Teaching Social Innovation in Nepal: Update from the Mercy Corps Entrepreneurial Leaders Program

October 19, 2011 at 9:51 am Leave a comment

What does increasing productivity for ginger farmers in Nepal have in common with reducing maternal deaths in Tajikistan? They were two of the six outstanding social enterprise concepts pitched by participants in the 2011 Impact Entrepreneurs – Mercy Corps Entrepreneurial Leaders Program (ELP) last week in Nepal.

From October 10-14th, PSU School of Business Administration’s Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, Scott Marshall, and Impact Entrepreneurs’ Managing Director, Cindy Cooper, delivered the ELP course on Strategy Development and Social Innovation to 31 ELP participants from 18 Mercy Corps country programs and peer agencies Save the Children and World Vision.

In just four days, teams defined a social problem of significance and developed innovative solutions complete with business models, core competency analyses, marketing plans, and three-year projections for social and financial impacts.

Their hard work culminated in 10-minute pitch presentations followed by hard-hitting questions from an illustrious panel of judges: Sanjay Karki, Mercy Corps Nepal Country Director; Brian Hunter, Save the Children Nepal Country Director; and Madhukar SJB Rana, former Nepalese Finance Minister and South Asian Institute of Management Professor. Judges were so compelled by the pitches that there was a tie for first place. Great work, teams!

Hard-working ELP participants still found time to play a few games of soccer.

The Strategy Development and Social Innovation course was the fourth of six ELP business courses. In March, 2011, participants attended courses on Financial Management, Problem Solving and Decision Making, and Business Process Design and Improvement. As this post is published, the participants are completing the program’s two final courses: Practical Project Management, delivered by PSU faculty Chris Dennis, and Leadership Assessment and Development, delivered by Impact Entrepreneurs’ Executive Director, Carolyn McKnight.

Stay tuned for more photos and updates on our blog and Facebook page!

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Interview with Catherine Ellingson, Social Enterprise Director at New Avenues for Youth Apply to the 2012 Social Innovation Incubator Circuit Program

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