Building Future Leaders

If you educate a boy, you educate an individual.
But if you educate a girl, you educate a community.

African Proverb – used as the motto for CAI

I love when inspiring works are sent my way. Thanks Uncle Jed! This particular program is run by the Central Asia Institute called Pennies for Peace.

“Pennies for Peace educates children about the world beyond their experience and shows them that they can make a positive impact on a global scale, one penny at a time.

Our best hope for a peaceful and prosperous world lies in the education of all the world’s children. Through cross-cultural understanding and a solution-oriented approach, Pennies for Peace encourages children, ultimately our future leaders, to be active participants in the creation of global peace.”

I particularly like the focus of cross-cultural understanding and engaging them early. These grass roots efforts can have global impact in an amazing and powerful way. Thank you Greg Mortenson for your vision.

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Global Trends for Small Businesses for 2009

This is a great article by Laura Delaney on the top 10 Global Trends for Small Business for 2009. Although it is focused on the US looking outward, most of the rest of 10 apply globally. The .mobi may not be the platform, but I do believe mobile technology will be the connection between the developing and developed markets. I hope that we are not reduced to Twitters, but I have been wrong before.

1. Disruptive innovation will be both the coolest and hottest new growth strategy in 2009 because it will transcend all boundaries and transform businesses.
2. dotMobi will take global root in 2009.
3. Diverse global business partnerships will shine and outperform those businesses that don’t make these critical alliances.
4. Exporting (from the USA) will prevail in the first quarter of ‘09 and might start to strengthen later in the year.
5. Twitter will replace the “call me” statement with “Twitter me” due to technology, convenience and time constraints.
6. Entrepreneurs and small businesses will learn, if they haven’t already, everything there is to know about how to take a business global.
7. Optimism will fuel global small businesses that have the guts to press on, even in the face of insurmountable obstacles.
8. Women entrepreneurs will rule the global marketplace.
Women are already starting businesses at twice the rate of men and their efforts to expand a business internationally will be a force to reckon with in the coming years due to social entrepreneurship, social media and social networking platforms that make it so much easier to do good things collaboratively – which women are naturals at – while growing a business global.

9. Trusted crowds will become profitable clouds.
10. Green and global are a marriage made in heaven because everyone wants to save the world.
Top 10 Global Trends for Small Businesses for 2009 from Laura Delaney of GlobeTrade

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Entrepreneurs will lead Economic Recovery

An inspiring report from the Asian Development Bank “Entrepreneurship and e-Business Development for Women” on the impact of women entrepreneurs on the global economy. Watch out here they come.

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Return on Investment in Social Media

We all seem to be trying to find the magic answer to the question about the return on investment (ROI) in Social Media. We must view it from both the user and the provider, and yet those lines are becoming more unclear. From the perspective of the user the cost of participation is determined by the value of our time and the return is dependent on our needs as a participant. What is it worth to you to build your network and brand? As entrepreneurs, we are our brand, so what is that worth? As recruiters, employers and potential employees what is the value of building a trusted network of references? As content providers or advertisers how do we measure the impact of recommendations when the end consumer may be simply browsing content but leaving no interactions themselves? These considerations defy the system of how we calculate ROI from revenue models.

The social investment can be greater or smaller at different times in our lives. We therefore struggle to find a tangible value to attach to this interaction. We participate more when we are in “need” of something. That need might be based on a investment and return when calculating ROI. In the current economic situation we see escalating participation in social media as the needs are high. Individuals need to connect to others both familiar for comfort in the known and unfamiliar for the potential for change. Small businesses require maximization of their minimal capital for marketing niche products and services via tools through contextual advertising on social media. Consultants must build their personal brand to compete with the growing pool of resources released by downsizing organizations. Globalization opens the world to new products and services and new markets that previously were not considered. Entrepreneurs in the developing world are now able to compete on a more level playing field and opens opportunities for new partnerships and cooperation.

This is not to say that there is no return on investment capital from social media participation on either the business or individual’s perspective. But rather, it is critical to use a more extensive equation to calculate the true return on investment in social media. For the social calculation we need to consider: time invested (hourly rate), value of satisfying the “needs” (comparison of cost for alternate methods for supplying that needs), effectiveness, reach, actual cost of investment, and satisfaction with results. Only then will we have an accurate calculation.

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The Right Attitude

This is a beautiful depiction of the right attitude to make change happen. Entrepreneurial women are the core for change. We need to support them near and far. Thank you Gloria Uwizera for your “Why now” and “Can do” attitude. Keep it up and keep it spreading.

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Twittered Out

Given my current research on the efficient use of social media as both a personal and professional tool, I spend far too much time monitoring and using social media tools. I am increasingly bothered by Twitter-like messages. I certainly believe that less is more, but is it really necessary to tell everyone you are waiting in a cue for ice cream? I must admit, I have been known to enter tidbits on my Facebook wall presenting the ”me” beyond my professional self. We are, after all multi-dimensional beings. But without turning all notifications off (which the average social media user never bothers to learn how to do) we are getting flooded with menial messages. Even though they are well meant, they borderline spam (albeit from a pre-approved source).

I am all for aggregating media and making things freely accessible. But we do need ways to simplify the filtering process and monitor our own behavior for efficiency. The Internet has been an endless source of information for the curious. Now we personify that beyond research. We learn more about our friends, our peers and our community. But do we get what we need or want? We need to feel connected. We want to be entertained and informed. Yet, when we lose ourselves in the curiosity factor, do we lose our piece of mind (or five minutes peace) with all the Twitter going on around us? It remains to be seen. But personally, I am learning to find my piece and my peace with more effective use of the Internet so that I can be off-line more.

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