Since receiving generous support from the Jefferson Trust, we made impressive progress toward building a vibrant, pan-University, social entrepreneurship ecosystem, by using the funding to organically construct a differentiated social entrepreneurship program. Our efforts thus far have focused on (1) forming a movement of diverse student, faculty, administrator, and outside stakeholders from across the University and beyond to set the vision for the initiative and begin to execute on our plan, (2) funding three high-demand courses for the 2012-2013 academic year, (3) institutionalizing the Social Entrepreneurship Track of the Entrepreneurship Cup as well as other extracurricular, hands-on educational events, (4) research interest from faculty and students, and (5) the beginnings of jobs, internships, and new venture creation support resources.
Overall, the initiative has succeeded in gaining buy-in from students, faculty, and administrators across all schools of the University as well as alumni, community members, and social entrepreneurship organizations. Renowned social entrepreneur and University alumnus Ross Baird co-teaches this fall semester’s course, Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship, alongside Architecture professor Sang Hwang. Nearly 120 students officially requested enrollment for 30 spaces in the course, forcing the instructors to expand enrollment to over 50 total students. Furthermore, the class will bring distinguished social entrepreneur guest speakers including Paul Polak, responsible for bringing 20 million people out of poverty and author of Out of Poverty, and Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff and credited with a disaster relief investment vehicle in Haiti. Furthermore, the newly established Social Entrepreneurship Track of the University-wide Entrepreneurship Cup last year received the second highest number of applications of any track. Through the dedication of our highly diverse faculty/administrator working group and student steering committee, we have tentative financial commitments from sources within and outside of the University to ensure the longevity and sustainability of the initiative.