From the Web: Renewable Energy Can Improve Lives Of Agri-Food Chain Poor

A new study by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) describes the role renewable energy can have in elevating the livelihoods of the millions of rural poor, specifically in terms of the impact it can have on the billions of people employed in the agri-food chain.  In the study, the agency uses data from the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), a SEMBA Advisory Board member.

SELF has pioneered the use of solar power for a wide range of applications including household lighting, water pumping, school electrification, drip irrigation and wireless Internet access.

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Off-grid renewables can support productive activity at all stages of the agri-food chain, from irrigation to support food production, through post-harvest processes, including agro-processing and food preservation for storage and transport. Modern renewable technologies also allow sustainable food preparation and cooking.

Challenging Business to Connect to Sustainable Development Goals

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was previously published on Impakter.com. It was written by Jason Wiff, a member of the SEMBA Class of 2017

global-goalsWith the introduction of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, we are faced with the challenge of implementing these goals into the way we live, impact communities and use business as a catalyst for change. Stuart Hart, one of the world’s leading experts of sustainable enterprise explains his framework for making these changes a reality. This interview has been edited for clarity. Highlights of our conversation are below.

What is your definition of business sustainability?

Stuart Hart: There can be sustainability at many levels. Business sustainability provides functionality that make[s] people’s lives better in ways that are inherently cleaner or regenerative. You’re able to serve and uplift many people in the world, not just a few. Business sustainability has two components: environmental sustainability, social sustainability and financially to propel business forward.

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Innovation: Top 10 Lessons from John Abele

This story was written by Lauren Hesterman, SEMBA ’17. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: SEMBA regularly brings in business icons, executives, and entrepreneurs for hands-on, face-to-face workshops on issues ranging from sustainability to organizational leadership. In mid-October, John Abele, co-founder of the pioneering medical device company Boston Scientific, sat with the SEMBA cohort and talked about innovation and collaboration.

Not surprisingly, I found myself Googling new and exciting ideas no less than a dozen times while listening to John Abele speak to our SEMBA cohort last month. A dozen times – and it most certainly was not because I was distracted or disengaged. Rather, it was quite the opposite.

boston-scientific-us-boston-scientificJohn is one of those people that has inspiration oozing out of him. His relentless curiosity is apparent through and through. He had me searching for a new Irish company that is selling light instead of bulbs, a human anatomy chart, and the economic theories of Elinor Ostrom. Co-founder of Boston Scientific, where scientific innovation and humanitarian collaboration meet, John Abele has been driving innovative medical solutions for more than four decades. While John’s list of tangible accomplishments is enough to fill up a CV many times over, perhaps his greatest asset is his remarkable ability to collaborate.

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Networking With the SEMBA Advisory Board

This article was written by Margaret Arzon, SEMBA ’17. 

To kick-off the autumn SEMBA Advisory Board Meeting, the program’s co-directors and coordinators planned a reception and speed networking event to bring students and advisors together in a formal yet familiar atmosphere. As a SEMBA candidate, one main benefit (among many) is the unique opportunity provided to connect with a variety of seasoned professionals in a range of fields from local, sustainable-energy to impact investing and global healthcare. These prestigious industry leaders have committed to serve on the SEMBA advisory board and invest in its students as well as in the direction and future of the program.

We had the good fortune of getting to know them personally as they welcomed us with enthusiasm at the Advisory Board dinner at Hotel Vermont on October 27, 2016. This intimate event fostered the ideal environment for us to learn more about these industry leaders and their work in sustainable business, as well as the motivators that lead them into their current roles.

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New Recognition for SEMBA: Making An Impact

This post was written by Aditi Datta, SEMBA ’17

“The University of Vermont’s Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA (SEMBA) program in the Grossman School of Business continues to bolster its growing reputation as one of the nation’s most innovative business programs by climbing to the No. 2 spot on the Princeton Review’s ‘Best Green MBA’ list…”

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In just the month of October, SEMBA claimed a total of three major awards, joining the ranks of Yale School of Management and the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business. Of course, awards are a staple of academia, providing an objective evaluation for prospective students comparing programs but do awards actually serve a larger purpose?

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In the Hot Seat with Nick Donowitz: Three Questions with an Entrepreneur

This post was written by Caitlin Goss, SEMBA ’17

Last Friday, SEMBA welcomed our second Entrepreneur in Residence, Nick Donowitz, Chief Operating Officer of THINKmd. We had the opportunity to learn about Nick’s journey and discuss two case studies from his past and current entrepreneurial ventures.

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SEMBA ’17 & Nick Donowitz

Nick began his career working at the Cape Eleuthara Institute – Island School in the Bahamas and then returned to the US for his MBA and Masters in Environmental Management from Duke University. During graduate school summers he worked for Symbioscience, a division of Mars, Inc., on strategic supply chain and water purification projects in Sawesi, Indonesia. After graduating, Nick led the development of Heliae Technology Holdings, an early-stage algae biotechnology company founded by members of the Mars family. Most recently, Nick is driving the growth of the Burlington-based global healthcare company THINKmd. THINKmd has created an innovative platform, Medsinc, that aims to save the lives of children with point-of-care clinical assessment through a mobile application.

Seizing the opportunity to get more insight into this dynamic entrepreneur, we asked Nick three quick questions. Below are edited responses.

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Networking, and Launching A Career, In Sustainable Enterprises

Editor’s Note: SEMBA’s goal is to launch its graduates into a deep and tightly connected network of people and companies dedicated to building sustainable enterprises, and to an ethic of disrupting, innovating, and reinventing business in a world that demands it. As part of this effort, SEMBA gives students a myriad of opportunities to meet, network with, and be mentored by sustainable business leaders and entrepreneurs from around the world, and around the corner. In our first event of the academic year, SEMBA students will be connecting with our Council of Mentors on the evening of October 4, 2016.

In light of that event, Caroline Hauser ’16, offer insight and tips on successful networking — and job hunting — in the world of sustainable business.

As a former recruiter and an experienced job searcher, I know a few things about networking, and building careers — it takes a lot of time, a lot of grit, and a lot of hustle. I don’t have all of the answers, but wanted to offer some tried and true advice to job seekers, in hopes that it helps to get someone at least a bit closer to landing a position in a sustainable enterprise that is fulfilling and exciting. Continue reading “Networking, and Launching A Career, In Sustainable Enterprises”

Michael Russo, Leading Thinker on Sustainable Business, Visits SEMBA

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Chris Howell, SEMBA ’17

This post was written by Chris Howell, a member of the SEMBA Class of 2017.

One of SEMBA’s more impressive elements is the program’s direct connection to so many innovators in the discipline and practice of sustainable entrepreneurship. From our well-connected advisory board to the steady stream of speakers from a range of industries, our network grows by the week.

This week, we had the pleasure of attending a talk and class with Michael Russo, professor of Sustainable Management and head of the Department of Management at University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business.

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Living and Learning the Burlington Way

Caroline Hauser, SEMBA Class of 2016 (Valedictorian), on the benefits of spending a year in one of America’s most livable cities

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Caroline Hauser, SEMBA ’16

“I could not have asked for a better experience living and learning in Burlington while working toward an MBA.”

I moved to Burlington to start the SEMBA program last August. I’d visited the prior April — it snowed twice and the lake was still frozen. It was freezing but I still fell in love with the view of the Adirondacks over Lake Champlain, the energy of Church Street, and the dollar oysters at Hen of the Wood.

Arriving for school at the end of summer, I drove up from Pennsylvania with my parents and as soon as we crossed the border into Vermont it just felt different. Everything looked brighter, cleaner, fresher. To this day, I am in awe of how beautiful it is here. I could not have asked for a better experience living and learning in Burlington while working toward an MBA.

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SEMBA: Hope For A Runaway World

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Paul Laudicina, 2016 SEMBA Inauguration Speaker

On August 12, 2016, Paul Laudicina, partner and chairman emeritus of A.T. Kearney, addressed SEMBA’s 2016 graduating class. In a wide-ranging speech with a broad historical arc, Laudicina made a powerful case for the “SEMBA Movement,” where businesses and business leaders committed to sustainability will leading us through this significant and challenging period of history.

Below are excerpts from that address. The full text of Laudicina’s speech can be read here.


“There is simply too much riding on your shoulders as the next generation of leaders for you to unplug. We desperately need your know-how, vision, passion, courage, and purpose to lead us through these challenging times. You could not be going out into the world to apply what you have learned at a more critical time—in many ways a “best of times, worst of times” interlude in world history.

“We stand at the threshold of the most incredible advances ever—in medicine, in life expectancy, in educational attainment, in extraordinary technological advances. Yet, we also live today in a world more troubled and challenged than at any time in modern history—surely than at any time in my history…people are feeling uneasy, apprehensive, insecure, and unhappy with the present, and fearful of the future.

“You will be challenged to lead in a world more complex and difficult than at any time in the past couple of decades.

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