Marijo Upshaw, MSW, MBA, is an experienced social entrepreneur. Her career has spanned over 30 years at the social administration, leadership and management level. She received a MSW from Wayne State University and a MBA from the Executive MBA Program at Rutgers University. She serves on the adjunct faculty at both the School of Social Work (SSW) and the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She has developed social entrepreneurship curriculum for both schools and teaches courses in Social Entrepreneurship, Impact Investing. Intervention and Program Planning and Social Work Leadership.
Marijo co-chairs the Social Entrepreneurship Committee at the SSW. SAGE publishers and the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) awarded the committee the Innovative in Teaching Award in 2018 for the ground-breaking work the committee is doing to promote and foster entrepreneurship among key social work stakeholders including students, alumni, faculty/staff and community members. The committee plans and hosts numerous events that encourage and support would-be and existing social work entrepreneurs including an annual Social Entrepreneurship Conference that attracts over 250 participants, a Social Work Start-up Story Night that features budding and long-time social work innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders in for-impact organizations, and Social Work Build, a 9-week business planning course for aspiring social work entrepreneurs developed in partnership with The Build Institute in Southwest Detroit.
Previously, Marijo was a principal of Social Work p.r.n., an entrepreneurial start-up that grew into the leading national provider of social work staffing services in the U.S. She also served as the Leader of Financial Services for Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin, Inc., where she led a broad portfolio of dynamic programs to help vulnerable populations build financial capabilities that touched the lives of 10,000 people annually.
Marijo is passionate about helping others build ventures and movements that address transformative, inclusive and equitable social impact and systems change through innovation and enterprise. Additionally, she desires to address a gap in the social work research around entrepreneurship and better understand the entrepreneurial intentions of social workers. She is currently pursuing an advanced research certificate from the SSW; her research interests coalesce around the intersection of social work and entrepreneurship. Marijo recently received a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Entrepreneurship to participate in their research bootcamp. The bootcamp brings together entrepreneurs, policy advocates, policymakers, and support organizations for discussions the complex needs of entrepreneurship and provides mentorship and development workshops focused on research for practical impact, evolving questions in the study of entrepreneurship, new opportunities for data and methods, and career trajectories in the field.