Nov 14, 2017 Elsa Snellman
Leila is one of the Slush 2017 speakers and I had a chance to have a chat with her beforehand. Here’s our conversation with Leila on the importance of prioritizing work, not aid, and about the Internet being a human right.
I think Internet access in 2017 should be a human right. Internet access, electricity, being on the power grid – it is completely possible for governments to provide that to people. We have had to close our Samaschool program (which trains low-income people in the US to benefit from the gig economy) in rural Arkansas because of the lack of Internet access.
The most powerful thing a company can do instead of giving a handout is to give work. We currently don’t have incentives to spend more on social enterprises, which would be much better for immediate poverty eradication. The global 2,000 companies annually spend 12 trillion dollars on goods and services. Even 1 percent of that spent on social enterprises would lift millions out of poverty – imagine! The fair trade coffee providers, local food services, so many different options for people to work out how to hire low-income people. We really need a structure to incentive these behaviors in doing business.
Absolutely. First world feminism is a major problem. There is rampant sexism in Silicon Valley. It is all problematic because of the strong disparity: access to capital is locked up, and very few female partners represent those firms. There’s an imbalance of power which often leads to a very ripe environment for abuse. It is the same thing as in Hollywood. In any scenario, if there’s someone who holds all the power and there are no checks and balances, it will corrupt human nature.
Even if we reach minorities in our own backyard in San Francisco, there is still more to do. We need to include those in the world who make less than 3 dollars a day. It is unfortunate we don’t really think about those women when we think about our own concept of feminism. We are directly tied to those women.
It is hard enough to raise money as a woman in Silicon Valley, even with a reputation of making things profitable. On top of that, running a social enterprise is even harder. This is what I have struggled with so much. It was really hard in the beginning; it took three years to raise the money. Most of my early failures, having to put myself in pretty dire situations, having multiple jobs to afford to go to school, many of them have been big sacrifices, but I have never quit. It’s a lot easier to let go and go do something else. It is really hard to keep going.
The best success stories are within our workforce. We have created jobs for the chronically unemployed, which has led to a dramatic increase in their quality of life. Going from 2 dollars a day to 8 dollars a day is a big income increase for someone living on a farm in Kenya, or rural India. People invest in things like safer housing, more nutritious foods, continued education, health insurance and other things that benefit their communities. It’s truly transformative.
Kiva, microfinancing company, is a very scalable finance solution. I think the future is going to be about us buying things directly from these people – investing in their businesses and connecting them to global markets.
Brian Halligan, the Founder & CEO of Hubspot opened up the Founder stage on Day 2 by telling us what was the word of the year chosen by Dictionary.com – misinformation. There is a huge trust issue between buyers and sellers, which companies need to react to. This is where customer experience comes in. During […]
Justin Rosenstein, the Co-founder of collaboration tool Asana opened the Pink Stage with the useful hands-on advice on building powerful ideas and ‘growing smart’. He also announced the recent Asana’s $50 million Series E round, which catapulted Asana to $1.5 billion valuation. Justin, known as the creator of the Facebook’s “Like” button shared how through […]
Modern Meadow has been pushing the traditional leather industry to the edge by creating biofabricated materials from growing cells into a new type of material inspired by leather. We had an opportunity to have a chat with Andras Forgacs, the co-founder and CEO of Modern Meadow and get a sneak peek into some topics what he […]
Fumiko Kato, CEO of WAmazing, is one of the speakers of Slush Tokyo 2018. WAmazing provides a free network service for the tourists coming to Japan. Since she founded WAmazing in 2016, the highly qualified system has been evaluated and the application has more than 80,000 downloads. Now, the service is opened only to tourists […]
Obvious Ventures was founded three years ago on a simple belief that the most valuable companies of our time will be the ones solving humanity’s biggest problems. Today, Obvious Ventures has invested in more than 40 world positive companies. I got a chance to hit up with their Founding Partner Vishal Vasishth who co-founded Obvious […]
Funding Circle has one mission: to become the world’s leading small business lending platform. Since 2010, they have channeled more than $5 billion to more than 37,000 small businesses around the world. This has created roughly 100,000 new jobs and produced an investor network of 72,000 individuals, companies and institutions. Behind this is CEO Samir […]
In just two days, the world will descend upon Helsinki. Entrepreneurs, investors, journalists, students, scientists and professionals will come together in Messukeskus, the biggest convention space in Finland, to experience the highly anticipated, full-packed days of Europe’s leading startup event. Who better to prepare us for the action than team captain, CEO Marianne Vikkula? Below, […]
Nokia is heading into the growing VR industry with OZO Live, a software solution that runs on reference hardware and enables the OZO camera to broadcast live VR experiences at scale. Visitors at Slush get to have a glimpse of premium live broadcasting of 3D 360 VR video as well, since selected programs from Black […]
Slush Music is organized on Nov 30–Dec 1 at the Cable Factory and Expo & Convention Centre in Helsinki, Finland. There is only a week left to Slush Music. Get your tickets now! Slush gathered total of 1,700 startups in 2015. This year won’t be any different – except the number went up to 2,200 and […]
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