The Chronicle of Social Enterprise was launched in spring 2009 to explore the field of social enterprise, for-profit or nonprofit businesses whose products and services address the major unmet needs of society. Eight graduate students comprised the staff for the first issue under the direction of faculty advisor Jerr Boschee, Visiting Professor of the Practice in Social Enterprise.
The issue contains an in-depth look at affirmative businesses, social enterprises that provide three things not typically available to people who are physically, mentally, economically or educationally disadvantaged: Real jobs, competitive wages and career tracks. The issue includes profiles of more than 20 affirmative businesses, plus stories about affirmative business incubators, the role of the federal government and the rise of the movement internationally.
A systems synthesis project from fall 2006, the “Creating Seedbeds for Social Innovation” project examined if social innovation helps to drive economic development in a region. The project resulted in the development of the “Fertile Ground Index” which can help to measure a region’s social innovation seedbed potential based on a variety of factors. The project helped to reveal key external factors that influence social innovation.
In fall 2009, a Heinz College student team will continue the work of “Creating Seedbeds for Social Innovation” to further identify and understand the relationship between social innovation and economic development.
The challenge of maintaining a stable source of food is a widespread problem across the world. This is particularly true in the Western Province of Zambia, where the scarcity of agricultural services and market access hinders farmers from consistent food production. Most of the population is made up of subsistence farmers who lack management skills and access to credit to enhance and expand their farms as businesses.
Through this project, the student team developed an integrated model for ProjectEDUCATE to provide business training and funding access to small-scale farmers in the Mongu district of Western Zambia.