The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Social Entrepreneurship

Speaking with Chetna Sinha about Financial Inclusion and Women Empowerment

An economist, farmer, and activist, Chetna Sinha works for social change in some of the poorest and most drought-stricken areas of rural India. She is the founder and president of the Mann Deshi Mahila Bank, a micro-enterprise development bank that serves more than 185,000 low-income women. She was named Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 for India by Palaniappan Chidambaram, Finance Minister of India and has been honored with the 2005 Jankidevi Bajaj Puraskar award for rural entrepreneurship. She has also been awarded lifetime membership with Ashoka Innovators for the Public, and was selected for the first class of Yale University's World Fellows program in 2002-2003.

Before her talk, “Financial Inclusion and Women Empowerment,” Courtney Wong ’15 sat down with Chetna Sinha for an interview.

Dartmouth students selected to attend the Social Innovation Summit 2014

Evan Read ‘16, Katie Zhang ‘16, and Hector Gustavo Ruiz Llopiz ‘14 have been selected to attend the Social Innovation Summit 2014, held at the United Nations Plaza in New York City on May 28 & 29. These students were selected from a competitive applicant pool and are receiving VIP tickets to learn about the intersection of business, technology, and social value.

The Center for Professional Development is pleased to offer these Dartmouth students tickets to the summit valued at $1,295, donated by Ralph Klein. The Rockefeller Center is pleased to sponsor transportation, lodging, and food costs.

PBPL 43: Social Entrepreneurship is now Cross-Listed with the Economics Department!

The Rockefeller Center’s new course “PBPL 43: Social Entrepreneurship” is now cross-listed with ECON 77. Taught by Professor and Director of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center Andrew Samwick, this course will use the context of 50th anniversary of the declaration on the “War on Poverty” to investigate the nature and causes of poverty, both domestically and abroad, and the emergence of social entrepreneurship to address this issue. This course will also have a strong experiential component where students will work in small groups to identify and develop ideas for their own social ventures.

The course change period for the summer term is now open (May 8-29) and students are encouraged to consider PBPL 43/ECON 77. As a cross-listed course, this will also count towards the ECON major or minor.

"Financial Inclusion and Women Empowerment" with Chetna Sinha, May 14 @ 4:30 pm

The empowerment of women in today’s economy has become an important, if not crucial, objective in prompting development and progress. In many countries, women serve critical roles in agricultural and commodity production and in providing familial stability. Giving women the tools they need to succeed could be considered requisite to ensuring the ultimate success of their local communities.

Chetna Sinha, Founder & Chairperson on Mann Deshi Mahila Bank and the Mann Deshi Foundation and Ashoka Fellow, will speak to this topic and her personal experiences in founding a micro-enterprise development bank and in promoting female empowerment in financial affairs.

An economist, farmer, and activist, Chetna Sinha works for social change in some of the poorest and most drought-stricken areas of rural India. She is the founder and president of the Mann Deshi Mahila Bank, a micro-enterprise development bank. The Bank's clients are low-income women with incomes averaging INR 40 (USD 1.00) per day. The Bank currently has seven branches, more than 185,000 clients, and conducts 10,000 transactions daily.

Three Mile Island 35th Anniversary Symposium

On Friday, March 28th, I attended Mr. Amory Lovins’ keynote address at the Three Mile Island 35th Anniversary Symposium hosted by the Thayer School of Engineering. This event was organized to discuss the past, present, and future of nuclear energy— a topic that has gained more relevance with the United States’ search for energy independence and the world’s reactions after the Fukushima incident three years ago. 

I was excited to hear Mr. Amory Lovins, Cofounder and Chief Scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute because we had learned in class that he was one of the leading voices in the nuclear energy discussion. I expected him to focus more of his presentation on the negative aspects of nuclear energy. Therefore it was a good surprise to hear him talking more about solutions to nuclear energy rather than just expressing his opinions. Lovins condensed his solution for an ideal energy portfolio into a “trifecta between energy efficiency, renewables, and cogeneration."

Thanh Nguyen becomes Rockefeller’s First Design and Entrepreneurship Officer

At the Rockefeller Center, we educate, train, and inspire the next generation of public policy leaders, and I am thrilled to take on a role that combines social entrepreneurship and human-centered design to further develop our offerings at the Center.

These two promising approaches of social entrepreneurship and human-centered design correspond to our two primary domains of public policy and leadership in exciting ways. Not only do social entrepreneurs embody leadership, these changemakers oftentimes generate the beginnings of innovative and cost-effective public policy solutions to some of our most pressing challenges in our society (or, as Rittel & Webber put it, our “wicked problems”). Similarly, at the core of human-centered design is empathy, and this approach puts the focus of developing products or services on solving real problems for real people.

The Rockefeller Center Launches New Social Entrepreneurship Course!

The Rockefeller Center is launching a new course starting this summer!

Listed as Public Policy 43, the course will provide an introduction to the theory and practice of social entrepreneurship, defined generally as the process of finding innovative, sustainable solutions to social problems and, more specifically for this course, social problems that are a cause or consequence of poverty. 

PBPL 43 has three objectives:

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