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Scaling Technology Innovations for Social Impact
On Nov. 4, 2010 Santa Clara University will host the Tech Awards Showcase for the first time on campus. This exhibition will feature projects by the 15 Tech Laureates—the technologists, educators, scientists, and entrepreneurs who will be honored at the Tech Awards Gala on Nov. 6 for their innovations using technology to address global challenges and benefit humanity.
“The Nov. 4 showcase is open to the public at no charge. People will have a chance to meet the laureates and see displays of their work. This is a great way for the community to learn about the work of these social entrepreneurs firsthand,” says Radha Basu, former managing director of SCU’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society (CSTS).
The showcase will be part of a one-day conference, “Scaling Technology Innovations for Social Impact,” which will bring together the laureates, the university community, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), donors, investors, and corporate partners such as Microsoft, Accenture, and Intel. The event kicks off a partnership between NetHope (a collaboration of more than 30 information technology officers in leading NGOs and also a previous Tech Laureate) and CSTS, whose mission is to promote the use of science and technology through social entrepreneurship to benefit underserved communities worldwide.
“The idea is to help these Tech Laureates, social entrepreneurs who are trying to solve important problems like access to clean water, access to electricity, basic health care needs—to scale up their work in order to have a greater impact,” Basu says.
Too often, she says, good ideas end up not reaching their full potential for impact. “It’s a shame,” Basu says. “At our Global Social Benefit Incubator, where we develop social entrepreneurs for scaling, we see this all the time. There are many innovative ideas for solving social and environmental problems, but they remain just very local solutions, because the entrepreneurs don’t have the network or the connections or the money to really scale them. This conference will help facilitate a network that can enable these innovations to reach many more people.”