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Adjunct professor Chris Rabb to spread message of commonwealth entrepreneurship at TEDxPhiladelphia

March 27, 2014 //
Photograph of Chris Rabb
Photo courtesy of TEDxPhiladelphia.org

Fox School of Business adjunct professor of entrepreneurship Chris Rabb will be one of the speakers at this year’s TEDxPhiladelphia, which will examine the conference theme The New Workshop of the World and will be held at the Temple Performing Arts Center on Friday, March 28.

Rabb was nominated by his colleagues to be a TEDx speaker and was chosen as one of the 19 speakers from 500 nominees.

Rabb, who specializes in social entrepreneurship and organizational innovation, is an affiliated member of Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI), based at the Fox School, and is the IEI’s social entrepreneur in residence.

He has much experience with entrepreneurship, as he co-founded a technology-based firm in Chicago, ran a nationally recognized business incubator in West Philadelphia and served on the board of a family-owned newspaper, which his great-great grandfather founded more than 120 years ago.

“I have three great-great grandfathers who were very successful entrepreneurs,” Rabb said. “I learn a lot from those who come before me.”

He also authored the groundbreaking book Invisible Capital: How Unseen Forces Shape Entrepreneurial Opportunity, which explores the idea that entrepreneurial opportunity can be further democratized by society, leading to greater social inclusion, economic sustainability and community wealth-building.

Rabb recently hosted an intensive and interactive two-hour session with a dozen ex-prisoners who returned to North Philadelphia, seeking to develop entrepreneurial literacy to apply to skill sets they believe they need to obtain employment and make a positive impact in their communities.

Temple Media and Communication adjunct professor and documentarian El Sawyer arranged the session that Rabb hosted, as part of a program led by Sawyer called Shooters, a term for people who do film, video editing and camera work.

Both Rabb and Sawyer were recipients of the 2013 Knight Foundation BMe Leadership Award. Rabb won a grant of $200,000, the highest amount given, to develop a series of workshops to teach entrepreneurship to low-income individuals.

“I think this will help allow me to build a capacity to do what I did with Shooters in other cities to those who cannot afford it,” Rabb said.

Much of Rabb’s interactions with the ex-prisoners will complement his TEDx talk, which will focus on the importance of commonwealth entrepreneurship.

“I’ve always connected entrepreneurship to social justice,” Rabb said. “I was often looking at business through the lens of creating opportunities despite the systems that keep inequalities as is.”

Fox School of Business students can see a live stream of TEDxPhiladelphia on Friday, March 28, in Alter Hall’s first-floor Undergraduate Commons. Rabb is scheduled to speak at 2:30 p.m.