The bottom line isn’t always an entrepreneur’s end game. For some, it’s the balance of doing well while doing good.
The work of social entrepreneurs served as the focus of an interactive workshop that kicked off a new collaboration between Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI) and the College of Public Health (CPH). Social entrepreneurs are creative problem-solvers driven to create solutions that have a positive impact on their communities and the world.
The workshop, and a Fall 2016 semester course in Social Entrepreneurship offered by CPH, are fueled by the Temple University Entrepreneurship Academy, a new program created by Temple President Dr. Neil D. Theobald as the embodiment of his commitment to foster innovation and entrepreneurship university-wide. The Entrepreneurship Academy is geared toward the incorporation of entrepreneurship education into the coursework of faculty members throughout all of Temple’s 17 schools and colleges.
Dr. TL Hill, Associate Professor of Strategic Management at the Fox School of Business, led the April 8 workshop at Temple’s Science Education and Research Center, with support from Dr. David B. Sarwer, CPH’s Associate Dean of Research, and Dr. Robert McNamee, IEI’s Managing Director and Assistant Professor of Strategic Management at Fox.
The workshop, titled, “Doing Well While Doing Good: Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship in Public Health,” engaged students, faculty, and staff from around the university to consider the business structures of social entrepreneurial ventures.
As an example, Hill turned to Go Baby Go, an initiative that modifies standard toy electric cars for use by children who suffer from physical disabilities. He also made mention of Lucky Iron Fish, a social enterprise dedicated to eradicating anemia around the world, through the use of a cast-iron fish which can be added to a pot in which food is cooking.
Social entrepreneurs need to research problems and target users, appreciate multiple funding streams, and think about user adoption and behavioral change, which “can be a huge undertaking, and require just as much ambition,” Hill said. Following further discussion on social impact and social entrepreneurship, Hill asked workshop attendees to assemble smaller groups, in order to develop examples of social venture business models.
“Social entrepreneurship is the attempt to draw upon entrepreneurial and business approaches to find scalable solutions to social problems,” said Hill, the Academic Director of the Fox Global MBA program.
Hill has been responsible for creating the Fox Management Consulting Practice (Fox MC), in which the MBA candidates provide professional-grade strategic solutions to clients including non-profits and social-impact ventures. In addition, Hill has created the Fox Board Fellows program in which MBA students sit on the board of directors of a non-profit for a year. These programs have led to the creation of a number of thought-leading approaches to social entrepreneurship.
The plan for the 2016-17 academic year, said McNamee and Sarwer, is to build on this inaugural event through a series of workshops and courses in the College of Public Health that will focus on social entrepreneurship and healthcare innovation.
“Most individuals who work in the area of public health receive little to no training in the area of entrepreneurship,” Sarwer said. “This workshop, and the course being taught this fall, is a great opportunity for students to learn how to be forward-thinking about their work and develop impactful strategies to address public health issues. I wish I had the opportunity to take a course like this when I was a student.”