Launch of the Global Social Enterprise Institute at Le Moyne College

Still from the GSEI Institute

Launch of the Global Social Enterprise Institute and Community Engagement Initiatives at Le Moyne College

In recent times the Madden School of Business has been taking steps to place Le Moyne College at the forefront of social entrepreneurship and impact investing on a global scale. This week the Madden School of Business announced some very exciting news, namely that it has launched its Global Social Enterprise (GSE) Institute. This ushers in a new era for social enterprise, as the Institute has a remit to facilitate international collaborative exchange and grow talent in this sector which includes taking steps to engage communities. As well, and as you might expect, the GSE Institute will provide programs and courses and will take a leading role in driving research in this sector.

The GSE Institute has emerged out of an initiative that has been running as a result of a Clinton Foundation CGI sponsored project called the Startup Insider Initiative. The Institute’s figurehead is W. Michael Short who also happens to hold the newly devised role of Social Entrepreneur in Residence at Le Moyne. Short will serve as both CEO and president of the Institute, in addition to his Residence role. To date it is estimated that W. Michael Short has been working on a variety of projects on a national basis, in conjunction with both universities and organizations. These have involved almost 250 students. W. Michael Short has also been working at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, as well as the Whitman School of Management. Short is an excellent choice for the role, given his work in Short Enterprises, an organization that he started in 2011.

W. Michael Short

W. Michael Short, with MBA students collaborating on the project at the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University.

One of the goals of the GSE Institute is to establish what challenges exist in terms of driving growth in the social enterprise sector. While the Institute is located in New York it also seeks to build relationships globally as well, providing assistance to social enterprise projects worldwide. The GSE Institute hopes that through its activities it will accelerate the development and reach of social entrepreneurship around the world. It will be aided in doing this through an international network of partners that it is building, and student run chapters will also help to facilitate this.

GSE Institute And The Community Social Venture Connect Program

One of the significant undertakings of the GSE Institute to date on a regional scale is the initiation and implementation of the Community Social Venture Connect program or CSVC. This is focused on providing workshops and consultancy with the objective of helping to empower organizations that are “strengthening the region through social enterprise initiatives.” The CSVC program is considered to be a pilot, and aims to focus in particular on organisations that want to create business models that are more sustainable.

CSVC already has a number of participants. One is the Catholic Charities of Onondaga County, and this organisation is running Project Joseph. Project Joseph focuses on recruiting people that are recent refugees and the homeless and helps them to get back into employment through offering them the much needed training and skills to do so. There is also the Westside Family Resource Center which is run by P.E.A.C.E, Inc. This has been creating chances for social entrepreneurship in the poorest neighbourhood of the city, and has 40 participants. The

The Huntingdon Family Centers, Inc. is another organisation that is being assisted as it seeks to undertake a number of activities such as creating a renewable energy installation that will provide revenue as well as reviewing the possibility of a micro-grid installation. Additionally the Central New York Jazz Arts Foundation, Inc. is being worked with to help with bettering arts education and programs in the area. Yet another participant is the Le Moyne’s Makers Zone. This has a focus of trying to create prosthetic limbs by taking advantage of the opportunities offered by 3D printing. Finally, Sustainability for Scholarships is also being assisted. This is an initiative run by students at Le Moyne which carries out community recycling with the goal of raising money for scholarship for veterans.

Steps have also been taken to monitor the impact and outcomes of these participants. This has traditionally been quite challenging with different projects measuring different indicators for success. Improving in this area is thought to be helpful for investors that want to know how to invest in social enterprise and where benefits will be most felt. Recipients of support have responded very positively and have a hope that they can grow their impact as a result, to benefit more people. Positive community benefits are also being noted already. The participants have reported aspirations of greater empowerment of their own program recipients as well as the chance to create even better quality services, at least part through identifying new sources of revenue.

In addition to the good work already mentioned, the CSVC Program is working with the Small Business Development Center at Onondaga Community College. This is a worthwhile partnership, not least because the SBDC has led to almost 7,000 jobs being created and a regional impact of $165 million since it was started.

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