PSU Graduates First Class of Social Innovation Certificate Participants

September 29, 2014 at 8:55 am Leave a comment

Deidre Schuetz works with a fellow student on mapping personal business plans, a final portion of the certificate curriculum.

Students Deidre Schuetz and Gina Condon collaborate during a certificate workshop.

Portland State University’s Impact Entrepreneurs recently completed the pilot year of the new Business of Social Innovation Certificate, a professional and academic certificate delivered from within the School of Business.

The program’s goal, audacious from the start, was to greatly enhance an individual’s likelihood of transforming world-changing ideas into reality, whether working within an established organization or launching their own.

Aside from the ambitious mission, even getting the program up and running seemed like it would require some magic. The Impact Entrepreneurs team had only a few months to run design sessions for the program; tackle online learning tools; recruit instructors; record lectures; attract and register students; and move through the local, state, and regional accreditation processes.

Each term of the first year of the certificate was as much a challenge for the team delivering the content as it was for the cohort executing the coursework. Everyone involved was working hard, from the instructors to the diverse cohort of undergraduate and graduate students, nonprofit executives and for-profit business managers. Students completed three intensive online courses, attended site visits with twelve local social enterprises, and a developed a full business plan. What was the result of this collective marathon? Outstanding emerging ideas to address social problems and invaluable feedback based in experience to drive the program into year two.

The program participants developed:

lightbulbConstruct Foundation’s new Citywide Design Challenge for students, to be announced during Design Week Portland.

lightbulbA new learning center at Universidad Catolica del Norte in Chile to improve retention and graduation rates.

lightbulbA childcare facility for homeless families that offers fees on a sliding scale and flexible hours.

lightbulbA cause marketing campaign to enable local breweries to support the Oregon Food Bank through competitions and seasonal beers.

lightbulbNew ways for NGO Lanyi Fan‘s programs to support sustainable entrepreneurship in West Africa.

… and more.

What they thought:

The Social Innovation Certificate program was an inspiring,300px-Speech_bubble.svg positively challenging, practical experience that provided tools, insights and resources to convert ideas to sustainable actions that drive change. It supported my professional and personal goals in a meaningful, invaluable way, and facilitated a stronger network of passionate individuals of diverse backgrounds, committed to addressing systemic issues and opportunities in our community. – Rhian Rotz, Director of Corporate Citizenship, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, Portland

The program not only taught me how to start a business with a so300px-Speech_bubble.svgcial mission, it also changed my ideology about the business world  and gave me direction for after graduation. It was hard work but the benefits that I gained from the program are countless. I am so happy to have been a part of this experience and consider it an important milestone in my education as well as my personal life. – Patrick Ditty, Heavy Equipment Technician at Peterson Machinery, Portland

The program has been an amazing experience for me next to my doctoral studies in education at PSU. The classes, online discussions an300px-Speech_bubble.svgd assignments have provided me different skills I can use as I think and develop ideas as an entrepreneur. The framework in which the content is developed is flexible and inclusive. You will experience, in a close-to-the-real setting, how to develop your idea step by step with excellent feedback from your peers and instructors.  I totally recommend taking this program. – Paulina Gutierrez Zepeda, Assistant Professor at Universidad Catolica del Norte, Chile

Enjoy more photos from the 2014 certificate experience here.

Entry filed under: Design Thinking, Opportunities for social innovators, Social Entrepreneurship, Social Entrepreneurship Certificate, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , .

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