Posted by admin on 08.13.2010 at 12:19 pm
Books Help Change Lives in Somaliland
About a year ago our co-founder Xavier Helgesen was reading the New York Times as he often does and came across a story by reporter Nicholas Kristof that he could not ignore. It was a pretty powerful piece about the severe lack of maternal and child health care in many parts of the world and one woman who was working to change that in the breakaway Somaliland region of Somalia in East Africa.
Her name is Edna Adan Ismail and she is an incredible woman who chose not to retire but instead to work tirelessly to save and improve the lives of women and children. After a successful career working for the World Health Organization, Ms. Edna used her pension and sold her Mercedes to build the The Edna Adan Maternity and Teaching Hospital in Hargeisa, Somaliland where she works every day doing everything from delivering babies to teaching to rounding up surgical masks and supplies.
While this may seem impressive, it is even more impressive to note that Ms. Edna was the first midwife in Somaliland and that she was determined that there be more. She was just unable to accept conditions in which the most dangerous thing a woman could do was to get pregnant.
As Xavier read the story of Ms. Edna and her teaching hospital and her strength and will, he knew Better World Books had to get involved and do something to help.
And where there’s a book, there’s a way. We had the books and Ms. Edna had a teaching hospital that he was sure could benefit from having them. Now to make the connection and figure out the logistics. Read more…
Posted by Dana on 09.17.2009 at 12:34 pm
September has been a very busy month here at Better World Books. Our warehouse is busy processing and shipping loads of textbooks to all the students gearing up for fall and we have been unplugging ourselves from our computers to get out into the real world and meet some of you.
The beginning of the month found CEO David Murphy, Co-founder Xavier Helgesen and myself at the SOCAP09 Conference in San Francisco. David spoke on a panel called SELLING WITHOUT SELLING OUT with Read more…
Posted by admin on 06.17.2009 at 2:49 pm
Last week, our own Xavier Helgesen sat down with Cris Valerio at Bloomberg TV to talk about our company, our mission and how the whole thing got started. Check it out!
Posted by admin on 06.16.2009 at 1:24 pm
Great news! As you probably already know, promoting literacy has always been woven into the fabric of our business. Now we’re delighted to announce we’ve given an ownership stake to our non-profit literacy partners. Yup…we’ve granted Incentive Stock Options to these partners – as far as we know, a first for social enterprise.
The purpose of the plan, put together with the help of our primary investor, Good Capital, is to ensure that our literacy partners can have a stake in and share in our financial success.
We’ve put aside roughly 5% of the company for use in stock option grants to an initial group of five literacy partners (with potential to add others in the future): Books for Africa, Invisible Children, Room To Read, WorldFund and the National Center for Family Literacy.
One of our fearless leaders Xavier Helgesen puts it best: “We created Better World Books to show that it is possible to do good while at the same time run a successful company. Our literacy partners are essential to our mission, and we want them to flourish. Today’s announcement ensures that as our company grows, our partners will too.”
Posted by Xavier on 10.13.2008 at 3:08 pm
David Murphy, CEO of Better World Books, and yours truly are speaking at the inaugural Social Capital Markets in San Francisco. This is truly a landmark event – the first conference I’ve ever heard of based on investing with a social impact.
David is speaking in a session on “pitching your ideas”. On the panel with David are:
Ben Black from New Cycle Capital. New Cycle just closed a $30 Million fund to invest in conscious companies.
Karyn Barsa, CEO of Investors Circle, was formerly CEO of Smith & Hawken and COO of Patagonia. Investors’ Circle is a network of socially conscious angel investors.
Moderating is Tess Reynolds from New Door Ventures.
Ben says that a warm introduction is key. In this day of LinkedIn and Facebook, any entrepreneur worth their salt ought to be able to make a connection with the funder you want.
Posted by Xavier on 10.07.2008 at 2:47 pm
In case you’ve been in some Rip Van Winkle-esque coma since the dot com days, the American economy is in free-fall right now. Its as though a 700 lbs. chicken has come home to roost in our San Francisco neighbor’s china shop. I’d be lying if I said we weren’t a little jumpy here at Better World Books. While many of you reading this may dispute it – books aren’t an “essential” item and are more likely to be cut from consumer spending when budgets are tight. We are hopeful, however, that the superior value of used books (especially those bought online) will make BetterWorld.com a more appealing option in this age of high gas prices.
We need to turn this economy around and I’m an ardent believer that a truly green economy is our answer. The economic opportunity to reuse items (such as the Better World Books model), to build renewable energy sources, and to make our homes and businesses more energy efficient is a trillion dollar opportunity that can’t be outsourced. I believe Better World Books is a perfect example of this. We’ve taken over an old packaging plant in post-industrial Mishawaka, Indiana and created a lot of jobs. These aren’t just your standard warehouse pick-and-pack. They include high-paying jobs in technology and analytics.
Posted by Xavier on 09.30.2008 at 11:33 am
What a night it was! David, Niko and I were privileged to attend Books For Africa’s 20th anniversary gala. We all had especially big smiles on our faces when we saw a chart with the number of books shipped to Africa start skyrocketing in 2003 after being almost flat for 10 years. I wonder what happened in 2003? Well, they hired a dynamic director (Pat Plonski) and partnered with a certain online bookseller. Now they ship 75,000 books PER WEEK.
The momentum was unbelievable – there were two congresspeople in attendance, and an address to the audience recorded by none other than Kofi Annan, former secretary general of the UN.
Better World Books is still easily Books For Africa’s largest source of funding, and we presented them with a $95,000 check just to remind everyone. BWB delivers more funding (and a lot of books!) than they receive from OPEC, USAID, or the Minnesota Vikings, all supporters as well.
So Better World Books, be proud of every day you spend working. As Tom Warth, BFA’s founder says, “the children of Africa thank you”.
Posted by admin on 09.19.2008 at 11:07 am
Courtesy of Network admin, Nate, enjoy this YouTube video of co-founder Xavier getting a pie to the face (and some silly string) during a company presentation in South Bend from COO/co-founder Kreece. Happy 30th birthday, X!
Posted by admin on 05.23.2008 at 10:36 am
Maybe you’re a better man than I, but I can’t read Finnish. I know what you’re thinking, “Jack, in your studies at Holy Cross you never got through Hurskas Kurjuus by Sillinpaa? Shame, shame!” I know, believe me.
However, if you have Finnish under control maybe you can tell us what this awesome full page pull out says in KD or as they know it “Kristillisdemokraattinen viikkolehti” (yes, that is the title of the newspaper… seriously). So far on the site I’ve ascertained that “Etusivu = homepage” and “Arkisto = archive.”
If you can find it, in the March 30th edition we got some awesome press (I think…):
“Lukutaidon edistamiseen jo mlijoonia dollareita: Haaveilen jo koulussa yrityksesta, jonka toimintaan liittyisi erottamattomasti hyvantekevaisyys, sanoo Xavier Hegelsen.”
Hey… I recognize something there!
[Update, I think "Haku" is search but I have yet to find the article in the archives... I'll keep you posted!]
[Update 2: This is an interview with Xavier! Scandanavia loves its own!]
For more press about Better World Books go HERE.
Posted by admin on 04.17.2008 at 1:42 pm
Check out this interview with our social enterprise/green pro/co-founder/general expert at stuff, Xavier Helgesen!
Good times! They kinda were quick with the whole “Oscars thank you music ending” though, no?
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