Top Educator

USC Marshall social entrepreneurship professor wins top entrepreneurship educator prize

January 24, 2017

Jill Kickul, professor of clinical entrepreneurship at USC Marshall and research director for the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab, has been awarded the Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year award from the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE). She accepted the award at the group’s annual conference in Philadelphia, Jan. 19–21.

"Jill is recognized as a global leader in entrepreneurship education and research,” said Helena Yli-Renko, Orfalea Director's Chair in Entrepreneurship, associate professor of clinical entrepreneurship and the director of the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. “She has shaped, and continues to shape, the development of social entrepreneurship as a research field and has built ground-breaking pedagogy and programs to educate the next generation of social entrepreneurs.”

Kickul is the second honore from Marshall. Professor emerita Kathleen Allen was named Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year in 2014. The award recognizes educators who have provided distinguished leadership over a number of years within the field of entrepreneurship education.

“I am honored to be named,” said Kickul. “Having taught entrepreneurship for the last 20 years and seen how the field has really moved forward in accepting all sorts of ventures, including social entrepreneurship, it has been profoundly gratifying for me. It validates that our research has moved the needle.”

A New York State of Mind

Kickul joined Marshall in 2016 from New York University’s Stern School of Business, where she was a professor of entrepreneurship and the director of its social entrepreneurship program. Her book, Understanding Social Entrepreneurship: The Relentless Pursuit of Mission in an Ever Changing World, is required reading in more than 80 colleges and universities.  

“Stern was a traditional MBA program, heavily focused on finance and consulting, and social impact was a concentration,” said Kickul. “Social entrepreneurship is a central part of the vision of USC Marshall, and the decision to come here was the opportunity to work on a dedicated team with a true passion for the mission.”

Kickul is also the founding director of the Annual Conference on Social Entrepreneurship, the largest academic conference in the field. The conference was held at USC for the first time in 2016.

“We’re very proud of Jill, and fortunate to have her as our star instructor and research director,” said Adlai Wertman, David C. Bohnett Professor of Social Entrepreneurship and the founding director of the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab. “It is further proof of Marshall’s commitment to being the world’s leader in the field of social entrepreneurship.”