Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Will It Take Social Entrepreneurs to Rebuild New Orleans?

We recently had the opportunity to visit New Orleans and meet with a number of social entrepreneurs who are instituting amazing innovations to rebuild the city, especially its education system. In the period since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, an amazing number of public schools have been reopened as charter schools, supported by the outstanding work of New Schools for New Orleans. Additionally, Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu has opened an Office of Social Entrepreneurship in his staff, which is believed to be one of the first government offices in the country at any level to be devoted to promoting this field. Teach for America, New Leaders for New Schools, and City Year are also doing amazing work in a vibrant city that is very much on the path to rebuilding things even better than they were before the storms. In fact, many people we met felt that there were more job opportunities for social entrepreneurs to make an impact in New Orleans right now than in any other city in America.
Are you one of those people? Contact us and we may be able to help connect you with some local opportunities.
Also, we are curious, what are the factors that would pull you toward New Orleans right now and what are the concerns that would make you hesitate? What type of assurances and/or support would you need to consider relocating to New Orleans if the right opportunity was available? What other aspects of life in New Orleans could benefit from an entrepreneurial approach? What innovative models from other organizations or cities could help? Leave a comment and let us know.

15 comments:

KareAnderson said...

Since a crucial need is to match job seekers especially the working poor,) and those who need work done, then a local adoption of the S.F.-based LaborFair.com model of social enterprise could be valuable.

LF is the first person to person online matchmaking service for household maintenance and family care (yet could include any kind of work in New Orleans) that incorporates the concept of the living wage.

Think of LaborFair as an eBay for household services with fair trade built into the business.

Because LaborFair.com provides worker profiles, photos, references and reviews, you can find the right person you need faster than on other sites, such as Craig’s List. Furthermore, once you find a likely candidate to hire, you can click to contact that person directly by email or mobile phone.

Good workers can get more jobs and build their reputation through the positive, online reviews they receive. They can stop papering neighborhoods with promo flyers or going through agencies that take a chunk of their pay.

With this online community, qualified workers can work their way up the economic ladder to a better life - as more people hire them at LaborFair. It’s a triple “do good” bottom line: good work ready-to-hire people, good for quality workers and good in supporting the local economy.

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