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Arts & Culture

The New Recruits

Customers of the social enterprise D.light Design in India test its solar-powered LED light.
Ironbound Films, Inc.
Customers of the social enterprise D.light Design in India test its solar-powered LED light.

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

"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."

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.

Preview: The New Recruits