‘Walking’ Through Social Entrepreneurship

By Sidney Thomas

On Thursday, October 2nd, Dr. Mark Walker (father of MCDS senior Margaux Walker) spoke to the Community Learning Partner members as well as any other students who elected to attend the meeting, held in Dr. Conea’s room. He gave a thought provoking speech on social entrepreneurship and interacted with students providing them with his expertise and passionate views on aiding people.

Dr. Walker’s speech centralized around differentiating the terms “entrepreneurship” and “social entrepreneurship.” He stated that entrepreneurship is the motion of starting a project or business, usually for monetary gain. Social entrepreneurship follows the same guideline, except instead of monetary success the goal is to solve a problem in society geared towards helping the greater good. He concluded his speech by challenging the students to form small groups in which they would come up with a project that embraces the central ideas of social entrepreneurship. Soon after he added the stipulation that upperclassmen had to pair with underclassmen so that the upperclassmen could impart some wisdom on the younger people in the room, a small act of social entrepreneurship in itself.

As the first few minutes ticked by the flow of ideas was stagnant. But once one group thought of something, the ideas began to flourish; it was contagious. First, Orville Mohe and Iraj Khamsi sprang to life and began drawing complex designs of an energy generating shoe. Their “social issue” to solve was the short battery life of phones and how people wish they could charge their phones anywhere anytime,specifically on class trips when the bonding time is slightly over kill. Orville and Iraj proposed to create a shoe with a small fan in the sole which rotated and would create energy anytime it was stepped on. This energy would then charge the cell phone (presumably through a cord) and a student would never be stuck in Fontana Village with no cell-phone battery ever again! Next, Ian Zigel, an aspiring filmmaker and director of the Student Government homecoming video, proposed a solution to the affordability of a fun night out for families and the lack of platforms for aspiring filmmakers to showcase their work. Ian proposed a series of independent film festivals should be held in a large area, like a public park, where families could pay a bare minimum of two dollars per ticket (versus an eleven dollar movie ticket) and where aspiring filmmakers could showcase their films pertaining to a certain social issue. The money from the tickets, as well as any donations from people who could afford it, would be put towards the social issue that the film would pertain to.

All of the ideas proposed were well thought out and Dr. Walker gave each group insightful feedback. After the ideas had been discussed and improved, he concluded the meeting by informing the group that there would be a social entrepreneurship competition (date yet to be determined) where the top five groups would receive gift cards to be put towards educational supplies and anything school related. This competition will not only prove to be an incentive for many students to tap into their brilliant minds, but it will also serve as a platform for any student who is already inspired by social entrepreneurship to guide their passion to come to fruition.