Posted by: viaprograms | March 20, 2010

First Days of VIA’s New Social Innovation Program

I wanted to inform you about the exciting start of VIA’s Exploring Social Innovation Program.  This has been a work in progress since May 2009 (even earlier perhaps) with a meeting in Shinjuku including Kazutoh Ishida (VIA’s Stanford Programs Senior Manager), myself, Dwight Clark (VIA’s Founder), Daichi (SP alumni), and Ken Ito (partner with Social Venture Partners Tokyo and Institute for Strategic Leadership).  Since then, we’ve been able to meet and share ideas and work closely toward the final product: these 2 weeks in San Francisco and at Stanford.

On Thursday, students arrived and recovered from jet-lag and sleep deprivation with plenty of walking and cable car rides across the city and soaking in the amazing weather that greeted everyone on their first day in SF!! 

Yesterday began the real work of ESI, learning about the amazing spectrum of the social sector here in the Bay Area and visiting with high impact non-profits, venture philanthropy, and venture capital with double/triple bottom line.  It was quite inspiring to hear from each of these groups; also the level of interest by our participants was equally engaging for the organizations we visited.  For each visit, a different group of students was assigned to carefully review certain aspects of the organization, and then report back to the group at the end of the day. 

We’d love for you to follow our program if you are interested.  You can do this by visiting our blog that will be updated by participants throughout the program

Also, I wanted to let you know we’ll be holding a final test of retention on the last day of the program. Monday, March 29 from 9:45-11:30am at Stanford Haas Center  students’ venture plans will be presented/pitched.  We would love for you to join if you are able either as audience or even as a panelist.  Please let me know by March 26th if you are able to join:

-Ben Strong, Exploring Social Innovation (ESI) Program Director


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