October 8, 2009

Samasource to host GiveWork Gala in SF

Samasource

The Bay Area nonprofit Samasource will host the first GiveWork Charity Gala on Nov. 12 at the University Club of San Francisco, bringing together writers, luminaries, and some of the most influential women entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.

The event will feature a live auction, with items for bid including a conversation with Nobel Prize laureates George Akerlof and Myron Scholes, a secret challenge with “The 4-Hour Workweek” author Tim Ferriss, and a date with Bollywood actress Vida Samadzai (Miss Afghanistan 2003).

The gala aims to raise funds for Samasource, a nonprofit social enterprise that creates computer-based work for women, youth and refugees living in developing countries. Continue reading

September 30, 2009

GoingGreen: Innovations in green tech

closeup
Photo by Salem Kimble

By Salem Kimble
East Bay Green Tours

Earlier this month, amid the picturesque backdrop of the Cavallo Lodge in Sausalito, Calif., a flurry of venture capitalists and industry innovators came together at the GoingGreen Conference from AlwaysOn. There were all manner of industries represented, from cement that absorbs carbon (Novacem) to low frequency wireless technology for long range monitoring (On-Ramp Wireless) to completely architected materials (Nanosys) and everything in between.

In fact, there was so much going on, let’s break down a few of the more intriguing elements.

Smart designs for buildings

Project Frog, a slick and friendly outfit from San Francisco, showed off their super quick building construction from partially pre-fabricated buildings that minimize waste during construction, save 50 percent in energy once built, and go up in an incredible six weeks’ time. Their smart designs take into consideration the building process and include things like designing doors and walls to fit the size that the wall material is when sold. Their flagship installation is at Crissy Field in San Francisco.

Buildings are important, but perhaps more intriguing are the people who are re-engineering the building blocks themselves, as Novacem has done. They have an alternative to Portland cement (standard material used in the majority of construction) that has a lighter carbon footprint at the outset and over the long term. Says Novacem’s Stewart Evans, “The big win is that Novacem has the potential to not only remove the 5 percent [of carbon] from creation [of the cement] but to take out 4 percent of carbon [from the atmosphere] over time.” Continue reading

April 9, 2009

Samasource enables socially responsible outsourcing


Samasource from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaLeila Chirayath, founder and CEO of Samasource, has been popping up at nonprofit events everywhere lately. Samasource is a nonprofit organization in Silicon Valley that connects small and mid-size businesses with individuals and firms in the developing world that can perform outsourcing work (such as data entry) in a socially responsible way.

They now have pilot programs in Kenya, Nepal and rural India, and their goal, as their website says, is “to catalyze sustainable economic development and poverty alleviation by creating a thriving, active market for socially responsible outsourcing to developing regions.”

The 4-minute interview was conducted on a very windy day at the 2008 Craigslist Nonprofit Bootcamp in San Mateo, Calif. (though I do need to get a fabric microphone cover). I caught up with Leila a few minutes before her jam-packed talk. As Leila says, there’s a lot of misinformation in the media about outsourcing, and Samasource can help you sort through the best options.

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