New Minor In Social Entrepreneurship

SBL Leverages Expertise to Introduce University-Wide Minor


July 12, 2011

For undergraduates interested in social innovation and developing well thought-out solutions to the world’s problems, the Society and Business Lab (SBL) at the USC Marshall School of Business in conjunction with the School of Policy, Planning and Development has announced a social entrepreneurship minor that will begin in fall 2011.

The interdisciplinary minor will be open to all USC undergraduate students who are seeking to understand the global context of social entrepreneurship, compare current public and private sector initiatives, and develop management skills to start and maintain social enterprises. Social entrepreneurship minors will be required to take introductory courses analyzing social enterprise models and study the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. Students will also have the option to tailor coursework to their academic interests and professional aspirations.

"Since we established the SBL more than three years ago, it has become a hub for understanding how business models can play an integral role in improving society," said USC Marshall School of Business Dean James G. Ellis. "We wanted to find a way for all undergraduates to have access to our experts in this field as well as have a solid grasp of fundamentals to lead organizations effectively and develop viable solutions for the serious challenges faced by society."

"For those who want to change the world, our programs and curriculum have attracted considerable interest," says Adlai Wertman the founding director of the Society and Business Lab. "In creating this specialized minor, we hope to engage these students and also enrich the public dialogue." With added perspective from across the disciplines, students will be able to attack the challenges of poverty, education, environment and health in innovative and sustainable ways.

SBL was founded in 2008 by Wertman, a former investment banker and CEO of the nonprofit Chrysalis, with the goal of creating the next generation of enlightened business leaders. To date, undergraduate students studying business at Marshall have been able to take classes supported by SBL, receive personal mentoring from industry experts, as well as do hands-on work with local micro-enterprises in Central America and Africa through SBL's partnership with the Global Business Brigades. The social entrepreneurship minor extends the thought leadership of SBL to all students at USC who would like to study social innovation.

About the Society and Business Lab at USC Marshall
Spring 2011 saw the graduation of the inaugural class of SBL fellows--a small cadre of MBA students eager to focus their business goals while also helping to solve world problems. The program has graduated young leaders such as Jyoti Gaur MBA ’11, now a Clinton-Orfalea fellow who participated in a summer internship subsidized by SBL that allowed her to travel to Northern India to help the Deshpande Foundation alleviate HIV/AIDS among women and children.

SBL, which is funded by the Foundation, the Lord Foundation and The Orfalea Foundations with the support of Advisory Board members such as philanthropist and technology entrepreneur David Bohnett, CEO Marc Benioff and EcoMedia CBS CEO Paul Polizzotto, who have served as a resource for USC students, staff and faculty interested in social enterprise, hosting renowned speakers and career information sessions.