doing well by doing good: what can business learn from social entrepreneurship

On May 14, 2014 a Corporate Partners Program workshop explored the notion of putting social good alongside profit. Invited experts in the field of social entrepreneurship shared their knowledge and experience with UCLA faculty, researchers, and students. Social entrepreneurship exists at the crossroads between profit-based growth and not-for-profit ideals of changing the world for the better. It is a value driven approach to business that can lead to impactful change. Panelists explained how sustainability has influenced their work and how it has become a central tenet in many entrepreneurial endeavors.

Highlights from the panelists included:

Christopher Brereton
Founder
PwrdBy

Christopher Brereton’s organization, PwrdBy, sits at the intersection of philanthropy and mobile communications. The company helps nonprofits use mobile technology to advance their mission. Brereton explained how PwrdBy designs mobile application solutions for the nonprofit sector such as those addressing donor management and volunteer coordination.

Carrie Norton
Founder and CEO
Green Business BASE CAMP

Carrie Norton talked about the original definition of social entrepreneurship and the fluidity around the vocabulary used to illustrate the term. She emphasized that it is profitable to develop solutions that have a good, positive impact on the planet and society. Norton’s “green boot camp” trains early stage entrepreneurs and offers customized curricula for those interested and invested in making social and environmental impacts. She said it is important from the start to embed sustainability into the DNA of a company and translate it into everyday operations. She advised reviewing the supply chain and holding all constituents (suppliers, producers, etc.) to specific standards a company can feel good about.

Megan Rast
Sustainability Director
Sony Pictures Entertainment

Megan Rast discussed how the entertainment industry can be influential with green initiatives. Her presentation, “Powered by Super Heroes for the Planet,” covered the “Amazing Spider-Man 2’s” environmental efforts on-set and off.

Charles Corbett
Professor
UCLA Anderson School of Management

Charles Corbett’s work focuses on the interfaces between operations management, sustainability, and entrepreneurship. He discussed how for-profit and non-profit entrepreneurs and small business owners make decisions and run their organizations on a day-to-day basis.