LIU Post MBA Students Give Back to Society
Innovative Social Entrepreneurship course assists not-for-profit organizations with their business problems
Rita Langdon,Associate Provost for Communications, Public Relations & Marketing
Long Island University, LIU Post
Brookville, N.Y. -- Can a business plan save the world? Graduating M.B.A. students at LIU Post are willing to give it a try by applying the knowledge and skills acquired in their previous courses in helping not-for-profit organizations with their business-related problems.
By placing social responsibility equal to profit, students in the master’s-level course “Social Entrepreneurship Seminar” are studying the effectiveness of using innovative solutions to help solve pressing social issues.
The students are divided into teams to work on three separate projects. Two groups are working with the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless, Inc. and Community Housing Innovations, Inc. The goal for both teams is to develop a marketing strategy that raises awareness of Long Island’s homeless problem, while generating support and cooperation from the business community by utilizing social media techniques.
The third team is developing a marketing strategy for the construction of a state-of-the-art laboratory for the School of Health Professions and Nursing at LIU Post. The business students are also exploring the possibility of establishing cooperative relationships with biotech firms that wish to partner with the University.
“Social entrepreneurship is becoming a major component of the business world,” said business professor and course instructor Dr. James L. Freeley. “Where most entrepreneurs start a business to make a profit, social entrepreneurs set up a business that will make a profit and benefit society.”
This is third year the class has been offered. Each time, different not-for-profit groups are offered free assistance. Dr. Ilene Nathanson, Pamela Broadlieb, and Dr. Elissa Giffords of the LIU Post Department of Social Work, suggested the students work with the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless and Community Housing Innovations, while Dr. MaryAnn Clark, dean of the LIU School of Health Professions and Nursing, asked for assistance with the laboratory.
“In working with the other departments at LIU Post, as well as helping outside organizations, these graduate business students are able to apply their training and expertise to a ‘real world’ situation, as well as give back to society, which is one of the main roles of a University,” Dr. Freeley said. “More specifically, these M.B.A. student projects also demonstrate the value of using business concepts and techniques in solving social problems.”
The growing trend of social entrepreneurs reached new heights when the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Bangladeshi economist Muhammed Yunus, Ph.D., founder of Grameen Bank, for his work in establishing micro-loans to assist the poorest residents of Bangladesh to become self-sufficient entrepreneurs and raise themselves out of poverty.
“The old business model was giving charitable donations or using government grants. The new business model generates income that works towards a greater good,” Dr. Freeley said.
In addition to learning about social entrepreneurship, students also will have the opportunity to meet and interact with several Long Island CEOs in rare question-and-answer sessions in small class settings.
This class is the fourth component in an on-going project conducted by Dr. Freeley, an expert on entrepreneurship in the College of Management of LIU Post. For more than 30 years, he has been involved in various aspects of the field of entrepreneurship and is the author of articles, papers and books on the subject. In addition to a video archive, “History of Entrepreneurship on Long Island,” in which he interviews successful Long Island CEOs, Dr. Freeley conducted a national research study that resulted in an Entrepreneurship Style Profile questionnaire.
This profile is used to assist future entrepreneurs in analyzing their own characteristics and chances of success. He also is the author of a book titled “Are You an Entrepreneur?” which discusses the 12 characteristics of a successful entrepreneur and outlines, in simple and practical terms, the steps necessary to start a business.
For more information, contact Dr. Freeley at James.Freeley @liu.edu
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