Social Entrepreneurship

New thinking about the power of business and entrepreneurship to affect positive social change can be found in the emerging field of social entrepreneurship. There is no standard definition of social entrepreneurship. Broadly defined, social entrepreneurship includes both social innovation (e.g. new services and products, new processes or new target markets) and social enterprise (e.g. applying business and entrepreneurship principles in the social sector including earned revenue strategies that further mission and social impact). Social entrepreneurs include enterprising and innovative change agents who use business band entrepreneurship knowledge, skills, and abilities to address with address protracted social problems like homelessness, poverty, and violence.  Social entrepreneurs desire to understand the root causes of protracted social problems, to leverage small efforts to produce maximum change through social enterprise and social innovation, to engage communities in solving their own problems, to attract impact investments, and to build replicable and sustainable models of practice. Social work scholars and researchers interested in this emerging field have noted the goodness of fit between social entrepreneurship and social work's core values. Those values as expressed in the profession's Code of Ethics include meeting the basic needs of people, empowering marginalized and oppressed communities, and addressing problems in living all of which are represented in the major tenants and practices of social entrepreneurship.

Social Work Entrepreneurship

Throughout our history as a profession, social workers have acted entrepreneurially starting new ventures whether they took the form of founding charitable organizations, government programs, or progressive social movements. Jane Addams who is widely regarded as the "Mother of Social Work" for her pioneering work in founding the Hull House Settlement House in Chicago that served the needs of the poor and marginalized immigrant individuals, families and communities has been recognized posthumously as a "social entrepreneur" by the Ashoka organization, a leading think tank for social entrepreneurship. Mindful of the many objectives shared by social work and social entrepreneurship, the School of Social Work at Wayne State University is meeting student demand for education and training in social enterprise and social innovation with the creation of a popular new course, Social Entrepreneurship (SW 7095).
"Social entrepreneurship at its core is about upsetting the status quo, and as such it aligns with social work's fundamental values about social justice and systems change," Marijo Upshaw, Adjunct Faculty at the School of Social Work and the Mike Ilitch School of Business. The Social Entrepreneurship Committee at Wayne State School of Social Work works to promote social entrepreneurship at the school, within the Wayne State campus and the wider community. Social entrepreneurship has increasingly become a focus within the School of Social Work as it has worked to expand and strengthen its macro training, most notably through the revision of its M.S.W. concentration Innovations in Innovations in Community, Policy, and Leadership (I-CPL). Read more about the committee's purpose and goals (pdf)

Events

Forming and maintaining your for-profit, nonprofit or social enterprise and complying with the Corporate Transperancy Act

Wednesday, April 6, 2022 from 12 - 1 pm 
Zoom
1 CE for $10
RSVP 

Want to start or more effectively operate a community organization, small business, or social enterprise?  Want to learn more about eligibility for PLLCs as a community care organization, and forming partnerships or LLCs?  This presentation provides easy to understand explanations of confusing legal topics for people looking to better their community through business. The presentation will start with a general overview of independent contracting, as well as different entities, for those looking to start or maintain an organization. It will then focus on the Corporate Transparency Act and how your entity form may impact your obligations under this new law. This is event is free to attend, however we are offering 1 CECH for a cost of $10 to those who request it

Presented by student attorneys (under the supervision of an experienced and licensed attorney) in the Wayne State University Law School Business and Community Law Clinic.  


Wayne State SOUP

Wednesday, April 6, 2022 from 12 - 1 pm
WSU St. Andrew's
RSVP

Join us for a night of community, creativity, collaboration, change, democracy, trust and fun at Wayne State SOUP!

The Wayne State University School of Social Work, the School of Social Work Social Entrepreneurship Student Organization, and the Build Institute are proud to present, Detroit SOUP at Wayne State. Detroit SOUP is a crowdfunding dinner celebrating and supporting creative projects in Detroit

For a $15 donation (students are free) attendees receive soup and a vote. Attendees will hear four presentations ranging from social entrepreneurs, social justice, art, urban agriculture, education, technology and more. Each presenter has four minutes to share their idea and answer four questions from the audience. At the event, attendees eat, talk, share resources, enjoy art and vote on the project they think benefits the city the most. At the end of the night, we count the ballots and the winner goes home with $1,000 provided by the WSU School of Social Work to carry out their project.  The dinner also features a spoken word artist and WSU alumni MARS Marshall.

Social entrepreneurship and social work

Throughout our history as a profession, social workers have acted entrepreneurially starting new ventures whether they took the form of founding charitable organizations, government programs, or progressive social movements. Jane Addams who is widely regarded as the "Mother of Social Work" for her pioneering work in founding the Hull House Settlement House in Chicago that served the needs of the poor and marginalized immigrant individuals, families and communities has been recognized posthumously as a "social entrepreneur" by the Ashoka organization, a leading think tank for social entrepreneurship. Mindful of the many objectives shared by social work and social entrepreneurship, the School of Social Work at Wayne State University is meeting student demand for education and training in social enterprise and social innovation with the creation of a popular new course, Social Entrepreneurship (SW 6991).

"Social entrepreneurship at its core is about upsetting the status quo, and as such it aligns with social work's fundamental values about social justice and systems change," Marijo Upshaw, joint-appointed Social Work and Business School Lecturer and Social Entrepreneurship Instructor

Committee members

From 2nd left: Brittany Mitchell-Kelley (member), Tamarie Willis (member), Marijo Upshaw (chair), Lawrence Robinson (member), Shantalea Johns (member), Richard Smith (member). Not pictured: Student Chapter President: Tomiko Gumbleton

In the news

The Social Entrepreneurship Committee receives a national CSWE Award

SEThe School of Social Work's Entrepreneurship Committee was awarded the SAGE/CSWE Innovation in Teaching Award for their work in promoting and advancing social entrepreneurship education and opportunities for Wayne State social work students. Established in 2017, the Entrepreneurship Committee distinguished itself within social work higher education by creating meaningful opportunities for social work students to explore the emerging field of social entrepreneurship through coursework, campus-based interdisciplinary collaborations, academic advising, and access to Greater Detroit professionals. Tamarie Willis (Academic Advisor), Dominique Golden (MSW Candidate), and Marijo Upshaw (Adjunct Faculty) accepted the award on the behalf of the committee at the CSWE Annual Program Meeting in Orlando, Florida on November 9-11, 2018. They were also able to present a model for adding social entrepreneurship curriculum and field placement opportunities to social work programs. 

Contact us

For more information about the Social Entrepreneurship Committee at the School of Social Work at Wayne State University, contact chair Marijo Upshaw at mjupshaw@wayne.edu.