Imagine Cup as a Vehichle for Social Entrepreneurship

I was speaking with a colleague of mine the other day about a paper we are sending off to a conference.  The colleague that I am speaking of is really into this notion of social entrepreneurship.  What is social entrepreneurship (we’re going to call it SE from here on out, OK?) , you ask?  Well it is when a person leverages their entrepreneurial tools to create a venture that is focused on solving some problem facing society.   Now the goal of most entrepreneurs is to generate a profit, good old dollars and cents.  The social entrepreneur is much different.  The goal of a SE venture is to generate social capital and effectuate social change.

My colleague has been very involved with the concept of SE for a while now and I am aware of some schools of business and of public service that have been working to get it into their curriculum.  That is when I had the idea.  Why not use the Imagine Cup as a way to integrate SE into the curriculum?

What does the Imagine Cup have to do with SE?  Well solving social problems is what the Imagine Cup is all about!  According to the Imagine Cup’s U.S. site, “It’s all about solving today’s toughest issues on a global level and in your own backyard.”  Now of course, there’s a catch.  You have to do it using Microsoft technologies (well, at least for the Software Design competition).  However, when you think about it, aren’t many of us using those technologies anyway?  Coming from a college of business MIS department, I know that is the case for me as a faculty member.  It was also the case when I was a student.

So you can leverage technologies that you are already working with in the framework of what is essentially a SE competition!  The contest is structured so that it fits well with the typical semester structure of most schools and it has discrete project deliverables that can be integrated into the coursework of many different types of courses from digital media to systems analysis.  Check out the different competitions and rules at if you are in the United States or for other places in this ever shrinking world.

Now this idea is still in its infancy, and it needs to be given some thought.  However, I thought that I would toss it out here to see if anyone that reads my blog has any thoughts on the subject.  If you do, please share!


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