Matt McKenna, a founder of Georgetown University’s Rural Opportunity Initiative and Executive in Residence, shared with Agri-Pulse to why rural areas need more, not less government funding. ROI aims to serve rural American communities by driving financially and socially-sustainable rural development. It has been well-established that rural businesses lag behind their urban counterparts in terms of venture and early growth capital investment, and accessing debt and operating capital. “You can’t expect people to move where the opportunities are, you have to bring the opportunities to the people,” says McKenna.

At the same time, private investors are eager to identify and support rural growth opportunities, but most are not aware of what is available, and often the deals are misaligned with traditional investment models. The investor experience in U.S. rural communities in some ways mirrors that of impact investors in search of deals overseas in developing regions, where the amount of capital is more robust than the pipeline of deals, and a mismatch exists between the levels and kinds of returns investors seek, and what small and growing businesses can offer. 

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Many MBA programs across the nation have noticed a steep rise in social impact interest and continue to respond to the growing interest in social innovation. Stanford Graduate School of Business reports more than 90% of the 488 Stanford GSB MBA and specialty business master’s students took a course related to social innovation or social impact.

At Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, Business for Impact believes solving our world’s most complex challenges requires collaboration across sectors – public, private, and nonprofit. Business must be at the table in order to succeed. The initiative creates partnerships with business, government, and non-profit leaders to co-create solutions and drive positive impact.

With more than 100 current Business for Impact student leaders, Georgetown students have access to additional course electives and hands-on experience working with external partners in the field.

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The Global Social Enterprise Initiative (GSEI), founded in 2011 by Bill Novelli at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, is now Business for Impact. Our dedication to solving the world’s most pressing issues through delivering world-class education, impactful student experience, and direct action with global companies, nonprofits, and government leaders remains at the center of our work. We look forward to continue teaching and working with students and companies to manage the triple bottom line – people, planet, and profit.

Photo of farm with rolling hills in background.

For over a decade the Niger Delta Partnership Initiative (NDPI) has supported communities throughout the Niger Delta in Nigeria by empowering them to create and sustain jobs, end conflicts, and build a better future. NDPI focuses less on giving direct grants and more on helping individuals access information, establish key relationships, and enhance their capacity to create change for themselves. NDPI is an independent nonprofit established by Chevron Corporation.

NDPI is based in the United States and works closely with its local, Nigerian-led partner, the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND). Together these organizations are dedicated to fostering peace, economic development, and advocacy/transparency in the region, while recognizing that each of these goals reinforces the other and creates a cycle that leads to stability and growth.

Business for Impact, part of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University is working with NDPI to write and publish a case study identifying key lessons learned to-date and recommendations going forward to leverage the NDPI experience for further progress. In fall 2019, Business for Impact and NDPI will unveil the case study and share research findings at a public convening of cross-sector global development leaders at Georgetown University. The goal of the project is to develop new knowledge that can help NDPI and other leaders from corporate, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and government organizations to seek to improve their global development impact through public-private partnerships. The project has two main objectives:

  1. Research and Write a Case Study: The case study will look at its partners’ key activities over the past 10 years in the Niger Delta region, focusing on what has worked, what has not, and what approaches might be developed in the future to achieve greater impact.
  2. Produce Recommendations: These insights will include best practices and lessons learned that can be applied by NDPI, its partners, and other corporate, NGO, and government leaders seeking to employ public-private partnerships to create better futures for people living in emerging regions.

A case writer has been assigned to this project and will create a 20-30 page case study, which will include the following elements:

  • Documentation and description of NDPI and its NGO, government, and corporate partners’ key activities and approaches with a focus on the working relationships between local, national, and international partners
  • Analysis of the positive, neutral and negative aspects of these partnership approaches; and
  • Synthesis of patterns to inform the development of key findings, lessons learned, and recommendations for NDPI and its partners for future forward progress.

For more information, please contact Project Director Gael O’Sullivan at

Georgetown McDonough received high marks across the board in a new analysis of recruiter responses (new window) to the annual Bloomberg Businessweek MBA employer survey, scoring first in the world for having the best-trained graduates in addition to being listed in the top seven of all six categories.

“Georgetown McDonough’s alumni continue to raise the reputation of our MBA programs among employers as they arrive on day one prepared to make an impact,” said Prashant Malaviya, senior associate dean of MBA programs. “A key component of the Georgetown MBA is finding ways to integrate the changing needs of employers into the curriculum, from analytics and big data to the rise of fintech. Our students are ready to be leaders and problem-solvers in an ever-changing world.”

Read more here.

The New York Review of Books

In this provocative piece in THE NEW YORK REVIEW BOOKS, “The Path of Greatest Resistance,” author David Cole makes a compelling case for why social media help spark movements in a flash, but digital networks might stall long-term change more than foster it. He reviews Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest by Zeynep Tufekci along with Leslie Crutchfield’s new book, How Change Happens: Why Some Social Movements Succeed While Others Don’t, and shows how social media has helped new progressive movements flare up – MeToo, Parkland Students’ March for our Lives and the Women’s March – but protests these days can be ephemeral. READ MORE (new window)

Reed Smith, an international law firm, has become a member of the Student Leader Advisory Council of the Business for Impact at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. The council works with Business for Impact leadership to drive growth and impact of the Student Leader Program. Roles and responsibilities of council members include serving as mentors to the student leaders, providing seed funding for student-led projects, and speaking at sponsored networking and leadership development events.

Business for Impact partners with companies, nonprofits, and government agencies – and across sectors – to create lasting social, economic, and environmental impact.

Student engagement is central to the organization, with more than 75 student leaders from across the university who are involved in partner research, strategic planning, internships, case studies, and other activities.

“We are pleased to be part of this important program,” said Sandy Thomas, global managing partner, Reed Smith. “Our firm’s emphasis on corporate responsibility, community service, and pro bono work will enable us to provide great experiences for the participating Student Leaders.”

Business for Impact Student Leaders’ work with Reed Smith initially will focus on social impact finance, the U.S. opioid epidemic, and the international refugee crisis.

“We are excited to have Reed Smith on our council,” said Joe Weinstein, Business for Impact senior partner and co-director of the Student Leader program. “They will provide strategic counsel and will be great mentors for our students.”

About Reed Smith: Reed Smith is an international law firm dedicated to helping clients move their business forward. We enrich our client’s experiences with us and support them in achieving their business goals. Our longstanding relationships, international outlook and collaborative structure lead to the speedy resolution of complex disputes, transactions and regulatory matters. For further information, visit (new window).

About Business for Impact: Based at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, Business for Impact enables current and future Georgetown-educated leaders to drive social, environmental, and economic impact across the globe.