Patagonia sustainable business event at UF with Kristin Joys and Cynthia Barnett interviewing Chris Gaggia

Social Impact & Sustainability

Social Impact & Sustainability Initiative at the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center empowers students to use the skills and strategies of business leaders to create innovative and sustainable solutions to social, environmental, and economic problems, locally and around the world.

This is an exciting new area that crosses all disciplines and areas of study. The best description of Social Entrepreneurship is that it’s about teaching people to think innovatively about social problems around the world and empowering them to create change.

“Social entrepreneurs identify resources where other people only see problems. They view the villagers as the solution, not the passive beneficiary. They begin with the assumption of competence and unleash resources in the communities they’re serving.”
‐ How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas

“Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish, or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.”
‐ Bill Drayton

Social entrepreneurs have been with us for some time–though we have only recently started calling them ‘social entrepreneurs’. Some of these social entrepreneurs and the organizations that they started are names you will probably recognize: Ben Cohen & Jerry Greenfield (Ben & Jerry’s), Muhammad Yunus (Grameen Bank), Paul Newman (Newman’s Own), Anita Roddick (The Body Shop), Martin Luther King (Southern Christian Leadership Coalition), Gandhi (Indian National Conference), and Susan B. Anthony (National Women’s Suffragist Movement), and Mother Teresa (Missionaries of Charity). The term ‘social entrepreneur’ suits these individuals well–they are entrepreneurs with a social mission.

The organizations that social entrepreneurs start are as varied as their missions. Ben & Jerry’s is a for‐profit subsidiary of international conglomerate Unilever. The Grameen Bank is a chartered bank in Bangladesh. Newman’s Own and The Body Shop are for‐profit corporations. Missionaries of Charity is an order of Catholic nuns. A social entrepreneurship organization can be a nonprofit, a for‐profit, a hybrid of both, or a division of an existing organization. (from BYU’s CESR)

Other examples of Social Entrepreneurs include:

  • Chris Neumann & Nora Edison – owners of Sweetwater Organic Coffee Company
  • UF Alumni – Steven Cohen, founder of Friends for Life of America and Anup Patel, founder of Cents of Relief
  • Current UF Students – Ed Lin, Abhi Lokesh, and Alex Theodore, founders of SwaziAID

For more information:

Social Impact & Sustainability Initiative News