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Preparing Young Leaders for an Economy of Profit and Purpose

  |   Staff

Business professionals aren’t always thought of as the good guys. Too many headlines about ponzi-schemers, labor abusers, and predatory lenders have created a negative image.

 

Recently, a well-meaning woman who I met at a networking event told me that she moved away from her house near an elite business school, because she “couldn’t stand being surrounded by greedy, corporate people all the time.” (The conversation took an uncomfortable turn when I told her what I do for a living.)

 

Her comment got me thinking about about the stereotype that business schools promote greed and immorality — and how TAMID Group’s story proves it wrong.

 

In one of the most optimistic trends of our time, the global economy is evolving to produce a marriage of business and social good.

 

It’s happening everywhere. Assets held by socially responsible investment funds grew 76 percent between 2012 to 2014, from $3.74 trillion to $6.57 trillion. Double– and triple-bottom line companies that measure success in terms of financial, social, and environmental performance are disrupting industries. Major corporations are cutting their carbon footprints, including a recent $140 billion commitment from 13 of the largest American corporations. I could go on.

 

The changes are certainly driven by demand from conscientious consumers and investors, but they are nonetheless being executed by a new generation of business leaders who embody an altruistic ethic. Indeed, a Deloitte study shows that millennial professionals are far more likely to stay at a job where they feel a sense of purpose and making “a difference in people’s lives.”

 

TAMID is the perfect launchpad for the cause-driven entrepreneurs and executives of tomorrow. Our program develops not only business skills, but also a passion for the philanthropic mission of growing TAMID itself. Members may initially join TAMID for superficial reasons, but hundreds of on-campus leaders dedicate countless hours because they care about our cause.

 

Perhaps most important of all, TAMID teaches business through the prism of a country that embraces socially responsible commerce  more than any other. At the intersection of capitalism and cause, Israel’s economy is the green light.

 

Israeli culture values entrepreneurs who solve big problems. This blog could easily publish top-100 lists of Israeli products that save lives or protect the environment. The “startup nation” is a leader in commercializing technology that recycles water, fights disease, helps the disabled, and enables first-responders.

 

TAMID students are spending their formative years interacting with and investing in these companies, and the ethic rubs off on them. To name a few of the Israeli companies that our students work with:

 

GreenSoil Investments, a venture capital firm that invests in environmentally sustainable companies.

 

MobileODT, a startup that provides low-cost cancer screening technology in developing countries.

 

Prepex, an organization whose circumcision device fights the spread of AIDS.

 

PharmPool, a startup that helps patients manage their drugs.

 

In the 21st century economy, companies need to focus on the overlap of purpose and profit. It’s not just good for the world; it’s good for business too. As CEOs ask themselves how to compete in a marketplace that values social responsibility, they ought to turn to Israel for answers. As for TAMID alumni? They already know all about it.

 

By: Nathan Gilson, Assistant Director