A Growing NU Curriculum to Meet Global Needs for Social Entrepreneurs

As the impact of social enter­prise grows around the world, we in turn are grow­ing our capac­ity to meet the mar­ket need for a new gen­er­a­tion of highly moti­vated and well trained social entrepreneurs.

Con­sis­tent with the unique mis­sion and approach of North­east­ern, our social enter­prise cur­ricu­lum is student-centered, prac­tice ori­ented, and global. Our focus is on design, devel­op­ment and finance for enter­prises work­ing in poverty reduc­tion and eco­nomic devel­op­ment in low income coun­tries and com­mu­ni­ties. We teach stu­dents how busi­ness and busi­ness prin­ci­ples can be a force for global good, espe­cially when inspired and informed young peo­ple lead the way toward pos­i­tive change, mean­ing­ful impact and broadly shared value.

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Acumen Fund

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Very low-income peo­ple are too often invis­i­ble to busi­nesses and soci­ety. Busi­nesses see no sig­nif­i­cant mar­ket oppor­tu­nity and gov­ern­ments view low-income areas as hav­ing insuf­fi­cient tax rev­enues to pay for basic ser­vices like clean water, health­care, hous­ing and energy. Build­ing new mod­els that pro­vide these crit­i­cal ser­vices at afford­able price – in the face of high costs, poor dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tems, dis­persed cus­tomers, lim­ited financ­ing options and, at times, cor­rup­tion – requires imag­i­na­tive busi­ness solu­tions and part­ner­ships sup­ported by investors will­ing to take on a risk/return pro­file that is unac­cept­able to tra­di­tional financiers.

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An Unexpected Loss and a Gentle Reminder

Naman Shah

Ear­lier this month we lost one of our beloved stu­dents, Naman Shah, to an untimely death at the age of 21. His short life reminds me of a some­thing I read long ago, that given a choice between a life of com­fort and a life of mean­ing, the wise per­son will choose the lat­ter. We too often hear of unnec­es­sary and pre­ma­ture deaths in the world, in fact we’ve all seen the sta­tis­tic that sev­eral thou­sand chil­dren die need­lessly each day from poverty and dis­ease. Every life mat­ters, and yet when it’s some­one you know, whose path crossed yours, the idea of a sense­less death in the face of such promise is that much more powerful.

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Valuating Nature

environmental refugee

The goods and ser­vices that we depend on daily would not exist with­out the assis­tance of nature in the sup­ply chain. Humans con­stantly derive ecosys­tem ser­vices from nature, like how water­sheds source our taps and faucets or how bees fer­til­ize plants for our morn­ing cup of coffee.

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What It's Really Like to Work for a Social Enterprise Abroad

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Through my work with Heart Cap­i­tal, I have been able to get into a Skype call with one of the cre­ators of the Acu­men Fund’s report­ing tool, PULSE, and into the office of J-PAL Africa at the Uni­ver­sity of Cape Town. For stu­dents of social entre­pre­neur­ship or really any­body look­ing for an inter­est­ing and engag­ing co-op posi­tion, I highly rec­om­mend the one I cur­rently have.

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Clean Energy & Sol Solution

Solar

By going solar, schools are able to cut their elec­tric­ity costs, with­out fac­ing any upfront costs or hav­ing to worry about oper­a­tions and main­te­nance of the solar pan­els. More­over, by rein­vest­ing our prof­its, Sol­So­lu­tion devel­ops edu­ca­tional pro­gram­ming focused on STEM, solar, and green entre­pre­neur­ship for stu­dents at all of our part­ner schools.

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