Jim Fruchterman is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. An engineer turned social entrepreneur, he is a former rocket scientist, founded two of the foremost optical character recognition companies, and developed a successful line of reading machines for the blind. He now runs his own nonprofit technology company, Benetech. (He also won the 2006 MacArthur Fellowship, the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2004 and 2006.) He exclusively talks to DubaiBeat.com before attending the World Economic Forum’s Summit on the Global Agenda here in Dubai.
Would you please tell us a bit about the background of your relationship with the World Economic Forum and your participation in the upcoming Summit on the Global Agenda?
I was award the Schwab Award for Social Entrepreneurship (Prof. Klaus Schwab is the founder of the WEF) in 2003. I have had the honor of attending the Annual Meeting in Davos five times, as well as regional summits in Africa and India. My organization, Benetech, is one of Silicon Valley’s leading nonprofit organizations, with a mission of bringing technology to all of humanity. I am part of the Global Agenda council on philanthropy.
What specific area is your focus and how do you say it can help improve state of the world?
We serve people with disabilities, as well as human rights and environmental groups. We believe that technology helps disadvantaged communities just as it helps those with great advantages.
What do you think about the city of Dubai, the host for this summit?
I’m quite looking forward to my first visit to Dubai!
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