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Global impact investing, social entrepreneurship, and Global Brigades :: with Steve Atamian and Brian Howe

In this episode of Ventures we explore the world of impact investing & social entrepreneurship to help the poorest of the poor around the globe. We hear and discuss the founding story of Global Brigades, the world’s largest student-led movement for global health (approximately one in five medical students today have gone on a Brigade). We also hear the launch announcement of Eskala, a for-profit company with an ambitious (and believable) 20-year plan to help end poverty for 18 million people.

See below for detailed notes and links to resources mentioned.

You can watch this episode below or listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.

My guests this week are Steve Atamian (Co-Founder of Global Brigades :: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stevenatamian/) and seasoned impact investor/advisor/attorney Brian Howe (Managing Director of Wyttmab & Venture Partner at Prota Ventures :: https://www.linkedin.com/in/briankhowe/), and we cover the following:

1:55 - Brian’s intro and journey from law school into the social impact space, starting a community hub, and advising social impact founders reaching people globally.

8:30 - Steve’s story from school, to Deloitte, to starting and scaling Global Brigades.

20:00 - Talking about the different sides of the supply/demand with Global Brigades and the “bridge” they form between students and local communities in the countries they serve.

25:58 - How does Brian advise someone who is considering social impact entrepreneurship in terms of thinking about for-profit vs. non-profit, company structure, etc..

31:27 - Using “relationships first” as a heuristic for deciding how to structure things later, what were the early relationships that mattered for Global Brigades as they were starting and deciding how to structure themselves?

34:10 - How does donor money flow and support happen? Where does the money go?

35:25 - The earned-income model for non-profits, and Global Brigades in particular.

41:34 - What was the process of scaling Global Brigades like?

46:41 - In what countries does Global Brigades serve today?

48:42 - The importance of listening to understand needs.

50:12 - What are the common stories like for the pre-med students that go on Brigades? What do they do?

53:44 - What were/are the experiences like for engineering and business students?

58:04 - Example of a new social enterprise being formed when a new water system is created, like a public utility.

58:55 - How does Brian advise, structurally, nonprofits who are considering forming for-profits?

1:04:00 - The story of the new for-profit Global Brigades is spinning out.

1:11:55 - What does the regulatory landscape look like in the countries that Global Brigades serve regarding banks?

1:14:28 - What advice does Steve have for budding social entrepreneurs / investors considering new ways to innovate and help out globally?

1:17:08 - What advice does Brian have for budding social entrepreneurs / investors considering new ways to innovate and help out globally?

1:21:16 - The need for innovation for things like more affordable latrines.  

1:22:00 - Side story of Fledge investing in a founder that launched The Obama Stove in Africa, and how that enterprise was/is an important model for social entrepreneurs leveraging local talent and resources.

1:26:20 - Where can people find out more about Brian and Steve online and contact them? https://www.globalbrigades.org/ // steve@globalbrigades.org // https://www.linkedin.com/in/stevenatamian/ // https://www.linkedin.com/in/briankhowe/ // brian.howe@protastudios.com