Posts Tagged ‘Local SE’

We are recruiting for Spring 2022!

Sunday, October 31st, 2021

 Do you want a transformative learning experience like Samantha and Usman?

Why: You want a change from the traditional classroom. You are interested in social justice and want to address social challenges in our local community. You want to learn how social enterprises solve real-world problems and learn collaboratively with change makers. If any of this is true for you, please read more and take action.images

What: This Spring, the College’s Social Entrepreneurship Program is offering IDPT 40507 Local Social Entrepreneurship Seminar. The problems-based experiential-learning seminar will meet one time a week for two hours. Students earn 0.5 academic credits and EL credits.

How: Teams of three will be paired with a local nonprofit organization. You will work closely with the organizations all semester to help them solve a defined problem they are currently facing. Weekly seminar sessions will be led by Dr. Amyaz Moledina (Economics), Dr Matt Mariola (Env. Studies), and Dr Melanie Long (Economics). An expected outcome from the seminar is a business & marketing plan and a final presentation to the Board of the organization. No prior experience is necessary. We do require your enthusiasm, passion for the problem, and a strong work-ethic. Space in the seminar is limited. A short application is required. The deadline to submit your application is Wednesday November 10th at 11pm. The application requires you to write a cover letter, work on a resume, and an unofficial transcript. Please click on this link to start the application.

More info: Come to our information session on Friday November 5th at 12:00pm (noon). Please contact Professor Moledina if you have questions about the next SE opportunity.

Catalyzing Food Entrepreneurship

Wednesday, August 4th, 2021

Despite the pandemic, the SE program continued its commitment to working with social change organizations. Three students, Claira Schiffrik, Eraj Sikandar, and Keegan King advised by Professor Moledina worked with FoodSphere: the Entrepreneurial Center at Local Roots for the 2021 local SE seminar. FoodSphere is a new start-up organization. FoodSphere aims to cultivate economic growth and sustainability by supporting local farmers and entrepreneurs of value-added agricultural products in Wayne County. The student team researched the structure and operation of U.S. food incubators to understand “How successful food incubators organize and fund themselves”. Over the course of the Spring semester 2021, students conducted interviews on Zoom. They compiled their findings in a report that they presented to the Board of Directors of Food Sphere and other community members who are part of the local food movement in Wooster.

Keegan, Moledina, Eraj, and Claira

The findings stressed the importance of grants in the early stages of food incubators. As our students wrote in the final report: “Incubators operate with a combination of grants, philanthropic contributions, and fees for services. Incubators always rely heavily on grants in their early developmental stages. Many of them move away from grant reliance as their producers become more profitable and the Incubator earns more from fees. Revenue from fee-for-service can be maximized by providing a diverse range of services above and beyond training programs, such as using the kitchen space for co-manufacturing.”

The student research was part of $70,000 grant from the Ohio State University. To read more about the grant, see this news story. Stay tuned to this website to find out when the SE program will be recruiting students next.


SE’s value proposition

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

By Samantha McNelly
As a first year college student, I only had a general idea of what I wanted my major to be and what I wanted to do after college. I just knew that eventually, I wanted to work in an environment that allowed me to help make the lives of others better.

Samantha McNelly

Samantha McNelly

I certainly had no idea how to reach that goal, or really what that even meant to me. When I enrolled in the local social entrepreneurship program, I was quickly thrown into a world of budgets, business plans, and risk analyses, which were quite far removed from the abstract political discussions in which I often found myself involved. Instead of using academic tools to understand a problem, I was being forced to use business and analytical tools to act on a problem. In the global social entrepreneurship program, I was able to use many of the skills I learned in local social entrepreneurship and apply them in a dramatically different cultural, political, social, and economic environment.

The local and global social entrepreneurship programs cannot be oversold. These two programs helped me cultivate new skills and interests that dramatically improved my personal agency. While there is a certain academic element to these programs, they reach much deeper than any other classroom experience and force the students to challenge any preconceived notions they have about a particular issue and then find a way to address the root of the problem in an innovative, creative, and practical way. This is not easy for a group of 18-22 year olds, but I saw remarkable growth in my teammates and myself as a result of tackling these daunting challenges.

It has now been three years since I participated in the local social entrepreneurship program, and two years since I went to India with the global team. I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that these two programs not only helped me determine my major, but were more formative than any of my other experiences in college because they reach beyond traditional academics and demand creativity, dedication, a positive attitude, humility paired with persistence, and the willingness to grow personally. Because of my participation in the social entrepreneurship programs, I am much more comfortable tackling problems and projects that others find overwhelming or “impossible.” I have a greater belief in my own abilities and potential to affect positive change in the world. I have had experiences I would have never had without these programs and met many wonderful people that I am a better person for having spent time with. I have acquired an intense, positive, persistent, and sometimes single-minded determination to defy expectations and push the limits of what is traditionally accepted as “good enough,” because I now believe that it is within my abilities to do something real, powerful, and groundbreaking. I have transformed from a concerned and confused student to an active and empowered soon-to-be college graduate. Most importantly, I have learned about myself and gained confidence in my abilities and passions, which I know will continue to push me to explore new opportunities, accept and overcome more challenges, and to continue to make myself better so I am better able to pursue my goals.

Editors note: Sam is currently in the Peace Corps program in Cameroon.

Local SE 2012

Friday, January 18th, 2013

The Local SE Team from 2012 worked with three organizations this last fall: The Wilderness Center of Wilmot Ohio, Lifes Little Adventure Farm and Green Township Historical Society.  Each of these organizations presented a unique business challenge to the student teams.

Teamwork is awesome! For 2012, Wilderness Center, Green Township and Life Little Adventures SE groups.

Teamwork is awesome! For 2012, Wilderness Center, Green Township and Life Little Adventures SE groups.

One of the challenges in our local community is diagnosing sensory disorder. Even more challenging is trying to finance mental health treatment, especially for low-income children. Life’s Little Adventure Farm had the idea of a cooperative clinic that would serve children from low-income families who suffer from Sensory Disorder. The Green Township Historical Society came to us with another idea. They wanted to turn the historic Smithville High School into a community center. Finally, our long-time client, the Wilderness Center wanted to create a Wilderness festival showcasing green films to increase environmental awareness. Over the course of the semester, the three student groups worked closely with their clients, meeting weekly. The final product was a financial feasibility plan.