Spotlight: Rob Lalka

Rob long

What drives you?

My faith, which teaches me to work on behalf of the common good.

How do you define social entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship is problem solving; social entrepreneurship is solving problems that matter most to society.

Biggest SocEnt trend you have seen in the last 5 years?

“The recognition by mainstream investors (Morgan Stanley Investing with Impact Initiative, BlackRock Impact, Goldman Sachs’ Impact Capital) that there is an opportunity  to invest in social business while gaining gaining returns. Some major players globally think that social entrepreneurship is something worth paying attention to. Younger generations switch their money from philanthropy to social entrepreneurship.

Background

In the New Orleans community: Rob Lalka is a partner at Medora Ventures and Director of Strategy and Partnerships at Propeller, a startup incubator in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he oversees all of Propeller’s partnership development, strategic initiatives, and external relations. He is also a lecturer at Loyola University, where he teaches an MBA course on venture capital and another on the use of NASA intellectual property in commercial applications.

In philanthropy and impact investing: Lalka previously worked at Village Capital, where he led partnership development for the firm and supported the creation of a $13.2 million globally diversified investment vehicle, which is backed by a $2.6 million partnership with USAID.  He has also been a senior advisor at the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, where he coordinated their philanthropic-private partnerships and designed a demand-based approach for smallholder farmers in Africa to purchase conservation-based equipment and cropping systems.    

In global affairs and international development:  Lalka helped to create the Secretary of State’s Office of Global Partnerships, as one of two civil servants and the first Presidential Management Fellow in that office. From 2009 to 2012, the office leveraged $829 million in public and private resources for diplomacy and development, working with over 1,600 partners from around the world. During the 2011 Arab revolutions, Lalka led the U.S. Government’s efforts on the Secretary’s flagship alliance to promote entrepreneurship across the Middle East and North Africa. Coordinated efforts across 12 U.S. Embassies, 15 Executive Branch agencies, and 180 new partnerships, which created 20,000 new jobs and trained 40,000 youth.

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