Social Entrepreneurship is the process in which citizens build businesses that aim to solve the social problems a society is facing. Social Entrepreneurship allows us to help solve the problems of our communities without sacrificing profits. This more readily allows for service to be a more sustainable part of our everyday lives.
Recently, I have taken the idea of social entrepreneurship and have been developed it into a Service Learning program . I simply call it Students Involved in Social Entrepreneurship (SISE). Students create small businesses that target social problems by using simple free market fundamentals. By identifying and targeting social problems and collectively trying to tackle them students essentially become agents of change.
As students continue to build their business many of the concepts with in the IB Econ and IB Business and Management Courses come to life, creating an authentic learning experience. Cross-curicular possibilities also start to come forth. Furthermore, students become a much more active participant in their community, developing multicultural social and business skills. As they become more active participants in their community they start to inquire further into why things are the way they are, leading them to future areas of research and study.
Lastly, I would like to get other schools around the world to join me in social entrepreneurship. If you feel you would like to start a branch of Students Involved in Social Entrepreneurship (SISE) at your own school please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. My grand vision is to hold a SISE conference where students from schools around the world display their social enterprises, sharing their experiences with each other and making a collective pact to change the world for the better.
If you would like to know more about what THE UNIS SOCIAL ENTERPRISE is up to this year please continue on.
THE UNIS SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
Over the last two years, UNIS students have built small social enterprises that were targeting local poverty. Obviously, the eradication of poverty is a problem that our small social enterprise is not going to solve on our own however, if schools from around the world get together to implement such programs we can definitely take a bite out of poverty and other community issues together. Little by little efforts add up.
2013/14 will be a very exciting year. We will be starting two new projects, as well as visiting our micro borrowers to see the results of our loans, and to evaluate our decisions. We are starting a UNIS Fair Trade Product Line, a first at UNIS. We will be working with small lacquer handicraft producers to develop a line of products that assure our producers of a livable wage. We will survey the Cat Dang community we are partnering with in regards to costs of living, and surveying our small producers as to the costs of production in order to come to calculate a “fair price”. Such a price needs to cover such things as education for children, healthcare, among other things, along with a premium we will than put back into the community through a variety of development projects the student-led enterprise agrees on. Hopefully, such a project will allow students to play an active role in poverty reduction and in bringing positive change to the Cat Dang community we will be working with.
Throughout the process students will face many challenges making decisions on how to to best deal with them. Risk-taking, will also play an integral role in their adventure into the real world. In addition many other skills will be acquired such as the following:
Students will be able to:
- Write up a business plan.
- Identify the markets for their products.
- Demonstrate improved decision making/ collaborative skills.
- Collect and analyze market research.
- Devise a marketing strategy.
- Understand the importance of a SWOT Analysis.
- Create a system of accounting.
- Identify development projects that would have a positive impact on the community.
- Evaluate development project success.
You can get a better idea of what The UNIS Fairtrade Product Line will look like with the simple graphic organizer our group has put together with a fun interactive tool called mural.ly
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