The 2009 Global Consortium of Entrepreneurs Centers Conference at Rice looked at ways entrepreneurship and innovation drive the global economy. The idea is to build effective entrepreneurship programs at universities that will benefit society and underdeveloped countries. Bruce Bachenheimer is director of entrepreneurship studies at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business in New York City.
“Entrepreneurship is really a way of thinking and acting. It’s about being able to recognize opportunities, analyze opportunities and make them happen. Entrepreneurs are very motivated, driven, passionate, persistent people, and I believe the only real difference between a commercial entrepreneur and a social entrepreneur is their underlying purpose. The social entrepreneur is trying to make the world a better place, basically to enhance the capacity of society someway.”
Social entrepreneurs focus their efforts on a social issue. That can mean setting up a business or non-profit that benefits another country, for example.
“Domestically, like early childhood education opportunities. It could be internationally providing, you know, clean drinking water in sub-Sahara Africa, or fighting AIDS or poverty or protecting natural resources. And the idea is just how do you harness that spirit and focus that on a pressing social issue, as opposed to simply a new business.”
Bachenheimer says the field of social entrepreneurship has exploded in the past five years, and that says a lot about this generation wanting work with meaning. Over 300 university-based entrepreneurship center directors and professors attended the consortium at Rice. Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.