Saturday, March 29, 2008

Social-Entrepreneurship A New Path For Many

I still intend to use this weblog for various lines of inquiry, and endeavor to combine different ideas and perspectives. One area that this weblog has been exploring is social-entrepreneurship. The concept of combining the ideas of social responsibility with that of entrepreneurship appeals to my economic development background and progressive philosophy, though many might see that combination as an oxymoron.

This is part of my motivation for learning how the ideas and theories of economics could be applied to real life. It has also provided the opportunity to find numerous websites featuring programs that are making a difference in the world from TED, MIT and others.

Although the term has been around since the 1960's, my self-education only started with this weblog. It seems though that there is a fundamental change going on. Why is this coming to to vogue now? How does it differ from what we had been doing? Much of what is found here and with a related post was gathered from Entrepreneurial Mind and originated from Sam Davidson with

On 2/18/08 via The Entrepreneurial Mind tells us of A New Age of Social Ventures
Many of those who manage non-profits will tell you that it seems that they spend more time raising money than actually working toward their cause of choice. The competition for donations and gifts seems to get tighter every year. And so-called donor fatigue seems to be becoming almost epidemic.
A charitable dollar can be used only once. A dollar invested in a self-sustaining social business is recycled endlessly.

Entrepreneurship in the Social Sector via The Entrepreneurial Mind on 2/10/08
So why all the attention to entrepreneurship in the social sector? According to Harvard Business School professor Jane Wei-Skillern in an interview published in Working Knowledge it is because the more traditional approaches to solving social problems have been "falling short." From Working Knowledge: An entrepreneurial approach, they say, allows social organizations not only to maximize value from limited resources, but also to leverage resources beyond the organization's direct control through a creation of networks.
Social Entrepreneur versus Non-profit via The Entrepreneurial Mind
On 2/25/08 Sam Davidson offered a good distinction at his blog between the traditional non-profit and the emerging social ventures that do not choose to take the non-profit route. For the first time, students can focus on what it means to build a business that is focused on multiple bottom lines, focusing on serving the community while running their operation. No longer are students forced to choose between operating a greedy business or working for an altruistic nonprofit. Now, students can live and work in that lovely overlapping Venn diagram of a place where their need to make a living can coincide and address the largest needs of the world.

Social Entrepreneurship Gaining Steam in Academia

The establishment of social-entrepreneurship into the academic programs of American Universities is another ongoing social change. While there has been forays of non-profit and community support efforts from universities having a formal degree program is something new. This is a summary of a series of articles that have appeared from time to time in The Entrepreneurial Mind.

2/19/08 The Entrepreneurial Mind on Social Entrepreneurship Gaining Steam in Academia

Dean Pat Raines writes about the growth in interest in social entrepreneurship within academia over at Belmont's blog Strictly Business. Speaking about our own program that launches next fall:
Next fall, Belmont University will begin offering a major in Social Entrepreneurship. The fundamental idea is to provide a practical academic curriculum to serve the fastest-growing segment of society--the millions of individuals that are creating a society of citizen change agents.
The Entrepreneurial Mind has a post on The Entrepreneurial Generation's Answer to Social Change
Dr. Cornwall points out that the Belmont program is to be one of the first in the country he also asserts that today's students are geared for these listing the positive characteristics of that group of 18-21 year-olds he has labeled the Entrepreneurial Generation. Providing what he deems, Some prominent reason for confidence -
  • They distrust large institutions.
  • They believe that the private sector is much more efficient and effective at solving the world's problems.
The big government proponents, which typically includes the New York Times, would tell us that the problems of the world are too big, and far too complex, for any solution outside of massive government intervention. We like to talk about the War on This Problem, and the War on That Problem, as if the only solution is too overwhelm each social problem with massive amounts of money controlled by huge bureaucracies.
And for good measure he references an article in that same New York Times article
The New York Times ran a column By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF compared this renewed social energy in today's youth with that of their parents' generation in the 1960s -- but with a twist: With the American presidential campaign in full swing, the obvious way to change the world might seem to be through politics. But growing numbers of young people are leaping into the fray and doing the job themselves. Below is a list of some of these programs.
Orphans Against AIDS (, which pays school-related expenses for hundreds of children who have been orphaned or otherwise affected by AIDS in poor countries.

Unite for Sight, has ballooned, and last year it provided eye care to 200,000 people (
The program ( has spread to 12 Arab countries and is aiming to teach one million students a year. Ms. Salti argues that entrepreneurs can stimulate the economy, give young people a purpose and revitalize the Arab world.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Balancing Life Along The Path

It has been over 10 days since I made a post in this weblog. Not that I have been ignoring it. There has been a whole lot of tinkering and re-designing going on. One important change was to add the word "My" so the title is now "My Pathways to New Paradigms". This is my learning path. Some elements that seemed of minimum use have been removed from this ongoing web 2.0 experiment. Some new elements have been added . There are now diigo tags below, in addition to the and technorati tags. There are both diigo and bookmarks at the left-hand column. There is also a new Stumble Upon button below that.

It is Stumble Upon that has taken up most of my attention in the last week. The idea behind Stumble Upon is that you find websites that you like and that you review them for others to discover. My Stumble account has about 22 pages of weblinks and 19 so far have been reviewed. It has been an interesting process because it meant revisiting each one again which resulted in finding additional information and new discoveries. Furthermore, because of my interest in creating a comprehensively interrelated and interactive body of knowledge for myself, I linked each website back to the weblog posts which discussed it. I do find the insights of others interesting and have been befriended by a couple of fellow stumblers who provided some great links. The newest one is the xkcd comics further down below. Stumble Upon though is still not as popular as, based on the number of people who have saved a particular website under each system. It also cannot search for websites by the words in a title as can. Lastly, there does not seem to be anyway to combine tagging terms as there is with

I have also joined a few groups: Emergent Systems, Complexity, and Digital Physics. Again, this is my learning site where I get to choose what I want to learn.

The most important thing I learned from the last 10 days is that my feed statistics don't change that much. The average number of subscribers was 14 and the average reach was 3 which is par for the course. More inline with the philosophy of this weblog, there have been 132 clicks to 37 items that have been made available on the web. One weblog post was Stumbling Through the Crowd On a Path To Wisdom. The Intuit Future of Small Business Report website also got 6 clicks. The MIT weblink Explorations in Language Learnability Using Probabilistic Grammars and Child-directed Speech got 4 clicks. To be honest, the max over the last week is 6 clicks for any one item, but it is still cool that besides having a platform for learning new things somebody else also had enough interest to find and click the same item. If one person finds something interesting fine, if 128 people do even better, but it is not going to be the focus of this weblog. Maybe someday I will attempt a weblog that endeavors to maximize readership. In the meantime, I have found far more to learn about than I have time to write about and every now and then I do spend time living my dayjob real world life.