2011 Awards Dinner

The awards dinner is the culmination of the annual Springboard Ideas Challenge. At the dinner, Springboard finalists display their products or business plans in a pre-dinner expo; attendees hear lessons from a successful and inspiring entrepreneur; and the Springboard organizers announce the winners of the competition.

Highlights from the 2011 Awards Dinner included our keynote speaker, Jessica Jackley, co-founder of Kiva, the revolutionary microlending website. Kiva lets users lend as little as $25 to poor entrepreneurs around the world, providing affordable capital for them to start or expand microenterprises. Kiva is one of the fastest-growing social benefit websites in history Since its founding in 2005, it has loaned nearly $200 million from lenders to entrepreneurs across 206 countries. (By 2012, total loans on Kiva to the world’s working poor are expected to reach $1 billion.) For all its success, Kiva remains focused on a simple mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty, one person at a time.

Jackley is also founder and CEO of ProFounder, a new platform providing innovative ways for start-ups and small business entrepreneurs in the U.S. to access start-up capital through crowdfunding and community involvement.

Jackley, a finalist for TIME's 100 Most Influential People in 2009 and a recipient of USA Networks' Character Approved award in 2010, first saw the power and dignity of microfinance while working in East Africa with a microenterprise non-profit. Convinced that social change happens across all sectors, Jackley has worked in public, nonprofit, and private organizations including the Stanford Center for Social Innovation, Amazon.com, Potentia Media and many others.

Also an educator, Jackley is currently a visiting practitioner at Stanford University’s Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society, has taught Global Entrepreneurship at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, and lectures frequently at other universities around the country. She holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science, and serves as an active advisor and board member on several organizations championing women, microfinance, technology, and the arts.