Genesys Works Founder Among Forbes’ “Impact 30”

Rafael Alvarez, founder and CEO of Genesys Works, was recognized for his business' social entrepreneurship. The nonprofit operates a program in St. Paul and has partnered with a long list of local businesses.

The founder and CEO of Genesys Works was recently named to Forbes' first-ever “Impact 30” list, which recognizes leading “social entrepreneurs who are tackling the world's most intractable problems.

Rafael Alvarez' business works to enable minority and economically challenged high school students to enter the economic mainstream by providing them the knowledge and work experience required to succeed in technical fields.

According to Forbes, Genesys Works is officially headquartered in Houston, but the nonprofit launched operations in the Twin Cities in 2008 and has since been recognized locally for its innovative program. For example, the company received a 2010 Tekne award from the Minnesota High Tech Association.

According to the nonprofit's Web site, a long list of local companies have partnered with Genesys Works, including Deluxe Corporation; Medtronic, Inc.; 3M Company; Best Buy Company, Inc.; Capella University; Ecolab, Inc.; and Faegre & Benson, LLP.

Students enter Genesys Works' program during the summer prior to their senior year. They spend eight weeks in training and are then assigned to work part-time for one of the nonprofit's clients during their senior year. The training is designed to give students the necessary knowledge to work for corporations in specific technical fields.

Forbes didn't provide in-depth details regarding its methodology for compiling the Impact 30 list but said it defines “social entrepreneur” as a person who uses business to solve social issues. The individuals on the list were selected by a panel of judges, including Bill Drayton, founder and CEO of Ashoka; Yale economics professor Dean Karlan; and Deb Nelson, executive director of the Social Venture Network.

To view the full Impact 30 list, click here.