Sunday, October 30, 2011

Completely Unreasonable

Guest blogger Teju (and his partners Tyler and Daniel) live, eat and breath social entrepreneurship in their tireless work for the  Unreasonable Institute. I think they are completely unreasonable... and a very special part of Colorado's start up scene. 

It Takes a Village to Raise an Entrepreneur

A lot of people say that one person can change the world. I don’t believe that.

History is filled with stories of individuals who changed the world—Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Gandhi, Martin Luther King. But what history ignores is that none of these bold visionaries achieved anything without exceptional teams and without the hundreds of people who mobilized to provide them support.

My team and I believe that to change the world, it takes a village.

That’s exactly why we’ve built the Unreasonable Institute. It’s a place where we bring together 25 world-class entrepreneurs from every walk of life and put them in one house for six weeks in Boulder, Colorado with mentors and funders—literally a village of entrepreneurial support.

                   [Dinner- fellows from Netherlands, Canada, India & China]

The entrepreneurs who show up come from many sectors and from all over the world. They range from a former child soldier from Liberia to a McKinsey consultant from India to MIT graduates in Pakistan. They’ve secured US Navy contracts, partnerships with Wal-Mart, HP, and the Indian Government. They’ve landed $1.5 million in funding from the European Union and recognition from the World Health Organization.

But the chance to live with and work with our 50 mentors helps these entrepreneurs move faster than ever before. Mentors range from Paul Polak, whose leadership at International Development Enterprises has enabled over 19 million farmers out of poverty, to Phil McKinney, the CTO of HP. The entrepreneurs also live with and build relationships with portfolio managers from 20 investment funds, including Acumen Fund, First Light, and E+Co, with the hopes of securing capital.

As Unreasonable 2011 Fellow Nat Koloc said, “I’ve been waiting for this community for a long time.” It’s thanks to this convergence of peer support, mentors, and funders, that he says, “I got more done in six weeks here than I would have in a year.”

We believe that changing the world is not about entrepreneurs or pioneers working in isolation. It’s about their aggressive participation in a global movement. In a family of people who are just unreasonable enough to take on the world’s greatest challenges!

If you’re an entrepreneur who believes this, join us. Apply by November 10 to attend our 2012 Institute. Reasonable entrepreneurs need not apply.
Teju Ravilochan is co-founder of the Unreasonable Institute, an acceleration program for entrepreneurs tackling social and environmental problems. Each year, it unites 25 world-class entrepreneurs from across the globe in Boulder for 6 weeks. They live under the same roof, work with 50 mentors, pitch to 100 investors, and build relationships with portfolio managers from 20 investment firms.


Adam Thomas said...

Yes it is true, innovation is a powerful tool to help retain and attract the best talent. This has become a huge issue in fast growing economies.Enterprise Innovation Management

Paul Rigterink said...

I would appreciate answers to the following types of questions be posted on an appropriate website by graduates of the unreasonable institute so I can duplicate their results in Uganda, Haiti, and Colombia

1) How can BOP urban dwellers make a living in a wide variety of fields (not just panhandling or crafts)?
2) Where can I get appropriate training material for BOP farmers and city dwellers so they can make a living? The training material must be in the right language.
3) How do I identify and obtain all the supplies I need to start a successful BOP business and how much will these supplies cost?
4) How do I get the fiscal information I need so that I can evaluate the true cost of starting and running a particular type of BOP business without relying on philanthropy?
5) What are the best crops for BOP farmers to grow in a particular tropical or arid rural area? In particular, what price will I get for the final product?
See for a sample of what I need

K Ravilochan said...

Mr Rigterink raises some good questions. It is conceivable that there would be a lot of ingenuity and talent in the slums of, say Brazil, or in Dharavi in Mumbai. There would be a need to put a group together from these people - in other words, we need an "unreasonable institute" to select people from such a community. Who would better understand the needs of such a community than the members who make it? It would be a great experiment to see what could happen when a "fire" is ignired here! The ideas inherent to theTED talk by Bankur Roy would definitely throw more light on this, as well!