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Business Innovation and Technology for Social Change

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This course will explore how new types of business models and technologies can be used to address big global problems like poverty, inequality, and climate change. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the vast disparities that exist in the United States – including access to healthcare, education, technology, jobs and even food security, to name a few. Better financed schools with more space and fewer students per class were able to go back to in-person learning faster than poorer schools, small businesses that integrated technology were better able to survive during the pandemic, and white-collar employees were able to safely work from home while service workers risked their lives at in-person jobs. Using NYC as our living laboratory, we will explore our communities that were most affected by the pandemic, question why, and explore sustainable solutions to the underlying causes.

Meet the Instructor(s)

Karen Bhatia

Karen Bhatia is a strategic leader working at the intersection of business, law, and policy. Karen’s experience is in using technology and entrepreneurship as tools to create equitable opportunities and systemic change. She currently serves as Senior Vice President at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, leading Creative and Applied Tech strategies to promote economic development and entrepreneurship throughout the city. She has led NYC’s blockchain strategy, development of the first publicly funded VR/AR Lab in the country, the City’s strategy for ethical development of AI & data and broadband development in the neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID-19. Karen is also an attorney, entrepreneur, and startup advisor. She was the principal of her own law firm advising tech startups on corporate issues, financing, and overall business strategy. As an entrepreneur, Karen founded ActionCam, an educational platform aggregating reliable sources on policy issues, even before trust in media was an issue. Karen also founded Stanford Startups NY, a business network of over 800 Stanford entrepreneurs and investors in the region. She is an advisor to several tech organizations and also on Board of Trustees of Mott Hall, a middle school in the South Bronx. Raised in Queens, NY, and a product of NYC’s public K-12 schools, Karen has a B.A. from Stanford University, a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a J.D. from George Washington University Law School.