3 Examples of Stanford Social Entrepreneurship

1. Stanford Social Entrepreneurship Day

Pure Mathematics [Photo by edbrambley] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Stanford Social Entrepreneurship Day featured panel discussions on various aspects of social entrepreneurship, including a panel discussion on funding social enterprises.

Social entrepreneurs fulfill a unique role in society, as reformers and revolutionaries with a social mission. In spite of their differences from traditional entrepreneurs, they share many things in common too. One of the keys to any successful startup is raising adequate funding. At the panel discussion funders considered what a successful candidate looks like and the common mistakes that candidates make.

Members of the panel included Jenny Shilling Stein, the executive director of the Draper Richards Foundation. This foundation funds the most promising social entrepreneurs and startup nonprofits. Jessica Jackley Flannery is another panel member that co-founded Kiva with her husband Matt. She first saw the power of microfinance while working in rural Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda with Village Enterprise Fund and Project Baobab.

2. Stanford Social Entrepreneurship Program

A Stanford social entrepreneurship initiative called the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program (SIE) seeks to engage students in the process of innovation and entrepreneurship for social good. Students develop the skills needed to turn promising ideas into real solutions via projects with partners in the social sector.

The SIE program provides coaching for students who wish to make a social impact, and is open to all students from incoming freshmen to graduate students. It provides advice on courses, internships, and opportunities for working in the social sector following graduation. Students with ideas for social innovations can also get advice on how to test and improve their ideas, and how to bring them into reality.

The program also offers a specific university course, ENGR 150/250 Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In this course, student teams learn the art of social innovation by developing solutions to challenging problems from the social sector.

3. Stanford Social Entrepreneurship Center

Halls of Learning [Photo by Josiah Mackenzie] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Stanford social entrepreneurship Center for Social Innovation is associated with the graduate school of business. The approach of the center is to break down boundaries and promote the mutual exchange of ideas and values across sectors and disciplines and between theory and practice.

Dedicated to the purpose of building and strengthening the capacity of individuals and organizations to develop innovative solutions to social problems, the center pursues a vision of developing a networked community of leaders to actively build a more just, sustainable and prosperous world.

The center mission is grounded in a strong theory of change, so all of their programs and initiatives are designed, coordinated and integrated to raise awareness, build skills and advance action by providing opportunities to implement social innovation practices and make real change.