MIT's social entrepreneurs

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The MIT Entrepreneurship Competition, recognizing the best business plans to come from the MIT community, added a Development category for 2006. Last month the prolific social entrepreneur Illac Diaz and his company CentroMigrante won $30,000 in start-up money, besting an impressive group of semi-finalists.

CentroMigrante combines developmental architecture with a self-help business model to offer a sustainable solution that provides clean, safe and affordable urban housing for impoverished, transient job seekers in developing countries. In the Philippines, for example, as many as one million Filipinos a year spend up to 7 months away from their home while looking for jobs as seafarers, most of them living in shanties under depressed and undignified living conditions.

The Development Prize runners-up won $10,000 each:

  • Kalpataru, which seeks to improve microfinance in India by bundling microfinance software and peripherals onto the MIT $100 Laptop.
  • One World Medical Devices, whose Vaccine Pac is designed to diminish the vaccine wastage that frequently follows improper temperature control.

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