiration is to have an impact on the global development, establishing and leading a venture in the energy field, and leveraging innovation to advance society."

 

Julian Trussart

Julian Trussart

Student Innovator

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Julian is currently a student on the Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship 2014 at Cambridge Judge Business School. He recently co-founded a project aimed at helping companies calculate and reduce their environmental impact. New regulation is now increasingly forcing companies to account for their environmental and social footprint. This new venture will revolutionize the way companies measure their footprint in six key, industry specific metrics, and help them apply to different certification schemes in a fast, cheap and efficient way using one web-based tool. The goal of this platform is to bring this technology to the world democratizing the process and making it accessible to millions of company's worldwide, leveraging Costa Rica's environmental expertise.

Previously, Julian worked for a bio-diesel start-up company that operates in both the USA and throughout Latin America. He played a main role in the company's social and sustainability practices for large scale biofuel production and community farming models. He then started his entrepreneurial career and founded Buscojobs an online job board and HR consultancy for IT companies. He has been involved in several other IT startups for the regional LATAM market.

"I want to base my project in the UK and CJBS is the ideal place to do it. The faculty are dedicated to your success and the network is truly fascinating creating very valuable synergies between people. The social innovation centre is the ideal place for meeting other entrepreneurs that share your passions and are actively working towards their goals."

"I have a passion for entrepreneurship that has a tangible goal and has the potential to be disruptive and help tackle the most critical issues of our generation. We have helped more than 100 companies in Costa Rica and throughout the region cope with their environmental strategies and generated significant savings. We want to scale this knowledge and spin this story to the world: Measure your environmental and social impact in less than 30 minutes. Once you measure it you know where the problem is".

 

Rena Zuabi

Rena Zuabi

Student Innovator

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Rena is an MBA student at CJBS. She recently started a non-profit through a boutique investment fund, K5 Ventures, in southern California to connect university technical talent and innovation to local start-ups. The goal of The Portal is to bridge the region's fragmented entrepreneurial ecosystem for greater startup growth.

Previously, Rena was a project manager for agriculture and community development projects in Palestine. She worked through a Palestinian NGO, MA'AN Development Center, with a range of international donors and partners such as the European Commission, Oxfam, and UN Women. In Palestine she discovered the limitations of traditional donor-aid development schemes, and recognized the need to foster social enterprise investment on the grassroots level. She hopes to eventually return to Palestine and cultivate greater resources around community enterprises in the private and non-profit sectors.

"I want to build on my experience with social enterprise and non-profit management to pursue a career in social impact investment.

"Sustainability requires locally-led solutions to local development challenges. Despite the fact that there are so many nonprofits and donor funds in Palestine, there is limited impact because communities are not leading and investing in their own growth. They have been excluded from development schemes. We have to restructure this framework to foster social entrepreneurial ecosystems where communities share knowledge, resources, and can access local financing."  

 

Daniel San Martin

Daniel San Martin

Student Innovator

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Daniel is an MBA student at CJBS. Prior to starting the programme he worked at FOCUS, a consulting group for non-profit organisations as Project Manager and Associate Consultant. Here Daniel managed the biggest Chilean Social Investment Fund, focused on two dimensions of projects - children and adolescents at social risk, and urban projects in poor neighbourhoods. Daniel led the development of a framework to evaluate and track the impact of projects in order to maximize the measurable social impact of the fund. 

Previously Daniel worked for three years for the NGO TECHO, a youth led non-profit organisation present in 17 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, which works to overcome poverty through collaboration of families living in extreme poverty with youth volunteers. Here, Daniel participated in the design and management of a new microfinance model of for entrepreneurs in slums, to increase essential access to capital at the bottom of the pyramid. Later, he led the team of economic and quantitative studies of TECHO, which develops the theoretical and empirical foundations for the fieldwork.

During his graduate studies at Universidad Catolica de Chile and University of California, Daniel led several volunteer projects in impoverished areas, focused on building emergency houses. He has degrees in Business and Economics, with a minor in Sociology. His final thesis was about the impact of Early Childhood education, proving with econometric models how this intervention is critical for future individual performance, especially among the poorest children.

"We need to devote our best professionals, our most powerful ideas, and the most valuable resources to achieve social impact. Only through the joint work of social organisations, private sector and governments, we will able to change radically the life of the poorest.

"My highest aspiration would be leading projects or organisations focused on human development driven by the empowerment of people through education, knowledge transfer, or financial investment."