By Janie Kim C’19
By Janie Kim C’19
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.
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
By Steve Weiner WG’16, Navy Veteran and Co-Founder of VetTechTrek
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.