Jim Fruchterman, a leading social entrepreneur and CEO of Benetech, will present the Fulton College lecture on Nov. 5, 2009 at 11 a.m. in the de Jong Concert Hall, HFAC. He is a former rocket scientist who creates technology social enterprises that target underserved communities.
His lecture, entitled "From Engineer to Social Entrepreneur", will address how he uses engineering technology as a solution for the challenges of human rights, literacy, and the environment.
Fruchterman has been named the 2009 Social Innovator of the Year by the BYU Economic Self-Reliance Center. The award will be given as part of the 2009 Economic Self–Reliance Conference at BYU, on November 5–6.
In 1989, Fruchterman founded Arkenstone, a nonprofit social enterprise, to produce reading machines for people who are blind. In 2000, the nonprofit changed its name to Benetech and began creating new technology for people with disabilities, the human rights and environmental conservation communities. Benetech is based in Palo Alto, Calif.
Fruchterman has received a MacArthur Fellowship and the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. He is a founding director of the Social Enterprise Alliance, the international association for entrepreneurs running businesses in the nonprofit sector. He believes that technology is the ultimate leveler, allowing disadvantaged people to achieve more equality in society.