Forum for Social Entrepreneurs

by Greg St. Martin

The uni­ver­sity hosted the ForSE 2010: Forum for Social Entre­pre­neurs on Oct. 30, draw­ing more than 200 schol­ars, stu­dents, social inno­va­tors, and investors to advance social entre­pre­neur­ship by shar­ing new tech­nol­ogy and busi­ness ideas. Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun lauded the work done at Northeastern’s Social Enter­prise Insti­tute (SEI) — the only such insti­tute in the Boston area, and founded and directed by pro­fes­sor Den­nis Shaugh­nessy. After lis­ten­ing to stu­dents talk about their global expe­ri­ences through SEI, Pres­i­dent Aoun praised “the trans­for­ma­tional power of social enter­prise, not only on the recip­i­ent, but also on those who are work­ing with the recipient.”

What the stu­dents are doing is pow­er­ful and impact­ful,” Aoun said. Through SEI, North­east­ern stu­dents have trav­eled to the Domini­can Repub­lic, Belize and South Africa to con­duct micro-finance field assess­ments, and inter­act with local entre­pre­neurs who are grow­ing their businesses.

In addi­tion, Pres­i­dent Aoun said higher edu­ca­tion is a form of social entre­pre­neur­ship, in that higher edu­ca­tion — which he said is see­ing an “explo­sion of demand” world­wide — lever­ages finan­cial sup­port to cre­ate pub­lic good.

At the con­fer­ence, par­tic­i­pants dis­cussed a wide range of top­ics, includ­ing edu­ca­tion, health, tech­nol­ogy, and sus­tain­abil­ity. Between panel dis­cus­sions, vis­i­tors had the oppor­tu­nity to net­work and fos­ter rela­tion­ships that could lead to new social ven­ture con­cepts. Pan­elists dis­cussed how mobile tech­nol­ogy can address press­ing social needs, how social entre­pre­neurs can bridge gaps to treat­ing dis­ease in poor coun­tries, and how some busi­nesses are pur­su­ing ven­tures in renew­able energy.

The con­fer­ence was spon­sored by SEI, Net Impact, and TiE Boston, the local chap­ter of a global non-profit pro­mot­ing entrepreneurship.

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.