Thursday, April 28, 2011

Eliminating Poverty Through Entrepreneurship Summit 2011

On April 15th,  I attended the third annual Alleviating Poverty Through Entrepreneurship (APTE) summit at OSU. The main objective of this summit is to empower people to take action and eradicate poverty, not through fundraising or donation, but through entrepreneurship.

The summit was pretty enlightening, convicting and inspiring. The speakers came from a variety of background and area of expertise.  The keynote speaker, Jessica Jackley from Kiva, gave a poignant and inspiring talk, urging people to see the possibility of eliminating poverty and to embrace changes and propose innovation. All, just like Kiva, began small and simple.

Erin Krampetz from Ashoka reminded us to do what we love to do. Sonya Perez from Opportunity International taught us to give a hand-up rather than a hand-out. Mark Rembert & Taylor Stuckert from Energized Clinton County emphasized the importance of finding local or community-oriented solutions to address global problems.

One underlying similarity that I identified from all these speakers was most of them, if not all, started to develop the passion for poverty eradication from traveling. By traveling, I don't mean a five star cruise to Caribbean or a trip to Las Vegas but an eye-opener kind of traveling where you visit a place that is not on the top 100 travel destination list. The experience is powerful, it humbles you and slaps you at the same time. It forces you to behold the reality outside your shell of comfort and to acknowledge the devastating effect of poverty. It exposes you to a different kind of world - a world where freedom is non-existent.

I was glad that I participated in this summit. I should admit that this topic has been a seasonal on-off kind of thing for me, going through a harsh season of hibernating and a season of reawakening. But, the passion has always been there, lying dormant until something trigger it. And this summit definitely gave me the jolt.

So, what resulted from that summit?

Pebo and me, following what Jessica said to "make things official", gathered several friends who have the same passion to start taking actions - as simple as brainstorming ideas or identifying problems or sharing resources. This, we hope, is the community that would see the possibility in eliminating poverty, this is the community that would challenge today's problem and propose solution for a better tomorrow. This, we hope, is the start of something big.

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