Renowned social entrepreneur to speak
Dr. Paul Polak, founder of the Colorado-based nonprofit organization International Development Enterprises (IDE), will be the featured speaker for the Ohio Northern University Spotts Lecture in the Freed Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, March 21, at 7 p.m.
His speech, “Design for the Other 90 Percent,” is free and open to the public.
IDE was established to increase the income of those in impoverished countries by country-specific, market-oriented development models. The company makes this initiative possible by improving market access, increasing agricultural production, and creating sustainable local businesses. Over the years, IDE has ended poverty for 17 million of the world’s poorest people.
After handing over IDE to new leadership, Polak started two new organizations. D-Rev (Design Revolution) is a nonprofit development organization with the mission of creating a revolution in design to reach four billion poor people bypassed by the current design process. Windhorse International is a for-profit company established to demonstrate that big business can earn profits by serving bottom billion customers.
For his work in agriculture, Scientific American named Polak one of the world’s leading 50 contributors to science. In 2004, he received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in the social responsibility category. In 2008, he received the Florence Monito Del Giardino award for environmental preservation. More recently, Polak was named one of 27 “Brave Thinkers,” alongside President Barack Obama, Ben Bernanke (chairman of the Federal Reserve), Steve Jobs (Apple and Pixar) and Sheila Blair (FDIC chair), in the November 2009 issue of The Atlantic.
Polak also is the author of “Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail,” which aims to offer practical solutions to global poverty.
The Spotts Lecture series was established by the T.J. Smull College of Engineering in 1986 to bring distinguished speakers to the ONU campus on an annual basis to inform students of the probable professional conditions and challenges that engineers and computer scientists will face in the future.