Giving Compass’ Take:
• Justin Spelhaug, GM of Technology for Social Impact at Microsoft, shares how Microsoft is focusing its energy on two social impact business investments.
• Microsoft is building two mainstream businesses to galvanize social impact through technology. How does technology for good fit into your giving strategy?
• Read about how to build a social impact business.
This is the eighth post in a series of conversations with business leaders from some of the most innovative companies in the world. The conversations were held around the Social Innovation Summit in Los Angeles. At the Summit, entrepreneurs, business people, philanthropists and individuals convened to discuss the present and future of purpose and business. For this interview I spoke with Justin Spelhaug, GM of Technology for Social Impact at Microsoft.
Simon Mainwaring: Justin, what are you most excited about right now in terms of Microsoft’s purpose and impact?
Justin Spelhaug: Well first, there is always a humble realization that we need to find a way to do more. Philanthropy and CSR are important investments that have high social impact. But they need to be complemented with social businesses that have a high impact and a reasonable economic return, that are sustainable and, most importantly, scale. Pick poverty, and look at the hundreds of millions people suffering. We need mechanisms to scale to that challenge. We have a Microsoft philanthropy team and we have a CSR initiatives, but that recognition was the genesis that got us saying, “We need to lean into this social business lever harder.”
Mainwaring: So how is Microsoft developing social businesses?
Spelhaug: We’re building two mainstream social businesses. One is an Airband group that focuses on putting together creative partnerships to solve the broadband divide that we have in rural America. The second is the Technology for Social Impact group. That group focuses on helping nonprofits digitally transform to drive mission-led impact.
Read the full article about social impact business by Simon Mainwaring at Forbes.
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