October 11, 2013
Thirteen Franklin Pierce University students participated in a social business innovation challenge. Timed to coincide with a visit to the University of New Hampshire by Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, who pioneered the microcredit industry, the challenge culminated in a Sept. 30 conference sponsored by the Paul College of Business & Economics at UNH.
Business administration professor Mack Bean charged each of three groups of students in his course on managing nonprofits with creating a proposal for a nonprofit social business. A social business’s primary goal is to provide a benefit to the community. One group developed a program for promoting the use of helmets by bicyclists and skateboarders on the University’s campus. Another responded to the devastation of recent earthquakes in China by creating a plan for a business that would provide relief after natural disasters. The third group focused on Franklin Pierce student safety, proposing that the campus eatery Raven’s Nest stay open until early morning so that students wouldn’t have to drive off campus for late-night snacks.
Professor Bean said a highlight of the conference, attended by five members of the Franklin Pierce faculty, was Yunus’s discussion of his life and experiences that led to the social business industry and the challenges of creating and maintaining such a business. Inspired by Yunus’s talk, Professor Bean said faculty members are working on a proposal to create a student-run social business incubator on the Rindge campus.
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