The Social Entrepreneur: Business That Builds Community

Interview by Billy Shore

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

How can business and entrepreneurial principles be used to solve social problems? In this episode, Pace University Lubin School of Business Dean Neil Braun sits down with SALIDO founder and CEO Shu Chowdhury to talk about business, technology and social entrepreneurship. “[There is] emotional satisfaction in helping people at the most interesting stage of life,” says Braun, a long-time Share Our Strength board member. Serial entrepreneur Chowdhury wants community building to be part of the DNA of his company. One of SALIDO’s values is community service. “If someone can’t care about someone they don’t know because it’s the right thing to do, it often happens that they can’t connect with what you’re actually trying to do,” he explains.

After a distinguished career as an entertainment executive that included stints as Chairman and CEO of Viacom Entertainment and President of the NBC Television Network, Braun uses his vast experience in business to help a diverse student body including many from underserved communities. “They’ve overcome more adversity just to get to college than I have in my entire life and I am so inspired by them. They have found the inner strength to deserve a chance,” he says. No Kid Hungry supporter Chowdhury credits his parents for instilling a philanthropic and entrepreneurial spirit in him. They emigrated from Calcutta, built successful businesses and started a family foundation. His latest venture is improving restaurant technology systems to be more functional for restaurant workers at all levels. “When you make someone’s life easier and you help them do a better job… that can have a pretty awesome net impact on not just society but the individual,” he says.

Listen to this important conversation that mixes insights from the business world with the desire to create social impact.

Resources and Mentions:

Neil Braun

Has been a Share Our Strength board member for 20 years. He began his career in 1977 as a corporate attorney for the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and later joined a client of the firm, International Film Investors (an SBIC), where as Senior Vice President he structured and negotiated financing and distribution for feature films including GandhiThe Killing FieldsHopscotchEscape from New York, and The Howling. He’s been an executive in many entertainment companies including Chairman and CEO of Viacom Entertainment, President of the NBC Television Network, and President, Distribution and Marketing for Starz Entertainment Group. In September 2007, Braun left Starz to found The GreenLife Organization LLC as Chairman and CEO with the backing of RNK Capital, a preeminent investor in environmental attributes including carbon credits. In July 2010, Braun began his appointment as Dean of Pace University’s Lubin School of Business where he also serves on the Operating Committee of the University. Braun holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a JD from the University of Chicago Law School.

Shu Chowdhury

Founder and CEO of SALIDO, a restaurant operating system that manages every aspect of the business. He is an engineer turned entrepreneur in the enterprise software space, with more than a decade of experience with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) across aerospace & defense, financial services, and now hospitality. He holds a Bachelor of Science, Information Systems and Finance from New York University and a Master of Science, Electrical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

No Kid Hungry

Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is ending child hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day.

Pace University Lubin School of Business

A nationally ranked leader in business education. They prepare students to become leaders in management, competent in their chosen fields, multidisciplinary in problem solving, ethically aware, grounded in action, trained in outcomes, and socially responsible. Lubin offers small classes, outstanding faculty, a student-centered environment, convenient locations, and full- and part-time programs in New York City and Westchester County. The school has 3,249 undergraduate and 934 graduate students. The Lubin faculty (107 full-time, 105 part-time) comprises accomplished practitioners and noted scholars whose research is quoted in such major media as BusinessWeekCNNFortuneThe New York TimesWABCThe Wall Street JournalWCBS, and The Washington Post.

SALIDO

Powers the future of restaurant operations. It is more than a POS software, it’s an rOS: a restaurant operating system that manages every aspect of the business. The SALIDO product lets a restaurant control, analyze and leverage its own critical data allowing them to focus on what drives its core business: the customer experience.

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