By John Geddes - Friday, February 15, 2013 - 0 Comments
For a decade now the Ottawa-based group Digital Opportunity Trust has been sending interns trained in technology and business into very poor places to try to pass on their skills to locals struggling to make a better living. It’s a version of the development model called “social entrepreneurship,” and today, DOT’s founder and CEO, Janet Longmore, won a major award in the field—the sole Canadian among 24 global “social entrepreneurs of the year” named by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.
That’s Schwab as in Klaus Schwab, better known as the founder of the World Economic Forum, best known, in turn, for its annual Davos, Switzerland confab of global leaders. Schwab’s foundation is a prime promoter of businesslike ways of fighting poverty. So winning the Schwab award, beyond being a nice accolade, links Longmore’s goup to an influential network. She spoke with Maclean’s about what it means, what DOT does, and the state of Canadian social entrepreneurship.
Q: What does this award do for DOT?
A: It allows us to engage with the leaders and stakeholders who are part of the World Economic Forum and the Schwab Social Entrepreneurship Foundation. We’re at a point in our model where it’s ready to scale. We want to have conversations with leaders in government and private institutions. They are looking for different way to solve the social problems they are facing in their countries and communities.