University of Southern California

Society and Business Lab on Forefront of Change
SBL’s Abby Fifer Mandell Addresses Social Entrepreneurship at Norwegian Conference
April 29, 2011 • by News at Marshall

Society and Business Lab (SBL) Associate Director and Director of Education Abby Fifer Mandell brought SBL programs to the attention of philanthropists and change-makers at the Partnership for Change conference held in Oslo, Norway March 24-25.

The conference gathered “businesses, public institutions, academia, philanthropists and NGOs, to develop an understanding of how we can actively participate in creating positive sustainable social change nationally and globally.”

Mandell was invited to speak at the Academic Summit portion of Partnership for Change by Jan-Urban Sandal, founder and CEO of Summit in Social Entrepreneurship, a convener of social entrepreneurs and social enterprise academics in Scandinavia.

"Social enterprise is just starting to catch on in Norway," Mandell said. "The conference was a ground-breaking opportunity to bring together key practitioners of social enterprise and inspire people in the region to become social entrepreneurs."

After providing an overview of the Society and Business Lab, Mandell focused on "what we've learned from our students, what we know about business students in the United States, and in general, the implications of what we've learned for social enterprise as an academic subject."

Mandell said her talk piqued the interest of participants who attended from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, “since the government provides all services in these countries, social enterprise has a very different role than in the United States.

"Most of the conversation was about the differences between social enterprise in the U.S. and in Scandinavia, in which countries are welfare states," Mandell continued. "They were fascinated by our model of education at SBL, as well."

Mandell said she is "working on a program with Jan-Urban Sandal to bring some of his colleagues and students at the University of Oslo to USC. Perhaps some of our students will want to study there, as well."


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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.