BOSTON — Bill Gates, cochair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has donated more than $16 million dollars to help improve global development, global health, and U.S education, spoke yesterday at the Harvard Business School (HBS) Global Business Summit, the culmination of the School's Centennial celebration. He offered his views on what he called "creative capitalism," or the ability of companies to tap into their powers of innovation to empower the poor.
Gates urged more than 2,000 HBS alumni and their guests to engage in activities that expand opportunities for the world's most disadvantaged people. "American business has powers of innovation that are unrivaled," he said. "The idea is to take more of that innovation and think about it in terms of philanthropy."
"Capitalism is incredible," he said, but it fails in that the poor don't have a voice. In addition, measuring the benefits of capitalism in areas such as healthcare and education can be difficult.
According to Gates, every company, from mobile phone makers to food companies, has expertise in specific areas that they can bring to bear on the most important issues facing society around the globe. "It's not just about dollars," he said.
Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 200 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and doctoral degrees, as well as more than 80 open enrollment Executive Education programs and more than 60 custom programs. For more than a century, HBS faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching to educate leaders who have shaped the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.