Social Entrepreneurship Through Business Plan Projects

April 30 was a big day for ten California Baptist University students, as they got the chance to present business plans they created for a social enterprise run by a local charity, Path of Life.

These students were split into two teams and each had to create a business model for a local thrift store and present it to Tracy Fitzsimmons, chief operating officer of Path of Life, Bryan Feller, a board member and Keanon Alderson, assistant professor of business.

“There were two groups of students, five in each group,” Darla Donaldson, lecturer of business, said. “The teams scoured Riverside to find the best location for the thrift store, and came up with plans to differentiate their thrift store from the others in town.”

One group of five was eventually selected as the winner by the three judges and was awarded free movie tickets, but according to Donaldson, both groups had strong business plans, and Path of Life plans on using ideas from each plan in their development of an actual thrift store.

This is the latest project that is part of Path of Life’s social enterprises, and another example of the growing trend of social entrepreneurship.

Donaldson noticed this growing trend, and conducted research to develop a new concentration in Social Entrepreneurship for Business Administration majors.

The new concentration is open for enrollment now, and classes will begin fall 2012.

“Social enterprise has begun to be one of the hot topics on campus,” Donaldson said. “We saw a need for this concentration, and we went for it.”

The process took about one year to research and create the classes for the new concentration, and it was approved in March.

Students who select Social Entrepreneurship as their major concentration will be required to take four classes, BUS362 “Social Entrepreneurship,” BUS361 “Entrepreneurial Opportunity Analysis,” “Microfinance,” and either BUS491 “Business Internship” or ICS375 “World Movements and Current Events.”

“People see TOMS shoes, but people do not currently associate that with social enterprise,” Donaldson said. “I have gone into classes and asked how many people know about social enterprise and no hands may be raised, but all students know about TOMS shoes, so in order to raise the interest in the subject people must be educated on what social enterprise is.”

Donaldson and the Robert K. Jabs school of business want to educate students on the importance of social entrepreneurial enterprises and help them understand how they can create businesses such as TOMS shoes, Little Dresses for Africa and Krochet Kids.

“Social enterprise is using business skills and innovation to impact society where the current methods of fixing the problem is not working,” Donaldson said.

Following along the same lines as the concentration in Social Entrepreneurship, the CBU school of Christian Ministries has a new concentration in Social Justice which was also approved in March, this concentration was developed by Amy Stumpf, Associate Professor of Society and Religion.

About Neil Morgan

Hi! I am the Managing Editor for the Banner. I love to write, especially about sports. I am getting married and graduating soon. I have worked on the Banner for four semesters. I also write for I love CBU. Thanks for reading a little tidbit about me.

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