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The Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School has awarded grants to five up-and- coming social innovators
NEW YORK: NOVEMBER 20, 2015 — The Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School announced today that five Columbia University-affiliated social ventures received funding from the Tamer Fund for Social Ventures and access to the social enterprise resources the Tamer Center provides. The Tamer Fund for Social Ventures, established in January 2015, provides seed grants to nonprofit, for-profit, or hybrid early-stage Columbia University affiliated social ventures.
“The growth in social ventures across the Columbia University campus and among our alumni is both exciting and inspiring,” said Prof. Bruce Usher, co-director of the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise and chair of the investment board for the Tamer Social Venture Fund. “We look forward to supporting these entrepreneurs and contributing to their success.”
The inaugural awardees were selected after participating in an application screening round, a due diligence process with student teams as part of Columbia Business School’s “Investing in Social Ventures” graduate course, and a final pitch to the Fund’s Investment Board.
The ventures are tackling a wide range of current social and environmental issues including energy efficiency and air pollution, healthcare in underserved markets, purpose-driven tourism, mentoring youth, and workforce development for refugees. They are:
- Eat Offbeat, co-founded by Manal Kahi SIPA’15 and Wissam Kahi BUS ’04, is a same-day meal delivery service employing refugees.
- Praakti Health, co-founded by Sylvana Sinha LAW ’04 and Moushumi Khan, is creating one-stop urban wellness centers for high-quality, reliable and affordable healthcare for middle-class Bangladeshis.
- Radiator Labs, founded by Marshall Cox SEAS ’13, provides energy saving solutions to owners of buildings with radiator heating through a product that allows for thermostatic-like control in radiator heated buildings.
- Visit.org, co-founded by Michal Alter SIPA ’03 and Violaine Pierre, is a web-based platform enabling travelers to find and book guided tours and activities given by 25,000 local nonprofits around the globe.
- Xylem, founded by Jordan Steffy BUS ’15 and Joe Brown BUS ’15, is a mobile platform that aims to revolutionize mentoring by better connecting mentors and protégés and by providing organizations with the insights they need to measure and track the success of their mentor pairings.
More details about the social ventures and their founders are available at: www.gsb.columbia.edu/socialenterprise/socialventures/portfolio.
“I was on cloud nine for several days after I heard the Tamer fund awarded us the grant. This was the best thing that could happen to our company at that stage,” said Wissam Kahi BUS’04 of Eat Offbeat. “Beyond the much needed funds, the Tamer Fund board's trust gave the whole team a huge boost of confidence and motivation, and the process itself including the audit by the students was extremely helpful in refining our position and strategy.”
The Tamer Fund for Social Ventures provides seed grants of up to $25,000 to nonprofit, for-profit, or hybrid early-stage social ventures. These funds will be made available for around seven ventures each year, led by Columbia University students, alumni, faculty and researchers, or those ventures that are advised (and have significant involvement) by faculty or researchers. A preference is given to ventures that have the potential to be financially self-sustaining in the longer term, which includes nonprofits that can be sustained by generating revenues via fee-for-service models. In addition to the funds awarded, the ventures gain access and support from the Center’s Social Venture Advisory Network and/or Columbia student pro bono consulting teams (e.g. Pangea Advisors, Columbia Impact Investing Initiative (CI3), and Small Business Consulting Program), as well as the opportunity to hire university students to work full-time through the summer as Social Enterprise Summer Fellows.
The Tamer Social Venture Fund is open for the next round of applications for the spring. The deadline to apply for the Spring 2016 Tamer Social Venture Fund cohort is March 1, 2016.
About the Tamer Fund for Social Ventures
Established in 2015, the Tamer Fund for Social Ventures provides seed grants of up to $25,000 to nonprofit, for-profit, or hybrid early-stage social ventures. These funds will be made available for around seven ventures each year, led by Columbia University students, alumni, faculty and researchers, including recent graduates, or those ventures that are advised (and have significant involvement) by faculty or researchers. It was made possible by a generous donation by Tony and Sandra Tamer. The Fund is administered by the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School.
The Tamer Center for Social Enterprise provides Columbia University students with insights from leading research and practitioner faculty members and offers the opportunity for hands-on learning in areas of: Public and Nonprofit Management; Social Entrepreneurship; International Development and Emerging Markets; and Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability. For more information, visit www.gsb.columbia.edu/socialenterprise.
About Columbia Business School
Led by Dean Glenn Hubbard, the Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics, Columbia Business School seeks to provide a truly global business education that lasts and evolves over a lifetime, preparing students for strong leadership in any industry. The School’s cutting-edge curriculum bridges pioneering academic theory with industry practice, imparting not only functional skills but also the entrepreneurial mindset required to recognize and capture opportunity in a competitive business environment. Beyond academic rigor and teaching excellence, the School offers programs that are designed to give students practical experience making decisions in real-world environments. The strength of its ideas, the breadth and accessibility of its alumni network, and the extent of its connections to New York City each combine to make Columbia Business School one of the most innovative and dynamic business communities in the world. The School offers MBA and Executive MBA (EMBA) degrees, as well as non-degree executive education programs. For more information, visit www.gsb.columbia.edu.