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The New Recruits

Airs Thursday, June 17, 2010 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Customers of the social enterprise D.light Design in India test its solar-powered LED light.

"The New Recruits" is a documentary about a battalion of jet-setting business students armed with a radical plan to end global poverty: charge poor people for goods and services. This film takes an unflinching look at the burgeoning trend of social entrepreneurship, touted as a new alternative to charity. Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton have all endorsed the movement; Bill Gates calls it "creative capitalism."

A resident of the Kibera Slum in Kenya receives no public services, including sanitation. Social enterprise Ecotact intends to build pay toilets in the slums.
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Above: A resident of the Kibera Slum in Kenya receives no public services, including sanitation. Social enterprise Ecotact intends to build pay toilets in the slums.

At the core of "The New Recruits" are three young, well-meaning, a little in-over- their-heads aspiring social entrepreneurs. Heidi Krauel, Joel Montgomery and Suraj Sudhakar are selected out of thousands to participate in the prestigious year-long Acumen Fund Fellows Program. The program sends 10 business students to work with Acumen-funded social enterprises in Kenya, India and Pakistan.

This film is a hilarious, evocative, edge-of-your-seat thrill ride along a road paved with good intentions. It is narrated by Rainn Wilson, who plays Dwight Schrute on NBC's hit comedy series “The Office.” "The New Recruits" is on Facebook and you can follow them on Twitter.

Video

Preview: The New Recruits

Above: "The New Recruits" is a documentary film about aspiring social entrepreneurs who believe capitalism can end global poverty. The film follows a group of business students who still believe strongly in the virtues of capitalism. Their plan to end poverty: charge poor people for goods and services.