Social Enterprise: New Business?

Just What is Social Enterprise?

Social enterprise can be challenging to define.  The concept has been evolving rapidly in recent years and increasingly blurs the lines of the traditional business, government and nonprofit sectors. A social enterprise is an organization or initiative that marries the social mission of a non-profit or government program with the market-driven approach of a business.

WHY Social Enterprise? 

One reason for the rise of Social Enterprise is simple – people want change in the world, people want to make a difference – and people want to contribute to a better world with what they do everyday, in their job, in the products and services they buy, in where and how they get their energy. Trends in global discourse on life and business now include words like empathy and mindfulness, and people understand more than ever that their world and the people in it are increasingly interconnected.

Despite progress, big issues to fix still remain in the world – systemic issues of poverty, inequality, concentration of wealth and power, access to basic goods and services, global consumption of resources and rising population, climate change, and human rights abuses to name a few. All of these large complex problems require creative and sustainable solutions to make real progress. This is where social enterprise comes in. Social enterprise has proven a powerful force toward confronting these global challenges. One of the most interesting and exciting aspects of social enterprise’s evolution is the growing variety of issues being addressed by market-oriented solutions.

Today, social enterprises are disrupting markets across every industry and tackling social challenges throughout every corner of the world.

Recognize any of these businesses?

They’re all social enterprises.

DC Central Kitchen / w​ DC

Central Kitchen is a nationally recognized “community kitchen” that recycles food from around Washington DC and uses it as a tool to train unemployed adults to develop work skills while providing thousands of meals for local service agencies in the process.

TOMS Shoes / w​

Toms is a for-profit company that sells shoes and other products and creates social good through its “Buy One Give One” (BOGO) model. For example, when Toms sells a pair of shoes, a new pair of shoes is given to an impoverished child, and when Toms sells a pair of eyewear, part of the profit is used to save or restore the eyesight for people in developing countries.

Greyston Bakery​ ​

Greyston Bakery provides employment for the homeless in a bakery that makes brownies for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. As Greyston says, “we don’t hire people to bake brownies, we bake brownies to hire people.” It is known for its “open hiring” practices, where anyone can sign up regardless of background. All profit from the company go to the Greyston Foundation, which uses it for low-income housing, day care open to the community, a medical center for those with AIDS, and other community endeavors.

Interested in Learning More?

Here are our recommended reading picks on social entrepreneurship:

  • How to Change the World by David Bornstein
  • The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz
  • Creating a World Without Poverty by Muhammad Yunus
  • Mission in a Bottle by Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff

And take a look at the Summerfuel Social Entrepreneurship programs for a hands-on venture development opportunity.  SE at Stanford / SE at Georgetown


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Final Days!

It’s Friday! The Summerfuel Stanford program is coming to a close. Students enjoyed a dance by Lake Lagunita on Stanford’s Campus last night, and had a great time! Today, the students presented their projects -which they presented to judges yesterday-in a poster session to their peers. We are looking forward to soaking up our last day with them as they prepare for departure.

Their Big Day is Upon Us!

Our “Coffee House” night was fabulous! We provided students with  a coffee/tea /hot chocolate bar as well as a trail mix bar where they made their own snacks.  Several students performed in front of the entire camp! We had a magic show, a few breathtaking musical performances, some hilarious poetry, and a few stunts. We were also privileged enough to see Kevin’s ultimate bottle flipping- it was awesome!

Tomorrow is when the students present their final projects to a panel consisting of founders of other social entrepreneurship companies. These last three weeks in class has been in preparation for these projects and we are so excited to see how they turned out!! Starting at 9 am tomorrow, each group (four students in each group) will present on their enterprise which are designed to attempt to solve or answer some aspect of critical social or environmental issues.

We will post more tomorrow on the specific companies the groups made as well as the issues the companies plan on tackling!


The Stanford Team




Coming to a Close!

As Summerfuel at Stanford is coming to a close, we are spending as much time possible soaking up the Californian sunshine, and making memories to last a lifetime.

Recently, students and staff participated in various relay races. Activities included everyone linking arms, and passing a hula hoop around the circle as quickly as possible without breaking the hand- to hand connection, blindfolding a team member and guiding them through a makeshift “minefield” of miscellaneous items using only audio clues from other members as where to step, and balancing an egg on a spoon while racing up and down a designated location.

Since the previous weekend excursions to the Santa Cruz beach, and San Francisco Union Square shopping centers, students have been determinedly working to prepare for the end-of-program presentations. Students were given real- world issues, such as women’s rights in the Middle East, and were prompted to come up with ideas regarding potential resolutions to such problems.

Tonight, we are hosting a “Coffee House” in Xanadu, where some students have volunteered to informally preform a talent they possess– while enjoying refreshments, relaxing, and listening to music within the lounge.


The Stanford Team

Santa Cruz Beach Day!

After another week of hard work, we went to the beach to unwind and relax in sunny Santa Cruz, California. The students enjoyed exploring the boardwalk, playing sand volleyball, and relaxing in the sun.  


Even after a long day at the beach, our students got in their groups to work on their presentations, and some even practiced their talents for the upcoming open-mic night.


Mock Rock 2016!

Wow – it seems like just yesterday the students stepped foot on campus, and as of today, we are about 2/3 the way through the program!!! We’re having a blast together!

Last night, the students engaged in an incredible evening activity on the Xanadu Stage (aka the lounge)! Students competed against their peers in a lip sync battle. Each team was allowed to utilize props, and add their own special dance routine to the songs performed. Students lip-synced to Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus, No by Meghan Trainor, All about that bass by Meghan Trainor, Work from home by Fifth Harmony, Jealous by Nick Jonas, Shake it off by Taylor Swift, Single Ladies by Beyoncé & Sorry by Justin Bieber.

The students enjoyed watching each group’s performance and snacking on popcorn! We had a few Summerfuel staff members serve as judges for the performances and ranked them in the following categories: Creativity, Energy, Dancing, Song Accuracy, Performance Popularity, Organization, & Uniqueness! The award for “Best Overall Performance” was given to the students who lip-synced the song, Jealous by Nick Jonas!

Summerfuel Showdown 2016

Let the games begin!

This week we held our very own game show a.k.a “The Summerfuel Showdown 2016″. Our students were divided into four groups and competed against each other for the ultimate bragging rights! We played three games, including Pictionary, Great Minds Think Alike, and Act it Out.

During Pictionary, each team sent up a representative to draw a secret word on the board and the rest of the team members shouted out their guesses with each correct guess worth 100 points.

Three representatives were sent up to play Great Minds Think Alike. The representatives were given a topic, for example “things you find in the dining hall” and had 15 seconds to write down the first three things to come to mind. For every matching word, the teams received 100 points.

Our final game was Act it Out, a version of charades that got the whole team involved. Each team had a list of ten words they were given and one person had to guess the clues while the rest of the team acted out the actions listed on the cards. The students had a blast and ultimately they were all winners!



The Stanford Team

Fourth of July and Mega Twister!

Happy Fourth of July!

Our second week is off to great start! After our weekend excursion to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, the students filled out postcards to send home to their loved ones! So family members, be on the lookout for some heartfelt postcards coming your way! IMG_0404

In celebration of the Fourth of July the students made s’mores and ate classic American firecracker popsicles (Red White and Blue). They also played a friendly competitive game at night. We’ve all heard of twister, but Mega Twister takes the game to a whole new level, allowing everyone to play at once! Check out the following pictures of the event and it becomes apparent that each student was determined to win! All in all, Fourth of July was a great way to start the new week and we look forward to sharing more!FullSizeRender (3)image1 (2)


The Stanford Team