BYOBiz Program Director Bob Bloch says he got a lot out of the Middlebury College Forum on Social Entrepreneurship from June 9th-12th. His thoughts on the event are below.
Earlier this week I had the opportunity to attend the Forum on Teaching Social Entrepreneurship hosted by the Middlebury College Center for Social Entrepreneurship. Liz Robinson, John Isham and team put on a great event in every respect. The event was attended by about 90 professors from leading liberal arts colleges and universities from around the world and the focus this year was on methods, curricula and ideas for effectively teaching students about social entrepreneurship and preparing them for possible careers in the field. I gained many useful ideas which can help strengthen what we are doing at Champlain.
The forum was hosted at Middlebury’s unique and splendid Breadloaf summer campus, high in the Green Mountains. I can’t imagine a finer place to get away for a few days to contemplate how to help make the world better.
We had some great discussion groups and great keynote speakers including Marina Kim, co-founder and Executive Director of Ashoka U, an organization dedicated to fostering social entrepreneurship education, and David Torres, from Mothers2Mothers, an organization making great strides in eliminating prenatal HIV/AIDs in sub Saharan Africa. He spoke about his transition from a well established international banking career to helping Mothers2Mothers dramatically scale their successful program. Fascinating.
One of the issues many liberal arts institutions face in teaching social entrepreneurship is making peace with the need to include lessons on some of the more pragmatic aspects of creating and building an effective social mission organization – you know, like cash flow projections, marketing, organizational development – the business side. Many believe (or their administrations believe) that these topics have no place in a liberal arts education. Of course, Champlain College has no problem with any of this, so I was invited to lead some sessions the purpose of which were to help people become more comfortable with this side of social entrepreneurship and to discuss ways in which they might introduce some of this content into their curricula. The sessions were well attended and the discussion lively. I think we made progress.
So, thank you the the Middlebury Center for Social Entrepreneurship for a wonderful and productive forum.