March 10, 2011
In the second installment of the Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Enterprise Series, presented by the Rollins MBA Center for Advanced Entrepreneurship, renowned social entrepreneur, Sheryl WuDunn, shared her insights on how gender inequality directly inhibits the economic progress of developing countries. Throughout the well-attended event, members of the Rollins community as well as local professional entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to ask questions of WuDunn and take part in the discussion.
Sam Barns (Class of 2011MBA) introduced the speakers and defined social entrepreneurship for the audience as “recognizing a societal problem and using entrepreneurial principles to organize, create, and manage a venture to make change and advance the public good.” Following the presentation, Barns commented that he found the experience especially rewarding. “I have always been really interested in social entrepreneurship and I hope to pursue a career in that field following graduation from Crummer.”
Debbie Farah, CEO and founder of Bajalia International Group, had the opportunity to impart her personal experience as a local social entrepreneur with those in attendance. Farah described how her sustainable jewelry company empowers women in developing countries and affects change in local economies. “Social entrepreneurs don’t give someone a fish or even teach fishing. They completely revolutionize the fishing industry.”
“Talent is everywhere but opportunity is not,” explained WuDunn on the importance of education in developing countries. “Education provides individuals with the basic tools they need to live a successful life. You can’t run a business if you can’t count.” WuDunn also explained how women’s issues are tied to economic progress. “You can tell the future of a country by the way it embraces women in society.”
In a call to action, WuDunn urged students and professionals alike to join this movement. “In order to have transformational change worldwide, we need everyone to care about women’s freedom.” Explaining how she got involved, WuDunn described how she was affected by the ‘soul-shaking’ stories of women she met while researching her New York Times Best Selling book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. “I couldn’t live with myself not doing anything to help those heroic women. Being a social entrepreneur greatly enhances my life.”
The Center for Advanced Entrepreneurship has yet again provided the Rollins community with engaging, enriching and relevant information and discussion. For more information on upcoming events, please visit http://www.rollins.edu/crummer/entrepreneurship/index.html
By Justin Braun (Class of 2011MBA)