Social Ventures Highlighted by The New York Times

A Social Solution, Without Going the Nonprofit Route is an article in the March 4th issue of The New York Times that examines social enterprises.  D.light Design (see previous Green VC coverage) and MIA Consulting are ventures highlighted in the article.  The article also examines issues surrounding whether a for-profit or non-profit model is best suited for a venture with a social purpose.  One relevant excerpt:

Experts concede that not all social problems respond well to the for-profit model. One example could be early childhood education. "If you set it up as a business, you might be able to raise money more quickly and grow more quickly," said David Bornstein, the author of "How to Change the World" (Oxford University Press, 2004), an often-cited book on social entrepreneurship. "But if you want to be profitable, you might find that you have to make choices that diminish the quality of your program and then children won’t learn to read as quickly. While Stanley Kaplan can make a fortune selling education to well-heeled people, providing the same services to low-income kids would probably not provide a very good income."

Mr. Bornstein said it came down to one crucial question: "As you grow, will the economics of your business work in favor of your mission or will they work against it? In the case of providing access to solar energy for people in villages, the bigger you get, the cheaper your product will be, so the economies of scale make sense."

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Wind Power Growth Highlighted by The New York Times

Move Over, Oil, There’s Money in Texas Wind is an article in the February 23, 2008 issue of The New York Times that highlights the increasing investment in wind power in Texas and other parts of the United States. The article also includes a chart of state wind power generating capacity and there is a related slide show.

According to data from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the total wind power generating capacity in the U.S. increased by 45% in 2007, with the addition of 5,244 megawatts (MW).  This represented an investment of $9 billion.  At the end of 2007, the total wind power generating capacity in the U.S. was 16,818 MW, with the leading states as follows:

  • Texas – 4,356 MW
  • California – 2,439 MW
  • Minnesota – 1,299 MW
  • Iowa – 1,273 MW
  • Washington – 1,163 MW

According to AWEA, wind power is projected to produce approximately 48 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in 2008, representing slightly more than 1% of the U.S. electricity supply (this is equivalent to the electricity needed for more than 4.5 million homes).

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Solar Technology Innovation in Silicon Valley Highlighted by The New York Times

Silicon Valley Starts to Turn Its Face to the Sun is an article in the February 17, 2008 issue of The New York Times that highlights the increasing interest and activity in Silicon Valley in the solar technology sector.  In addition, the article describes both the positive belief held by some people in Silicon Valley that it can become a leader in a significant new global market (a so-called "Solar Valley") as well as cautionary perspectives expressed by others regarding the long-term sustainability of this sector.

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