Reflections from the Incubator  - 6 Jul 2011

At African Innovation Prize and Rwanda Entrepreneurship Week we have been blessed with meeting a huge volume of people that are smart, committed and helping us in our ambition to inspire and support student innovation in Rwanda. As the first project in Beyond Profit’s social innovation incubator, this year started full of uncertainties – could we achieve our ambition to deliver a fantastic business plan competition and run an entrepreneurship conference focused specifically on Rwandan university students? Now, with only a month to go before our conference and the imminent culmination of our business planning competition in Rwanda – we are delighted to answer that question with a yes. A useful lesson we have all learned however is that we have only done so through the enormous volume of support and advice that we have been lucky enough to access. Every type of organisation and individual has helped us realise our ambitions: from Beyond Profit to multinational corporations, from entrepreneurial individuals to knowledgeable NGOs, and from foundations to university bodies and students in both Cambridge and Kigali.

To our major donors and partners we owe the largest thank you – and typically in the world of social enterprise – they come from a range of sources. Most importantly, the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology has been an incredibly generous and responsive partner, and we are privileged to be working with such a prestigious institution. In terms of financial contribution: Brussels Airlines, Staples, the Segal Foundation and Sarah D’Avigdor Goldsmid Trust the have all been instrumental to the creation of African Innovation Prize and Rwanda Entrepreneurship Week. Brussels Airlines, which hosts over 85 weekly flights to African countries, has gifted us a ticket to help us cover the costs of getting to Kigali. Staples too, as well as being invaluable to students in dissertation print-panic, is covering all of our printing costs for the conference. Both the Segal Family Foundation and the Sarah D’Avigdor Goldsmid Trust have had the trust and vision to invest in an early-stage initiative that they believe can deliver significant change in Rwanda. Alongside these significant contributions also sit those from Manchester Grammar School, St Johns College, and the Clare College Eric Lane Award – who have demonstrated their commitment to initiatives of their former or current students through their donations.

And of course – there is the huge well of support from other organisations interested in spurring entrepreneurship, as well as generous individuals. Organisations such as Venture Capital for Africa, Royal Commonwealth Society, Springboard, the Humanitarian Centre, Keystone Tutors, Endeavor, and New Leadership have been fantastically helpful, and open to sharing their contacts and ideas. We have also been bowled over by the enthusiasm of family and friends who have added financial support to their emotional support, the responsiveness and energy of student participants in Rwanda, and the generosity of those who give of their time as a judge on the business plan competition, or an entrepreneur speaking at the conference. We now have over 130 students registered to attend the conference, and a host of submissions to the business plan competition. Entrepreneurial ideas are coming thick and fast, and will be nudged on to the next level of enterprise development, through the African Innovation Prize and Rwanda Entrepreneurship Week interventions.

From all the Cambridge student team – a huge thank you to all of you for investing in inspiring and supporting student innovation and entrepreneurship in Rwanda. Your energy and contribution has been humbling for us organisers – and is only matched by that of the student participants in Rwanda, who are busy using your contributions, to generate enterprise ideas, future businesses and prosperity for their country. A huge thank you to you all, and for those in Rwanda – see you in a month.

The University of Cambridge organizing team (Baillie Aaron, Alex Handy, Julia Fan Li, Jackie Stenson, Sarah Teacher) will be hosting Rwanda Entrepreneurship Week at Kigali Institute of Science and Technology July 25-30, 2011 in Kigali. If you are interested in sponsoring or attending the networking session as a Rwandan business/entrepreneur, please contact:

To find out more about Rwanda Entrepreneurship Week, and the African Innovation Prize, please go to:
Follow the organizers on Twitter: @AIPrize, and check out their blog for more information and to register for the conference:

  - 28 Jan 2011

Hello everyone,

Welcome to this week's newsletter.

Just a few things worth mentioning to make sure you are getting the most out of the newsletter.

Firstly, we have had a few problems with people not receiving the newsletter. If you haven't received the newsletter previously or know of someone who still isn't receiving any mails but is on the list visit our facebook page ( and 'like' the status that references this issue.

Secondly, if you are viewing this in Hermes make sure you click 'view in html' so you can see the pictures etc we post!

Here at Beyond Profit we are looking forward to kicking off this term’s events.

Our first event is next Wednesday 2nd February at 7.30pm at Clare College in the Latimer Room. We are collaborating with the Cambridge Hub as part of the new Hub Series to bring you a session led by Ashoka on Social entrepreneurs, the models they use, and you.

Ashoka is the global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs—men and women with system changing solutions for the world’s most urgent social problems. Since 1981, they have elected over 3000 leading social entrepreneurs as Ashoka Fellows, providing them with living stipends, professional support, and access to a global network of peers in more than 70 countries.

We will also be joined by Nick Sireau who is an Ashoka Fellow from Cambridge and, as Chairman of the AKU Society, a successful social entrepreneur in the pharmaceutical space.

You’ll get the chance to meet them, find out what they do and learn how you can do it too.

Check out our flyer for more details, join the facebook event and sign up on the website now!

After that on Tuesday 8th February at 7pm we are holding a Careers speaker event on Microfinance. A career in the financial sector does not always have to compromise your mission to make positive impact. Microfinance over the last decades has provided credit access to a growing number of the world’s poor, helping to address development issues. Meanwhile the latest crisis in the Indian microfinance sector drives us to question its future. This workshop will draw upon the experience of leading practitioners in the field, explore the debate around microfinance and look into how students with a passion in this area can get involved.

Joining us will be Lily Lapenna, founder of MyBnk, Mark Cheng and Professor Aniket

Again check out our flyer for more details, join the facebook event and sign up on the website now!

Last but not least make sure you check out our new look website complete with new blog entry. Also get involved in the facebook group ( and follow us on Twitter! (@CUBeyondProfit)

As usual some other events and opportunities are included in our bulletin including your chance to get involved in running Beyond Profit.

CU Beyond Profit


1. *Recruitment* - Beyond Profit Committee

2. *Opportunity* - Join Cambridge Healthcare: Software Intern and Graduate Developer opportunities

3. *Event* - Enterprise Tuesday

4. *Event* - Cambridge University International Development

5. *Event* - International Development Careers Evening

6. *Opportunity* - Intern with an exciting new social start up

1. *Recruitment* - Beyond Profit Committee

Beyond Profit is recruiting new members for its committee across a whole range of functions.

If you have a passion for ethical issues and business and want a great addition to your CV then get in touch with or to find out more about how you can get involved.

2. *Opportunity* - Join Cambridge Healthcare: Software Intern and Graduate Developer opportunities

Do you have, or are completing, a technical degree at Cambridge University?

Do you think that a Ruby/Rails and Amazon RDS stack with AMQP and Distributed Memory Caching is cool, but not enough?

Would you like to help build something which Fortune 500s have tried and failed to create?

We are a healthcare informatics start-up, creating a unique and innovative eHealth portal and the first ever healthcare applications store. We are working in partnership with the NHS and will pilot regionally, then deploy nationally.

We are recruiting interns and graduate developers to help us build the healthcare portal and application marketplace using the Open Systems Interconnection model.

As a developer at Cambridge Healthcare, you’ll be given real problems; you’ll help build a company and make it successful, gaining valuable business experience; you’ll also be paid and given employee stock options; you’ll get to work with some of the brightest minds in healthcare and informatics; and you’ll be changing the world, for the better, with outcomes that you can measure.

If this sounds interesting, please email us at

Find out more at

3. *Event* - Enterprise Tuesday

Feb 1, 18:00

Lecture Theatre 0, Department of Engineering, Cambridge

Building a Dream Team


Billy Boyle, Co-Founder and President of Operations, Owlstone

Cynthia Larbey, Biotechnology Entrepreneur

This week’s lecture looks at the need for different team members at different stages of the venture; offers advice on how you define the dream team for each of these steps; and how you can look for, attract, reward and focus the team so that you deliver the results.

Cynthia Larbey will focus on the need for understanding structures before building the team. She has experience of working with both successful and recovering teams. One of the companies she has worked with is Smart Holograms, a spin out from Professor Chris Lowe’s Department at the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Biotechnology which pioneered a unique form of sensor technology. She also has strong tips for how to galvanise teams in difficult situations.

Billy Boyle has grown his company, Owlstone, from his student days and now employs forty three people. The company uses nanotechnology to put chemical sensors on microchips and is an example of a Cambridge success story. Billy will share his views on the need for values, for understanding the changes needed during different stages of growth and that autonomy is a stronger motivator than financial rewards. In addition, you might be interested in an article written by Billy in the January issue of Cambridge Business magazine.

4. Cambridge University International Development

+++ Panel Discussion - Volunteering: Help or Hindrance +++

Date & time: Friday 28th January @ 7pm

Location: Queen's Building Auditorium, Emmanuel College


The guest panel, including Shirz Vira (Co-ordinator of CamVol), Ian

Sanderson (Chairman of Afrinspire), and a return volunteer from VSO, debate

the effects of volunteering for international development projects, and

effective practice when volunteering and taking gap years.

This will definitely appeal to those looking to do some volunteering work

over summer, or to enter the industry after graduation as it will shed

light on some of the issues and challenges volunteers, the companies and

the countries they volunteer in encounter.

For more information on the event, visit our facebook page at:

To find out more about us, visit:

5. *Event* - International Development Careers Evening

Wondering about a career in international development? Come and hear from people currently working in a variety of different jobs within this highly varied sector. What do they love about their jobs? What are the challenges? How do you get that crucial overseas experience? How do you secure your first paid job? Is a Masters necessary? What about a language? Can you really make a difference?

Speakers include:

Susie Henderson, Corporate Account Manager, WaterAid

Andrew Lamb, Engineers Without Borders

Nicola d'Elia, GSMA Development Fund (uses mobile technology in international development)

Fabio Scappaticci, previously worked with Oxfam Quebec in the DRC.

Hawa Sydique, Programme Manager for Enterprise and Leadership, Camfed.

See also

The careers briefing: Volunteering in the developing world, 2-3pm Tuesday 8 February 2011 and the main not-for-profit careers event, Work to change the World, 1-6pm Thursday 10 February 2011

6. *Opportunity* - Intern with an exciting new social start up

Join DataGiving: Ethical startup paid opportunities for graduate programmers

Do you want to combine ethical and social values with working on real problems,

together with some of the brightest minds in web technologies and the social enterprise sector? Do you want to work with ‘meaning’, for individual fulfilment, and write stellar code that has a real impact with results you can measure?

DataGiving are a Cambridge University social venture spinout, and winner of the TedxCam Open Data Challenge Hackathon 2010. They are developing unusual and highly impactful interactive data visualisation apps to help people find, support and share the causes they care most about (see,

DataGiving is recruiting experienced graduate developers (PHP, MySql and so on), with a flair for design as a plus. Both paid and voluntary posts are available. Work will primarily be from home, with flexible hours to fit around your term-time commitments.

If this sounds interesting, please apply asap emailing your CV to Sobia at We’ll also be attending the Careers service Work to change the World event on 10 February 2011, come and have a chat with us.

Liberté, egalité, Chakrabarti! Or Channeling your inner Kidd  - 27 Jan 2011

Social entrepreneurs are people driven to meet an unmet need: men and women who see injustice and decide that they themselves will right it. It takes a lot however to take that leap from outrage to action. Social entrepreneurs can be comforted by the now well-developed ecosystem of support out there;* but sometimes you need a bit of inspiration too. What then, could be better than hearing about the roots of one of Britain’s most revered human rights’ organizations, Liberty (

On Wednesday 19th January 2011, Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, gave a talk that would have empowered any would-be social entrepreneur. It’s easy to think of well-respected organizations, as enormous, impenetrable institutions that have always existed, but Liberty started in 1932 with one man outraged by police violence at a peaceful protest. Ronald Kidd turned that outrage into action. He spent the next year spreading awareness about the importance of peaceful protest, and managed to convene what must rank as the all-time most impressive inaugural meeting of an NGO. In February of 1934 HG Wells, Vera Brittain, Dr. Edith Summerskill, Clement Atlee, Kingsley Martin, and Prof. Harold Laski all joined Ronald Kidd in writing a letter to the Manchester Guardian to announce they were starting the National Council for Civil Liberties. 75 years later and the same organization continues to protect civil liberties and promote human rights in the UK. So for those of you who have a great idea, but are worried that it might not come off, or that you don’t have it in you to lead - think of Ronald Kidd. As Goethe said, “At the moment of commitment the entire universe conspires to assist you.” Go out there, meet the need and you’ll be amazed who will follow you and what you can achieve. Channel your inner Ronald! Take the leap.

*Great places to go for more information are Ashoka ( and Unltd, ( - social entrepreneurship organizations who will both be featuring in the Beyond Profit schedule this term. Do come along. Also worth checking out is the excellent School for Social Entrepreneurs (

Social Enterprise Workshop  - 29 Nov 2010

You go to an Apple store, attracted to the eye-catching red Nano, and you buy it. You might later regret splashing out again on these little fancy gadgets, but the good news is you have played a part in helping the people in Africa.
Most of us might not have any idea that Apple has joined the RED project, where they make a collection of unique (RED) products, whereby they give up 50% of related profits to the Global Fund to invest in HIV and AIDS programmes in Africa.
So your purchase of an iPod Nano (PRODUCT) RED can provide up to 3 weeks of lifesaving medicine to someone living with HIV in Africa. The idea is simple, as claimed by RED, “it’s about turning our collective power of consumerism into financial force to help others in need”. The people behind the project don’t expect you to consciously go into Oxfam and buy stuff because you want to donate, instead, they expect you to continue spending money in your favourite haunts, say Starbucks, GAP, Converse, as well as other iconic brands that have partnered with RED; and among all the colours available, reach to their splendid red collections.
This may come as a surprise to Starbucks fans that have never come across RED in their coffee visits. I first heard about this project only days ago from a workshop with the Beyond Profit Society, where Tom Rippin, a former Mckinsey consultant who now runs his own social enterprise, gave the audience a flash back on the evolution of social enterprise, and introduced them to some of the most creative and successful models in this field.
Social enterprise is the buzzword today. People from the nonprofit side may not like the idea that the term seems to imply “making money off the poor”, while conventional businesses may also feel unease as the existence of such a group creates a comparison that puts them in a negative light.
Well, to quote Rippin’s definition of social enterprise, which I largely agree with, “the core idea of social enterprises is that what they are doing is intrinsically good to the society. They directly confront social needs through their products and services, rather than indirectly through the so-called corporate social responsibility”. To put it simply, imagine you buy a bottle of water, and the company claims that 50% of the profit from that product goes to address environment protection programs. But selling bottled water itself, instead of addressing the issue, could even worsen the situation in this case.
Rippin mentioned an interesting model of Fareshare, the community food network, which served to illustrate how business could be intrinsically linked to social causes. The idea is again simple but powerful. Everyday Sainsbury’s has to get rid of tons of food unnecessarily. The apples might be packed in a two for one promotion package, but when the promotion period ends, it’s more costly to re-pack it than to throw it. To dispose of them, the supermarket has to spend money in land-filling. Fareshare approaches them and offers to help Sainsbury’s get rid of the surplus. So long as their charges are lower than the disposal cost, the supermarket would be more than willing to do that. Voila! Fareshare gets the food to help people, and helps to minimize wastes, as well as the CO2 emission produced by land-filling the wastes.
This entry only serves to initiate our discussion on social enterprise, rather than making a simple good or bad judgment. This is a field where many contentions lie, from the ownership structure and accountability of social enterprise, the necessity and implications of having a Social Enterprise Mark, to the future trend of business. As Pamela Hartigan, the director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University’s Said Business School complains “I can’t stand the term ‘social entrepreneurship’. It served its purpose in building a sense of community. But community should not shut out others, and that’s the danger here”.

Welcome to the Blog!  - 23 Nov 2010

Welcome to the first edition of the Beyond Profit blog!

Our blog is designed to help you in 3 ways.

1)  Give you detailed feedback and follow up materials from each event we run e.g. podcasts, powerpoint presentations etc
2)  Provide further information on speakers and topics that we are involved with
3)  Highlight the opportunities that you can get involved in

Over the next few weeks we’ll aim to recap all our events this term and then continue to provide you with more info and resources over the holiday period and moving into next term’s program.

Anyway, it was back in October when Nick Pennell (Head of the Sustainability Practice at the consultancy Booz&Company) came to chat to us about climate change and the role it is playing in business today.

What became immediately clear was that today’s businesses are not beginning to take notice of sustainability out of good will alone.
The business case for going ‘greener’ is becoming increasingly compelling.  Not only are operational costs rising but customer demand for transparency is increasing.
What companies need now are overall sustainability strategies covering entire supply chains and new brand images to communicate these changes to customers. 
Consequently, those who are able to combine a deep analytical understanding of how to improve sustainability along with an ability to communicate the changes alongside the remaining problems have the potential to lead this movement.

For those interested in consultancy the future in this field looks bright.  Nick highlighted four key areas where consultants look to deliver results for their clients.  Firstly, cost and footprint management which focuses on the nuts and bolts of lowering emissions and reducing impact.  Secondly, business model enhancement where clients seek greener strategies for sourcing, for customer segmentation and for market positioning.  Closely linked to this companies are also looking for ways to develop new green technologies and take a lead in this expanding market.  Finally, clients want advice on how to react to current and potential regulatory developments ranging from the launch of ‘green investment banks’ to the imposition of a new carbon taxes.

All these opportunities and issues were fleshed out in the case study which explored the exotic real life example of the development of a Middle Eastern eco-tourism destination.

For a full overview of Nick’s presentation check out the powerpoint.

If you want to get more involved in applying sustainability to business or just have a few tips to pass on, Beyond Profit is in the process of developing our own strategy to make sure we practice the values we promote.

Drop if you have any ideas or are interested in helping out.

Let us know your thoughts on this issue and what you’d like to see us doing in the future.

Look out for further round ups next week.

CU Beyond Profit

Background  - 30 Oct 2010

Cambridge University Beyond Profit was founded in May 2010 to provide a forum for the rapidly emerging movement in social and sustainable business. More and more students and young professionals are interested in not only seeking to make money through their career or enterprise but also to have a positive impact on society.
We, therefore, aim to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders. By connecting professionalism and enterprise with ethical incentives we want to encourage talented students to get involved in this rapidly emerging movement in social and sustainable business.
This aim is underpinned by four key beliefs; that profit is part of the solution and not ‘evil’, that business can be a force for good, that social entrepreneurs can drive the future of entrepreneurship and that students can be the driving force in this movement.
Firstly, at Beyond Profit we believe that making profit is not inherently evil, rather that the key to solving many of the world’s issues relies upon finding sustainable solutions that add lasting value.
Secondly, Beyond Profit is a society for those who believe businesses can be used as a force for positive change, taking responsibility for combating social and environmental issues whilst still having enterprise at their cores. With the growth in Corporate Social Responsibility this is become an ever more salient issue in today’s economy.
Thirdly, Beyond Profit is for those who believe in the power of social entrepreneurship. We believe in a new generation of entrepreneurs who are seeking to change the world with big ideas that make money and make a difference.
Fourthly, we believe that today’s students are passionate about having a positive social impact whilst also pursuing personal professional and financial remuneration.