Dr. Bob Hansen, Organizational Leadership Program Coordinator, and Abdullah Al-Hadeethi ’14, Fellow for Intercultural Engagement, have combined efforts to create a new social entrepreneurship and innovations lab at Westminster College.
“This lab is important to have at Westminster College because it enables future change makers and global leaders to start their work while they are here as students,” says Al-Hadeethi.
What is social entrepreneurship?
Social entrepreneurship is a mindset, a way of thinking that drives nonprofit and for-profit organizations to achieve positive social change. This mindset and related practice may be the best or even only way to address society’s most pressing issues. Entrepreneurs and innovators do this by creating a good or service that can better meet basic human needs such as health, safety, education, and rights.
What can students expect in this lab course?
Through this course, students can create, develop, and possibly even put into action business plans aimed toward meeting one or more of these basic human needs. Business plans can be both for-profit and nonprofit, whichever the entrepreneur feels will best serve the overall goal of the company in creating a positive social change. Ideas thus far have included working toward fair price labor for women in Africa, establishing a gym/health facility to help returning soldiers deal with physical and psychological challenges, and finding ways to reduce inner-tribal conflict in East Africa.
Students in the Entrepreneurship lab are pushed to both develop these projects for social change, as well as to grow as individuals.
“I took this class because I want to be inspired by the people around me, and I want to refine my own thinking about how I can improve the world,” says Tim Aldred ’15.
How the lab connects with the community and potential funding
Students taking the lab will also have the opportunity to work with the new Show-Me Innovation Center in Fulton, which promotes entrepreneurial ventures within Callaway County. Leaders from the Innovation Center will provide mentoring and feedback to students throughout the semester, as well as assist in the development of formal presentation on their concepts for potential funders.
Dr. Hansen hopes to continue offering the leadership lab at least once each year.