The Benefit of Being a Social Enterprise Finalist

A community library established by READ Global. Photo credit: READ Global.

A community library established by READ Global. Photo credit: READ Global.

Thinley Choden spent a full month in the United States, but her highlight was a Wharton Executive Education course at the Philadelphia campus. It was a hard-won opportunity, earned through recognition in one of the world’s only rigorous contests for social enterprises, the Barry and Marie Lipman Family Prize.

Choden works in Bhutan for READ Global, which won the Lipman Prize during the last school year. For READ and last year’s other two finalists, part of the allure of the prize—beyond the recognition by a brand such as the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania—is the access to Wharton Executive Education courses.

Choden’s class was a three-day exploration of “the Strategic Decision-Making Mindset.” Her benefits were threefold:

• Most of the 30 classmates were from the for-profit side of the world, offering a completely different, and translatable, perspective.

• The takeaway that “there are things you can control and some you cannot.”

• Learning to keep that fact in mind when making decisions in a world where uncertainties and personal biases (including your own) abound.

READ Global partners with communities in Southeast Asia to build community libraries and resource centers with the goal of empowering them to end the cycle of rural poverty, among other activities.

“The course helps me in the work I do because it’s all about managing uncertainties,” Choden told us. “The course that I took at Wharton helps me construct in my mind how to move forward, how to get my team on board with me, how to strategically plan how we move forward with our growth in the future.”

Choden’s five-year-old operation in Bhutan is the newest in READ’s global network. (Its first in Nepal is 23 years old and India’s is seven years old).  With an operation still in a growing phase, Choden explains, her team must make a name for READ Global in the country and connect with new partners and donors.

For more information on the Lipman Prize itself, read our recap of last year’s contest in “A Second Year of Social Impact Success” or watch the “behind the scenes” video below:

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