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A Master Class on Creating the Startup Tech Social Enterprise

Featuring Benetech’s Jim Fruchterman

September 18, 2014 from 6:00-8:00pm
$35 ($10 for PGS students and alumni)

Eventbrite - Master Class on Creating the Startup Tech Social Enterprise

Do you know what to look for in a social enterprise? Does your social enterprise stack up?

In this Master Class, MacArthur Fellow and Benetech CEO Jim Fruchterman will lead you through the highly successful Benetech methodology for assessing new social enterprises. In small groups, you’ll apply the methodology to new product concepts drawn from the current Benetech Labs pipeline and/or new ideas sourced from the attendees before the class. You’ll leave with the critical thinking skills for evaluating tech social enterprises, to increase the likelihood of success with new ventures.

Key areas of inquiry will include:

• What do we need to test with the users to understand whether we’re delivering significant value?
• What kind of revenue streams are possible sources for sustainability? What could we do to test those streams?
• How much capital is needed to prototype and test the product? If we find a successful path forward with a product, what’s the likely capital ask for getting it to break-even or a similar sustainable level?
• What would three different successful exit options look like?
• Is this likely to be a for-profit, a nonprofit, or a hybrid?

Session Pre-Readings:

For Love or Lucre
10 Theses on Power and Efficacy of ICT4D Indulgences 
Benetech’s framework for Developing New Projects
• My chapter from Creating Good Work


1 Beach Street, Rm 206, San Francisco
at Alliant International University

For more information, contact the PGS Events Coordinator.

About Jim Fruchterman

Jim Fruchterman is a leading social entrepreneur and CEO of Benetech, a nonprofit technology company based in Silicon Valley. A Caltech-trained engineer and high technology entrepreneur, Fruchterman has been a rocket scientist, he cofounded two of the world’s foremost optical character recognition companies—Calera Recognition Systems and RAF Technology, Inc.—and has created numerous technology-focused social enterprises.

Fruchterman founded Benetech in 1989 to produce reading machines for people who are blind, using Calera technology. In 2000, Fruchterman sold the reading machine product line and reinvested the money from the sale to expand Benetech to new frontiers of social good.

Since then, Benetech’s work has grown to include multiple program areas and now develops technology for people with disabilities, as well as the human rights and environmental movements. With the recent addition of Benetech Labs, a space intentionally designed for exploring big ideas with the potential to successfully meet a pressing social need, Benetech continues its tradition of being a different kind of tech company—a nonprofit—with a pure focus on developing technology for the social good.

In recognition of his work, Fruchterman has received numerous awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship and the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. He believes that technology has the power to improve—even transform—the lives of people all across the world.

Special Class Visit and Info Session Prospective Students
We will be having a special gathering for prospective students before the Master Class. Come see our classrooms in action at 3:30 or join us for an informational conversation about our degree programs at 4:30—with pizza! Come for all or part of the session, then join the Master Class afterward. Whatever fits your schedule, we’d love to see you!