Second successful On The Couch night was hosted by Aalto Sustainable Business Club last Friday at the HUB Helsinki in Kaisaniemi. On The Couch is a series of events where opinion leaders and students get together to discuss and debate about critically acclaimed issues. Instead of lecturing, the event is informal and challenges all kinds of opinions and students from different fields of expertise. Just like at the 1st event last November, also this time there was a diverse group of students from all different schools of Aalto, who came to discuss the night’s theme of business alleviating poverty.
This time we had the privilege to have two expert quests with us: Reetta Nevala from the Ekokriha project and Tytti Nahi, a researcher from Aalto University. Reetta and the Ekokriha project have been participating in World Vision’s Weconomy Start –program. Tytti has been involved with similar projects through her research and her experiences with NGO’s.
The conversation started with introductions of the guests about their projects and definitions of BOP-markets with continuing to the problems in development coordination and communication issues that might rise from different cultures working together. Thoughts and arguments were raised about understanding local cultures and customs, microcredit loans in BOP-markets, our current inequal global economic policies, hierarchy differences in cultures in addition to the pros and cons of inclusive business and cocreation. In the end, there were remarks about the complex challenges that BOP-markets have, but with notes on optimistic signs and actors in these markets that are trying to inflict positive change.
All in all, the participants were left satisfied to have been able to learn new things and discuss about their opinions with others. And of course the pizza made by SBC and refreshments sponsored by Nokian Panimo made sure nobody left with an empty belly. As usual, there was more to talk than there was time, so most of the group decided to continue the discussion after at a nearby restaurant.