Category Archives: Social Entrepreneurship

Clinton Global Initiative University Meeting | Student Social Entrepreneurs

At the fifth annual Clinton Global Initiative University meeting at George Washington University this past weekend, former President Clinton announced over nine hundred new projects that students and universities will undertake to improve the world.

New commitments announced at the two-day meeting include an expansion of Code the Change, a project of Stanford University student Sam King that hosts Code Jams in which computer science students provide up to twenty-four hours of pro bono volunteer services for nonprofit projects; the development, by Duke University student Patrick Oathout, of Uhuru, an online operating module that uses crowdsourcing technology to increase access to information among the international refugee community; the creation of Teach for Africa, a program by Harvard University student and Kenyan native Peggy Mativo that will provide trained teaching assistants to underserved schools in Nairobi, Kenya; and training workshops taught by Princeton University students Amanda Rees and Corinne Stephenson on how to build and operate solar drying units, enabling Kenyan farmers to dehydrate and preserve otherwise perishable produce.

Great to see so many students social entrepreneurs how there bringing a new vision for the future and new models for change.

via New Commitments Announced at Clinton Global Initiative University Meeting | PND | Foundation Center.

Masters in Social Entrepreneurship | Mason Center for Social Entrepreneurship | #Socent #Socinn

George Mason University in Fairfax, VA has announced a new, interdisciplinary Masters in Social Entrepreneurship beginning in the Fall of 2012. From the Mason Center for Social Entrepreneurship:

We welcome applicants from around the globe and from all undergraduate majors for this two-year program. Only a handful of universities in the world offer a graduate degree in Social Entrepreneurship.

This program is truly interdisciplinary. While the program is housed in Mason’s New Century College, the faculty members who teach the courses are drawn from every corner of the university. We think this only make sense as an approach because the global problems that social entrepreneurs seek to solve require knowledge drawn from across multiple fields of study.

Anyone who has completed his/her undergraduate degree is also welcomed to apply.

Also, certain students entering their senior year in 2012 may be eligible to count the 4th year of their undergraduate studies as the first year of this graduate program, allowing them to secure a Master’s degree in 5 years instead of 6.

To get more information fill out this form. GMU will release more information in the coming days.

via Masters in Social Entrepreneurship | Mason Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

PitchIt! Conference & Challenge | | Deadline 13 Mar 2012

$50,000 to help innovators, both commercial and social. Submit your idea to the We Media PitchIt Challenge by 9 pm 13 March 2012 and get a chance to win one of two $25,000 awards to build out your vision. Time is short, but if you can mobilize your supporter today you can get to the next round by community votes. (Submit your idearules/faqs)

Check out some of the ideas that have been submitted (they are broken out into commercial and non profit — #socent #socinn):

Review+: Review+ helps local businesses generate qualified prospects by leveraging their satisfied customers to build trust and awareness for them. Customer reviews are posted real-time, both on the customer’s Facebook wall, and on the vendor’s own website. What makes this possible is our proprietary remote content delivery system that offers a scalable mechanism to publish fresh and optimized content to the vendor website in real-time, with no manual intervention from the vendor.

Enable U: People with disabilities graduate college 10% less often and find employment 32% less often than people without disabilities. There are many businesses that want to hire more students with disabilities and would be happy to sponsor a non-profit program that helps diversify their workforce. Enable U will increase graduation rates and job placement rates by pairing disabled college students with peer mentors in their first & last semesters.

Radmatter: RadMatter innovates campus recruiting with best practices from leading online, social games – from World of Warcraft to Farmville. Our wildly captivating candidate experience provides intrinsic and extrinsic rewards related to winning career opportunities. RadMatter is important for society and the economy. We foster a happier, more engaged workforce in the the right jobs with the right companies.




PitchIt! Conference & Challenge |

Social Entrepreneurs of Grinnell | Campus Champions of Change Challenge | #socen #socinn

Check out the Social Entrepreneurs of Grinnell, a microfinance group started in 2007 on campus in Iowa. SEG provides loans locally and internationally. Pretty impressive.

SEG is one of fifteen finalists in the White House Campus Champions of Change Challenge. The top five projects will go to the White House for national recognition and be featured on MTV’s “The Dean’s List.” Voting is open until March 3, 2012. You can vote for them up to 3 times! Lets go #socen #socinn

3 Ways to Accelerate Your Social Venture | #Socent #socinn

Scott Henderson of Mashable points to three ways to accelerate your social venture.

In exchange for equity stakes, for-profit accelerators and incubators provide robust resources and access to experts. Y Combinator, TechStars and a growing population of other companies have paved the way. Fortunately, social impact startups (for-profit and non-profit) are feeling the love, too, thanks to springboard organizations like Skoll Foundation, Scwab Foundation, Echoing Green and Ashoka.

Here are three more programs worth considering if you want to accelerate the growth of your social-impact startup.

Unreasonable Institute – Boulder, Colorado: Unreasonable’s marketplace is open; you can help determine or even be one of the projects selected for this summer’s program. Do you like the mountains and being connected to a global roster of mentors? Check this program out.

Civic Accelerator – Atlanta, Georgia: Just announced this year, the Points of Light Insitute’s Civic Incubator program is expanding to launch one of the first accelerators focused on social entrepreneurs. Learn more as it rolls out the program in the coming weeks and months.

MassChallenge – Boston, Massachusetts: In its third year, MassChallenge is open to all startups and has no strings attached. Compete for $1 million in cash prizes, interact with over 600 mentors and experts over four months, and enjoy free office space overlooking Boston Harbor. Four of last year’s top cash prize winners were social-impact startups. Apply for this year’s program starting March 1.

via 3 Best Social Good Startup Accelerators You’ve Never Heard Of.

Join the MIT IDEAS Global Challenge | #socent #socinn

The MIT Global Challenge is calling for help in identifying and solving global problems. There are a variety of ways to participate in this #socent activity.  Read more about how to get involved in the MIT Global Challenge.

This type of initiative highlights not only the support for innovation and problem solving on campuses (entrepreneurship) but also the openness and fluidity of the university — much as the frontier was open to all who could get there. (see the graphic below for just how open the MIT Global Challenge)

Join the MIT IDEAS Global Challenge | MIT IDEAS Global Challenge.

Ashoka U Exchange 2012 | “Disruptive Innovation in Higher Education” for a Few

A few of my colleagues from GMU, Phil Auerswald (@auerswald) and Greg Werkheiser (@masonsocent) are off to ASU this weekend for the AshokaU Exchange, to discuss “disruption in higher education” (topic so hot it could fry an egg). We generally love Michael Crow and his ideas for ASU.

I am going to dial into a ‘blogger conference‘ call at 4 pm MT and will tweet (@campus_entre) during the call.

One thing I did notice, the event’s homepage states, “A two-day, invitation-only global gathering for…” BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. Sorry, but you lose me when exclusivity is part to your marketing. Maybe that’s just me.

Either way, I know Phil and Greg (sounds like a country music act or a niche food brand) will learn a lot and bring back some great ideas from the weekend as they are two of the sharper folks at GMU — though I did counsel them to take a hike in the Arizona mountains while they are out there.

Ashoka U Exchange 2012 | “Disruptive Innovation in Higher Education”.

Michael Horn on Disruptive Innovation in Higher Ed | #SocEntChat | @AshokaU

Gonna try and make this twitter chat from @AshokaU on disruption in higher education. This chat will focus MITx : MITx, One Small Step for MIT; One Giant Leap for Higher Education — hope they go broader in the #socentchat. See you there.

At first, disruptions tend to be primitive, but two key elements allow them to take root and flourish. The first is a technology enabler, which allows the innovation to improve predictably and scale to serve more and more users over time. In the case of higher education, online learning—and its associated components—is the technology enabler.

The second key element is a new business model. A new business model is important because plugging a disruptive innovation into an existing business model never results in transformation of the model; instead, the existing model co-opts the innovation to sustain how it operates. Many online universities started with new business models in place such that they could prioritize the disruption and grow, and now at last we’re seeing MIT come of age and take the next step into this disruptive future as well.

This past December, MIT announced that it would be soon be launching MITx—a learning platform that will provide interactive, online courses that will not only be free for users around the world, but that will also allow users to receive credit for having taken these courses. For a small fee, users will be able to demonstrate mastery and receive credit from MITx, not the traditional MIT program.

This is a wise move. Although our studies have shown that historically it has been difficult for existing institutions to prioritize offerings disruptive to their own model, there have been exceptions. In every case, those exceptions have occurred when the institution created an autonomous business model—often with its own brand—such that the disruption could operate unburdened by the parent organization’s existing processes and priorities. MITx appears poised to do just that, as MIT will likely finally provide its online courses a home in a coherent business model, even as MIT protects its own traditional brand.

via Michael Horn on Disruptive Innovation in Higher Ed: teaser for the #SocEntChat | AshokaU.

Inspiring #SOCENT Story from ASU | Forbes College Social Innovator Award

Inspiring story of Nicollette Lewis, a social entrepreneur out of ASU that made her own personal loss a starting point to solve a difficult social issue — that of kids ‘aging’ out of foster care at 18 and being unprepared for independence and adulthood. From ASU:

The idea for the program grew out of an assignment from a leadership action course at the W. P Carey School of Business, in which Lewis and Nathan were asked to present their ideas on how to take action in the community. After solidifying their ideas and coming up with a business plan, Nathan and Lewis went on to enter and win the spring 2011 Innovation Challenge.

For Lewis, the cause holds special meaning, as she became an orphan after losing both her parents by age 15. Although fortunate enough to live with family members, Lewis says was still forced to grow up quickly at a young age.

“I didn’t know how to navigate the legal system to receive social security benefits and how that fits into paying for college,” Lewis said. “There are a lot of other kids who are in that same situation where their needs get ignored because they don’t have the state looking out for them to help with the things that parents would normally do.”

After visiting ASU while in high school, Lewis said she immediately gravitated to the business management degree from the W. P. Carey School of Business. After four years of hard work, she received her bachelor’s degree in December.

For now, Lewis is enjoying dedicating all of her energy to Partnered for Success and the youth in her program. In the future, however, she dreams of traveling to India to study religion and spirituality, while simultaneously donating her time working in a boarding school in the Himalaya Mountains.

And although she misses her family, Lewis says their words of wisdom will always stay with her.

“My parents instilled a lot of great values in me while I had them. I know they wouldn’t want me to mope and let the negative aspects of everything overcome my life,” said Lewis. “I may as well turn this tragedy into something that I can use to benefit other kids facing similar situations.”

Pretty amazing and another really interesting entrepreneurial story coming out of ASU — the New American University.

via ASU alum wins Forbes College Social Innovator Award | ASU News.

Illini Freshman Do #SocEnt in Business School | Business Education

I grew up in Illinois so have always appreciated the intellectual greatness of the University of Illinois (ask Marc Andreessen about the brains and opportunities in Urbana-Champaign). Just found some interesting news that the College of Business had 600 students participate in a professional responsibility course and its obvious social entrepreneurship  and social impact were key components. (I wonder if this is the type of course is the kind of thing @CabreraAngel implemented at Thunderbird — more on George Mason University’s new president Angel Cabrera). From Don Dodson of The News-Gazette:

“The ideas spanned a variety of needs from food, health and sanitation to transportation, education, housing, energy and entrepreneurship,” said Madhubalan Viswanathan, a UI professor of business administration.

The product ideas and business plans came as part of a “poster session” competition that was the capstone project for the Business 101: Introduction to Professional Responsibility course.

The course, required for first-year undergrads in the College of Business, had about 600 students in it this fall.Among the ideas students came up with, Viswanathan said, were:

— A low-cost refrigerator to preserve food.

— A system to help shopkeepers with low literacy levels keep track of inventory.

— An inflatable floating disaster shelter for coastlines.

Some more,

One of the first-place teams, Dentofresh, created a powder-based mouthwash for the Indian marketplace. When mixed with water, the product would help users avoid serious dental-health problems.

Each member of that team — Stephen Murphy, Gregory O’Connor, Eric Tchon, Michelle Wojnarowski and Rebecca Zielke — received $200 awards.

The other first-place team, Do Your Duty, devised the “Duty Bag” as a way to improve sanitation in a densely populated slum in Nairobi, Kenya.

The team described the Duty Bag as “a sanitary, eco-friendly and affordable bag that people can use when defecating.” Its use could decrease the presence of harmful waste and improve the environment, the team said.

Members of that team — John Casey, Nayeli Garcia, Nichole Johnson and Christopher Pastuovic — also received $200 each.

Members of second-place teams received $150 each, while members of third-place teams got $100 each. Money was provided by the College of Business.

Second-place team Back Nap came up with a blanket that could be folded into a backpack for homeless people.

via 28 UI students take home $4,200 in product project |