Chicago Booth

July Newsletter: More Than a Job

The past few months have marked an exciting period in Upaya's evolution - our team has had the opportunity to share our story with some incredible groups, we have forged new partnerships to expand the breadth and depth of our work, and our partners have been acknowledged broadly for their successes. 

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Upaya’s Partnership with Chicago Booth School of Business on Display at 2013 Social New Venture Competition


As part of the organization’s partnership with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Upaya’s Executive Director Sachi Shenoy recently joined a distinguished group of Booth alumni as final round judges for the school’s Social New Venture Competition (SNVC). While in Chicago, she also participated in the annual advisory board meeting of the school’s Social Enterprise Initiative.

The judging panel – which included leadership from organizations such as the Arabella Advisors, TransUnion Corp., CDW and Shorebank International – evaluated 16 finalists based on the strength of their business models and ability of their work to realize a positive social benefit. Upaya was well represented at the event.

The SNVC is lead by Chicago Booth Deputy Dean Robert Gertner, who also serves Upaya as an Advisor. Additionally, Upaya Board member Sonny Garg was involved in the planning of this year’s competition.

Upaya Teams Up with Chicago Booth Social Enterprise Initiative to Promote New Models for Social Change


Upaya Social Ventures is proud to announce today the appointment of its Executive Director, Sachi Shenoy, to the Advisory Board of the Social Enterprise Initiative (SEI) at Chicago Booth. Robert Gertner, Deputy Dean at Chicago Booth and Co-Director of the SEI, will also join Upaya’s Board of Advisors.

“Throughout the world, enterprise development and job creation have proven to be a highly effective way of ushering populations from poverty to prosperity. We look forward to working with Upaya to identify new models for social enterprise, while giving our students the tools and exposure to design and build companies that can provide social benefit,” said Gertner.

Chicago Booth established the SEI to enhance the efficiency and impact of social sector organizations through research, data collection, communication and education. The initiative builds on the school’s commitment to rigorous analysis and its discipline-based approach to understanding organizations, markets, and policy.

The collaboration allows Upaya to advise Chicago Booth on the design of its MBA curriculum for students interested in social entrepreneurship. It will also open internships and research projects for the Chicago Booth community, while allowing Upaya to call on the school’s thought leadership, academic resources, and vast alumni network to advance its mission. Additionally, Shenoy will be a judge in Booth’s Social New Venture Challenge and Upaya will contribute to the Social Entrepreneurship Lab programs.

“We are very excited by the invitation to help the next generation of social entrepreneurs both in Chicago and around the world,” said Shenoy. “As an alumnus, I am honored to join such an accomplished group of faculty and alumni on the SEI Advisory Board, and believe that Chicago Booth is well positioned to be a global leader in social enterprise.”

As a member of Upaya’s Board of Advisors, Gertner will work with the Upaya team to refine methods to measure social performance. He will also support Upaya’s efforts to identify new models and best practices for creating jobs and improving the quality of life in the world’s poorest communities.

“We are thrilled to welcome Rob Gertner to our team and know his involvement will ensure Upaya adheres to the highest standard of excellence in business development and social performance measurement,” said Shenoy.

About Chicago Booth’s Social Enterprise Initiative - The Social Enterprise Initiative (SEI) at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business aims to enhance the efficiency and impact of social sector organizations through research, data collection, communication, and education. Established to support interest in the non-profit and social sectors, SEI builds on Chicago Booth's commitment to rigorous analysis and its discipline-based approach to understanding organizations, markets, and policy. The initiative's mission is to further the field of research on issues of importance to the social sector and to support social enterprises that wish to apply proven business practices to strategic decision-making and organization management. For more information, please visit