The Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship is kicking off 2016 with a new strategic initiative. Historically, the Center has focused primarily on traditional entrepreneurship but recently has recognized the desire among its student populations to pursue social ventures. To execute social entrepreneurship programming, the Center has welcomed Sara Herald as Associate Director for Social Entrepreneurship. Previously, Herald and social entrepreneurship programs resided in the Smith School’s Center for Social Value Creation (CSVC). To streamline entrepreneurship offerings at the Smith School, Herald and her portfolio have moved under the Dingman Center umbrella. CSVC will continue to focus primarily on developing research and curriculum around triple bottom line business principles.
“Since social entrepreneurship often attracts a broader range of students beyond business and engineering, we anticipate this will be an area of growth for the Dingman Center,” said Elana Fine, Dingman Center Managing Director. “Recognizing that all entrepreneurs require similar resources, we have reorganized the assets of the Smith School around one hub of entrepreneurship. We believe this new structure will better serve of all our students and alumni interested in launching social ventures.”
Social entrepreneurship is often described as venture creation for the purpose of solving a social problem. Social enterprises are not charitable organizations: they are businesses with both social missions and earned revenue models. Organizations such as Honest Tea, Warby Parker, and Smith’s own Hungry Harvest are social enterprises, as well as thriving companies. Social entrepreneurs face many of the same challenges as traditional entrepreneurs, in addition to unique obstacles related to their social missions.
“I am excited to bring social entrepreneurship into the Dingman Center portfolio to expose more students to the opportunities in triple-bottom-line businesses,” said Herald. “Millennials increasingly choose to work at and purchase from organizations that have an explicit social mission, and this integration keeps the Dingman Center at the forefront of entrepreneurship trends.”
Herald will lead two signature student programs: the Maryland Social Entrepreneur Corps (MSEC) and the Do Good Challenge. MSEC is a dynamic international internship program for undergraduate students to combat poverty in Latin America by supporting small community-based businesses. This unique study and internship program teaches the basic principles of social entrepreneurship through courses, case studies, discussions, and hands-on, practical experience. The Do Good Challenge, a partnership with the School of Public Policy, is an innovative competition that inspires Terps to make the greatest social impact they can for their favorite cause. Students team up to volunteer, fundraise, promote awareness, or advance their own social enterprise during an eight-week period.
“Bringing social entrepreneurship into the Dingman portfolio is a great thing for all aspiring entrepreneurs at UMD,” said Herald. “Students who want to solve a social problem can now come to one place to access resources like Fearless Founders, MSEC and the Do Good Challenge Accelerator, and aspiring traditional entrepreneurs can learn how triple-bottom-line business models can help their businesses stand out to customers.”
For more information on the Dingman Center, visit our web site: http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/dingman.