One Minute Until Impact: Charles Kane on Gaining Capital to Grow

"Getting access to capital in a nonprofit status is incredibly difficult."


Charles Kane is a director and former president of One Laptop Per Child. Before joining the impact-focused organization in 2008, he worked as an executive at several successful technology companies.

One Laptop Per Child was founded in 2005 with the ambitious goal of providing a cheap, rugged, and useful laptop computer to every child who needs one; the organization partners with major technology firms and governments in emerging markets to produce and distribute its computers. OLPC believes in connecting children to the outside world and enhancing their educational opportunities as a path away from poverty and toward a brighter future. Over 2 million students in 42 countries around the globe use OLPC's machines today.

Asked for his advice to young entrepreneurs, Kane focused on the need to scale up impact by increasing capital investment; while nonprofits can have trouble raising funds, an enterprise that promises return on investment can access a much broader pool of capital. That's part of the big argument in favor of social enterprise—a for-profit approach, successfully implemented, allows the benefits of a specific innovation to spread far and wide.

Every Friday, GOOD gives you a minute of insight from an impact economy leader.