College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota
College of Science and Engineering
http://cse.umn.edu/

Social Entrepreneurship Workshop

The primary goal of a social enterprise is to address a social need that has not been given enough attention. This is one of the things we learned at our social entrepreneurship workshop today with Meena Vaidyanathan at Teri University. Running a social enterprise herself, Niiti Consulting, Meena provided great insight into how enterprises operate and grow. I had very little knowledge about entrepreneurship heading into the workshop but left with a much better understanding. For the past few weeks we have seen successful social enterprises at work. Micro Home Solutions (MHS) is an example of this, with their mission to develop sustainable housing for poor urban communities while considering their way of life. This has a positive social impact because their solutions improve the lives of people while still maintaining their culture.

A social enterprise must have a clear vision of the ways in which it wants to impact a community. A powerful quote from the presentation was "The vision of the enterprise is larger than the visionary." We talked about how one person's idea can evolve into something larger than they ever thought possible. A social enterprise must keep up with the ever growing and changing world in which we live in. A visionary's original idea will be evolving as new environments and situations arise.

We did an exercise where we split into groups at the end of the workshop. Each person or group got to take the place of a freelancer, a social enterprise, or a talent builder. I chose the role of a freelance videographer. We all explained our imaginary businesses and our visions and were able to discuss which other groups we would want to work with. For example, one of the social entrepreneur groups expressed a desire to work with me to create a documentary about their business in order to raise awareness of the work they do. This exercise was great way to end the session and was an interesting way to see how different businesses can work together to achieve their goals.

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Social entrepreneurship workshop with Meena Vaidyanathan of Niiti Consulting


 


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