Penn Grads Meet a Wharton “Angel” on “Make Me A Millionaire Inventor”

By Janie Kim C’19

When Alicia Syrett W’99 met entrepreneurs Matt Lisle ENG’15 and Adrian Lievano ENG’15 on the CNBC show, their Penn bond was the start of a lasting partnership.

Everwaters founders Matt Lisle ENG'15 and Adrian Lievano ENG'15
Everwaters founders Matt Lisle ENG’15 and Adrian Lievano ENG’15

Read more Penn Grads Meet a Wharton “Angel” on “Make Me A Millionaire Inventor”

Building a Changemaker: Notes from the Germination Project

By Stephanie Kim MPA’16

  • A reverse vending machine that provides transit credits in exchange for recyclable goods.
  • An immersive, cross-cultural exchange and language learning program that doesn’t require a passport.
  • A grassroots anti-smoking movement to improve the health, environment, and brand of a city.
  • A network of rooftop gardens connecting corporations with communities.

These are four ideas that were pitched to a panel of judges not by experienced social entrepreneurs, but by teams of Philadelphia-area high school students. These students—relative strangers to each other—had 45 minutes to come up with their vision, and just five hours to turn it into a cogent, shark-tank pitch for grown-ups.

And, the real kicker: they couldn’t use the internet.

Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship blog Social Impact
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Is Capitalism Saving Or Destroying Us? Davis Smith WG’11/G’11 (Video)

Capitalism has lifted billions out of poverty, but has also been the most destructive force on the planet. Serial entrepreneur Davis Smith WG’11/G’11 grew up in the developing world and in this TEDx talk discusses the controversial nature of capitalism and how a chance encounter with a young street-boy in Peru put him on a path to use capitalism as a force for good.

As a four-year old, Davis ended up on a unique life-path when his family left the United States and moved to the developing world. His father was an adventurer, so Davis grew up climbing into active volcanoes, floating down the Amazon in a self-made raft, and surviving on uninhabited islands. He developed a love for adventure and the outdoors, which extended into adulthood. He has since traveled to over 60 countries and recently led a kayaking expedition from Cuba to Florida. While his life path was shaped by these childhood experiences in the outdoors, it was actually his exposure to those living in extreme poverty that most impacted his life. He believes that it is only through service to others that we can find true happiness. Davis is the CEO of Cotopaxi, an outdoor gear company with a humanitarian mission at its core. He is also a member of the eight-person United Nations Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

From Submarine Officer to Social Entrepreneur

By Steve Weiner WG’16, Navy Veteran and Co-Founder of VetTechTrek

I didn’t join the military with a plan to get out.

Like most 18 year olds, I hadn’t quite mapped out a plan for my life and I certainly didn’t predict that I would eventually earn my MBA from Wharton. Becoming a social entrepreneur and launching a foundation focused on helping veterans advance their careers after their service was unimaginable.

Steve in his Navy days.
Steve in his Navy days.

Read more From Submarine Officer to Social Entrepreneur

Way to Explain Social Enterprise Upswing

By Matthew Brodsky, Editor, Wharton Magazine

The idea that you can make money and deliver a social benefit is hardly new, but David Musto brings new research that finds that social enterprises and their funding are sustainable, at least in their current form. And the timing couldn’t be better. Why? Because social enterprises are tapping  capital markets  for funding.

ThinkstockPhotos-495759386

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One Question: When is a for-profit company the right choice for a social entrepreneur?

When is a for-profit company the right choice for a social entrepreneur?

Philip Wilson WG’94, Founder of Ecofiltro, is committed to providing sustainable, clean water to rural families in Guatemala, and in 2009 he turned Ecofiltro into a for-profit company. Here, he explains why other social entrepreneurs might also decide to structure their startups as for-profit:

At the Intersection of Technology and Social Impact

By Aria Florant WG’16

“I know that’s what the degree is going to end up costing, but it’s a terrible thing to think about right now. I don’t like thinking about money. Ugh. I’m going to throw up. I’m going to be broke forever.” – MBA Student, Class of 2017

This is a common sentiment among graduate students in massive amounts of debt, which is CommonBond’s target consumer. No one likes student loans, but they don’t have to be as painful as people might think. CommonBond is the bank of the future—a values-driven financial services company that delivers savings, simplicity, and service to borrowers.

Aria Florant WG'16 and Sindhura Sarikonda WG'16. Sarikonda is the winner of the 2015 CommonBond Social Impact Award.
Aria Florant WG’16 (L) and Sindhura Sarikonda WG’16 (R). Sarikonda is the winner of the 2015 CommonBond Social Impact Award.

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Milken Young Entrepreneurs Program at Wharton: 25th Reunion

By Lisa Hoffstein C’81/GED’81/WG’88, Founder of the Milken Young Entrepreneurs Program at Wharton and The Katie At The Bat Team

Way back in 1988, when I was approaching my graduation from the Wharton MBA program, I was given a unique entrepreneurial opportunity for which I will be forever grateful.

Michael Milken WG’70 had provided a generous grant to The Wharton School to create a community outreach program that would impact the surrounding neighborhoods and engage business students in meaningful community service.  I am quite certain I was the only former school-teacher across my MBA cohorts, having taught at Parkway Gamma—back then a somewhat dilapidated structure at 39th and Walnut Streets.  I suppose this out-of-the-box background made me the ideal candidate to be hired as the Executive Director of this new Wharton-Milken venture.

Mentors and Mentees at the 25th Reunion of the Milken Young Entrepreneurs  Program.
The 25th Reunion of the Milken Young Entrepreneurs Program.

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A Walk and Talk with Prof. Kartik Hosanagar

Wharton Professor Kartik Hosanagar invites students to join him for his walk home from work. Katlyn Grasso W’16, founder of GenHERation, Venture Initiation Program member, Wharton Venture Award winner, walked with him one night, and they talked about her interest in social entrepreneurship.

Talks like this between professors and students are what make the Wharton experience truly exceptional—and turn aspiring entrepreneurs in to founders. Click here for their Walk and Talk.

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Why My Company Has a Social Mission

By David Klein, Wharton alumnus, Co-founder and CEO of CommonBond

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on the Social Impact Initiative blog.

I sometimes get the question, “Why do you have a social mission?”

David Klein with members of the Wharton Social Venture Fund, spring 2014.
David Klein with members of the Wharton Social Venture Fund, spring 2014.

Read more Why My Company Has a Social Mission