Steven Stavrou MBA’14 remembers the primary networking occasion his group put collectively. About 20 to 30 folks confirmed up for what was hoped to be a pleasant and informal occasion, however attendees merely stood round, clutching their drinks, not speaking or interacting. It was awkward.

“We had no agenda in place. We weren’t certain what to anticipate,” Stavrou says. “Individuals confirmed up and didn’t know what to do. They weren’t mingling.”

What made the occasion notably difficult was its location: the Buffer Zone on the divided island of Cyprus. Situated within the Mediterranean Sea, on the crossroads of three continents, Cyprus is a wonderful place, with seashores, mountains, and sometimes sunny days which have turned it into a well-liked vacationer vacation spot.

However, Cyprus is also an island actually break up in two, between a Turkish Cypriot group within the north and a Greek Cypriot group within the south. That division has lasted a long time, and after a failed Greek army coup after which subsequent Turkish army intervention in 1974, a bodily, 112-mile-long demilitarized Buffer Zone was created between the 2 sides. Patrolled by United Nations peacekeeping forces and marked by barbed wire, that zone even cuts by means of the capital metropolis of Nicosia, making it the final divided capital in Europe.


READ MORE: Why Entrepreneurial Management Issues


Turkish and Greek Cypriots not often work together on the island. “It’s a sophisticated place,” Stavrou says. “There’s nonetheless far too usually a their-side, our-side, mentality.” With robust household ties to Cyprus (his father was born there), Stavrou wished to discover a strategy to bridge the gap between the 2 divided communities.

That’s why he co-founded CyprusInno, a company working to construct group and belief on Cyprus by means of enterprise and entrepreneurship. Launched in 2016, CyprusInno retains a database of island startups, holds inclusive occasions and packages, and runs a collaboration and co-working area. By means of CyprusInno’s efforts, a lot of companies on both aspect of the island now companion on initiatives. “We had this sense that entrepreneurship could be an amazing peace-building mechanism,” Stavrou says. “Entrepreneurs worth productiveness and progress over any ideological distinction.”

The work of peace is actually not simple, however CyprusInno is bringing folks nearer collectively. At that first networking occasion, the Turkish and Greek Cypriots stood aside, not able to cross the nice divide that had been constructed up between their two communities. Finally, the CyprusInno group invited attendees to get in a circle and introduce themselves. “The temper modified,” Stavrou says. “Individuals have been engaged on related issues on both aspect and realized they might collaborate.”

The Problem: Bettering Recycling

Babson Faculty graduates corresponding to Stavrou are drawback solvers, and they’re unafraid of taking up a few of the complicated challenges that the world faces in the present day. As entrepreneurial leaders, they’re well-equipped to assist resolve these intractable points, because of the relationships they foster and their skill to navigate complexity and uncertainty.

Stavrou attempting to convey peace to a divided island is one instance of entrepreneurial management in motion. Babson has helped produce many others. Think about Ravish Majithia MBA’18 and his efforts to vary the recycling course of and thus tackle the huge waste and damaging environmental affect of plastic.

Headshot of Ravish Majithia MBA’18
Ravish Majithia MBA’18, co-founder and CEO of Magnomer

Majithia is the co-founder and CEO of Magnomer, a Framingham, Massachusetts, firm that has its sights set on the ever-present plastic bottle. In accordance with Magnomer, solely 6% of plastic bottles are literally recycled into extra plastic bottles. The remaining both find yourself in a landfill, or, in the event that they do discover their strategy to a recycling facility, are so contaminated that they’re recycled right into a decrease high quality plastic, appropriate for constructing supplies however not plastic bottles once more.

For each used plastic bottle not discovering one other life stuffed with juice or soda as soon as extra, which means a brand new plastic bottle must be created from scratch. “We don’t wish to maintain making new plastic,” says Majithia, who has a PhD in supplies science and engineering and is an skilled researcher. “That could be a huge objective, however that’s the place we wish to be.”

An enormous cause recycled plastic can turn out to be contaminated, Majithia says, is the labels on bottles, which might’t be simply eliminated in the course of the recycling course of. “Why can’t we design packaging to be extra sortable? I actually thought this was a giant alternative,” Majithia says. “To have bottle-to-bottle recycling, eliminating labels is crucial.”

To handle this drawback, Magnomer created a clear magnetic ink that may be added to labels of plastic bottles. Then, when these bottles are lower up for recycling at a facility, magnetic separators, already generally in use, can type these labels out of the plastic. This enables for higher grade plastic to be recycled.

“We don’t wish to maintain making new plastic.”
Ravish Majithia MBA’18, Magnomer

Majithia admits to being a bit naïve when he began Magnomer. Its ink appeared like a powerful concept for an business searching for to be extra sustainable, and so he leaped into launching a enterprise even when he didn’t fairly perceive how complicated a problem he was up towards. “I assumed this might be simple,” he says. “Why wouldn’t somebody wish to do that?”

To ensure that the inks to be extensively adopted, although, Magnomer has to work with two distinct constituencies: beverage corporations and recycling amenities. Moreover, whereas beverage corporations have been open to attempting Magnomer’s magnetic inks, they didn’t wish to have to vary any of their very own designs or packaging. That’s why Magnomer spent 18 months in analysis and growth to verify its ink is clear, permitting the inks to be added to labels with none design adjustments.

A number of corporations, together with PepsiCo, are actually testing out the magnetic ink, and recycling vegetation are trying out how properly the ink helps with sorting. “We’re not asking manufacturers to vary the best way they do enterprise,” Majithia says. “That’s arguably our largest worth proposition.”

Melissa Rancourt stands in front of an auditorium of girls
Melissa Rancourt MBA’01, founder and board president of Greenlight for Ladies, addresses a gaggle of women at one of many group’s occasions.

The Problem: Bringing Equality to Science

Taking up complicated points usually includes counting on communities and relationships for assist.

Tapping into the ability of relationships to mentor and encourage folks is a giant a part of what Melissa Rancourt MBA’01 does with Greenlight for Ladies. She is the board president and founding father of the Brussels-based group, which seeks to encourage women to take programs and pursue careers within the STEM fields (science, know-how, engineering, and math).

Too usually, Rancourt says, women steer away from these male-dominated fields, feeling a refined push from a bunch of sources—friends, lecturers, media, employers, and society at giant—that math and science aren’t meant for them. That notion is so pervasive that it may be onerous to counteract. “They don’t see others like themselves in these fields,” says Rancourt, a serial entrepreneur who owns her personal engineering agency. “They don’t really feel included. It’s about that feeling of belonging.”

A girl conducts a science experiment
Greenlight for Ladies encourages women to take programs and pursue careers in STEM fields.

Identical to boys, women should pursue the alternatives that STEM gives, and people fields want them and their views. “We want a range and variety of thought and approaches,” Rancourt says. Apart from, contemplating how important STEM is to so many industries, the extra individuals who pursue these fields the higher. “We’re relying increasingly on these vocations that require these talent units,” Rancourt says. “I consider these topics are the keys to creating something attainable. To be able to resolve all of the challenges round us, we want extra folks in these fields.”

Greenlight for Ladies holds quite a lot of occasions, each digital and in-person. “We’re exhibiting these topics in enjoyable, thrilling, hands-on methods,” Rancourt says. “We’re inspiring curiosity and studying.” The group’s largest occasion might need as many as 200 to 300 women attending. All are given lab coats, which they personalize with inspirational messages and learnings, they usually take part in a day of workshops and design challenges.

“We’re inspiring curiosity and studying.”
Melissa Rancourt MBA’01, Greenlight for Ladies

Such an occasion might have some 100 volunteer function fashions readily available. Working for giant corporations and NGOs, faculties and museums, the volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and share their tales with the ladies. “One individual having a dialog with somebody may encourage them to enter the sector,” Rancourt says.

Since its founding in 2009, Greenlight for Ladies has labored with 8,500 volunteers and held occasions in 34 nations, reaching some 58,000 kids. “There’s a urgent want to do that, whether or not we’re speaking about Silicon Valley or a rural group throughout the globe,” Rancourt says. The group additionally provides on-line instruments and a fellowship program offering mentorship and faculty tuition help to ladies in want.

In no matter nation an occasion is held, the group at all times closes it by having everybody in attendance say of their native language: “Something is feasible.”

The Problem: Rising Monetary Literacy

Nitiya Walker ’14 understands the ability of group. Rising up, she was raised in Clinton Hill and Bedford-Stuyvesant, two neighborhoods with giant Black communities in Brooklyn, New York.

She relished the spirit of these neighborhoods, of how folks tried to take care of one another. The mantra “carry as we climb, and depart nobody behind” described the accountability that individuals felt towards each other, she says.

Nitiya Walker speaks at a Babson event
Nitiya Walker ’14, founder and govt director of Seeds of Fortune, a nonprofit that teaches younger girls of colour monetary literacy.

After graduating from Babson, Walker returned to Brooklyn and in the present day as soon as once more lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant. “It made sense to return again house,” she says, and Walker continues to hold that group spirit, of neighbors caring for neighbors, ahead along with her.

Walker is the founder and govt director of Seeds of Fortune, a nonprofit that teaches younger girls of colour monetary literacy and helps them to use for faculty scholarships. She launched Seeds of Fortune her senior yr at Babson, and since then, individuals have been provided greater than $15 million in scholarships and grants.

Walker strives to empower others by means of monetary information, which might have a wide-ranging affect. “For minority households, monetary training is crucial for his or her monetary safety,” she says.

At Babson, Walker noticed how monetary information was commonplace amongst her classmates. College students reside and respiration enterprise of their programs, after all, however many are also rising up in households who’re financially astute. They find out about investing, constructing credit score, shopping for properties, and paying for faculty. “I noticed how data was handed from one era to a different era,” she says.

For folks of colour, nonetheless, Walker has seen how this data is just not at all times extensively recognized. They could wish to construct higher credit score or purchase a house, she says, however they could not perceive learn how to get there. That lack of understanding can hamper their future alternatives, particularly contemplating the systemic racism they already face. “How can we have now an equitable future when there may be such a niche in monetary information?” Walker says. “It could actually assist stage the taking part in discipline to know learn how to handle your cash.”

“It could actually assist stage the taking part in discipline to know learn how to handle your cash.”
Nitiya Walker ’14, Seeds of Fortune

In its 10-month program, Seeds of Fortune takes women by means of the faculty utility and monetary support course of. Due to a partnership with Yale Ladies in Economics, additionally they obtain mentorship from Yale undergraduates whereas finishing tasks centered on economics.

In extra choices, Seeds of Fortune gives on-line assets about faculty affordability, in addition to an initiative specializing in the skilled and monetary growth of school college students.

By serving to to financially empower younger folks, Walker has a front-row seat as they develop, guiding them as they enter faculty, discover jobs, and begin out on their lives. “It’s fairly gratifying,” Walker says. “The ladies are taking possession of their very own future.”

CyprusInno co-founders sit outside The Base on Cyrpus
Steven Stravou MBA’14 (left) sits with co-founder Burak Doluay outdoors The Base within the Buffer Zone.

The Problem: Constructing Peace

Again on Cyprus, Steven Stavrou hopes to make use of enterprise relationships to construct belief on the island. “Enterprise relationships are closely based mostly on belief,” he says. “If we are able to construct belief by means of enterprise, that may construct belief in our underlying communities.”

A group of people smile and pose for a photo
A gaggle of entrepreneurs collaborate at The Base, CyprusInno’s co-working and innovation area.

Whereas the last word objective is to assist forge peace on Cyprus, CyprusInno doesn’t drive that message into its programming. The group provides initiatives with the intention of bringing folks collectively as a primary step, within the hope that goodwill and collaborations observe. They usually do. Enterprise folks from either side of the island have teamed as much as promote quite a lot of merchandise, from olive oil to whiskey to tour packages.

“We don’t drive the peace angle on anybody,” Stavrou says. “Our numbers opened up after we didn’t emphasize peace constructing. The peace constructing occurs naturally. Collaborations occur naturally.”

A powerful instance of collaboration on the island is CyprusInno itself. Stavrou co-founded the group with a Turkish Cypriot named Burak Doluay. They first linked on-line, and Stavrou admits that Doluay was the primary Turkish Cypriot he had ever met. The pair now hope to offer a mannequin for different divided locations, they usually just lately met with others doing peace constructing work in Israel and Palestine. Stavrou is also a part of Obama Basis Leaders Europe, a six-month program that seeks to encourage, empower, and join rising leaders from throughout Europe.

“It’s superb what we are able to accomplish collectively.”
Steven Stavrou MBA’14, CyprusInno

On Cyprus, the bodily manifestation of CyprusInno’s work is The Base, a co-working and innovation area situated contained in the island’s Buffer Zone. To stroll round Cyprus’ capital is to be in a spot divided by partitions, sandbags, and barrels, the place U.N. troopers and vehicles are a standard sight and passing by means of checkpoints is the one strategy to go from one aspect to the opposite.

That sense of division lifts inside The Base, which buzzes with conferences and occasions and is open each day. “We’re surrounded by barbed wire. You then stroll into an innovation area,” Stavrou says. “Individuals’s faces change after they stroll inside.”

To see Greek and Turkish Cypriots working collectively in The Base is to think about what a united Cyrus may appear like. “It’s superb what we are able to accomplish collectively,” Stavrou says.

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