Can business strategies be used to create positive social change? Portland State Impact Entrepreneurs is offering new opportunities to explore how market-based innovation can be used to create social change at the Elevating Impact Summit in June.
Can business strategies be used to create positive social change?
Portland State Impact Entrepreneurs is offering new opportunities to explore how market-based innovation can be used to create social change at the Elevating Impact Summit in June.
The group, founded within PSU’s School of Business Administration, is dedicated to creating “a network of individuals and organizations committed to fostering economic, social and ecological prosperity through entrepreneurial action,” according to the mission statement posted on its website.
Managing Director Cindy Cooper said the event was inspired by the growing popularity of the group’s yearly Social Innovation Expo. The expo highlights graduates of the Social Innovation Incubator program and offers opportunities for them to pitch their own social venture ideas to potential investors.
This year’s larger event, which is open to the general public, will showcase the diverse social entrepreneurship approaches being used locally and globally to create social change.
Speakers like Franklin Jones, founder of the Portland-based company B-Line: Sustainable Urban Delivery, and keynote speaker Eric Dawson, founder of the Peace First Prize, hailed as the “Nobel for young people,” will discuss the trials, tribulations, successes and failures of their endeavors.
The Portland Impact Entrepreneurs and the SII program have come to play a major role in developing local social entrepreneurship programs since Portland state became an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus.
Ashoka, a company that founded and developed the idea of social entrepreneurship, works around the globe to connect entrepreneurs and their ideas with resources through organizations like the SII and the summit.
Founder of the SII Cindy Cooper is a former Ashoka Changemaker prizewinner. Cooper helped to develop Speak Shop, an organization that offers native Spanish-speaking people in economically challenged countries like Guatemala the opportunity to earn money teaching their language to others online.
“We decided to put together elevating impact to highlight work being done in business, nonprofit, academia and [the] public sector and media using entrepreneurial approaches to address professional, social and environmental problems,” Cooper said.
Cooper hopes her program will not only offer opportunities to others but, through programs like the SII and the Elevating Impact Summit, also help social entrepreneurs come together to share ideas and learn from each other.
The conference begins June 21 and everyone is welcome to attend. Admission is $25 for students and $75 for the general public. You can register online or learn more about becoming a sponsor or community partner by visiting pdx.edu/impactentrepreneurs/summit.