University of Southern California

Small Workshop, Big Impact
Net Impact event provided a personal introduction to social entrepreneurship
November 1, 2011 • by News at Marshall

The keynote speaker at Net Impact’s Social Entrepreneurship Workshop went longer than expected on Friday evening. For two hours students were transfixed by Sean Carasso’s story of Falling Whistles, the nonprofit organization he founded to help children forced to the frontlines of war in Congo armed only with a whistle to alert soldiers of the enemy’s presence. The nonprofit sells whistles to raise money for its campaign for peace.

"It's such a heartbreaking and eye-opening story," said Catherine Uong ’14, co-president (with Richard Wei ’12) of USC Net Impact Undergraduate, which hosted the workshop on Oct. 21-22. "We listened to Sean and were just blown away by the story and the organization’s mission."

Net Impact aims to use business skills and resources to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world, and the goal of the workshop was to introduce that idea to students by inviting social entrepreneurs to share their experiences.

Uong, a USC Marshall business administration and USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences Eastern languages and cultures student, said the workshop offered "a very personal touch to the social entrepreneurship side of business" and plenty of "individualized time." The small group that attended on Saturday essentially got an informative one-on-one session and a prime networking opportunity with Jennifer Vogel, vice president of strategy and development at Young Women Social Entrepreneurs, and Elizabeth Stewart, co-founder and managing partner of The HUB LA.

"Social impact and profit are not mutually exclusive, and we want to show evidence of this to students," said Alexander Duong ’12, a Marshall entrepreneurship student who (along with Johnny Jung ’14 and Jennifer Liu ’14) is a Net Impact social entrepreneurship committee leader. "We hope our event will engage students to challenge themselves to look at possible careers or even inspire them to become social entrepreneurs."

The event was co-sponsored by the Marshall Society and Business Lab, which helped Net Impact to plan and organize the event and solidify speakers. The USC Undergraduate Student Government Program Board provided gifts for the speakers.

About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.