Skip to content
Search

Latest Stories

Top Stories

Why high school students should learn about social entrepreneurship

Why high school students should learn about social entrepreneurship
Getty Images

Weaver is a global expert on social entrepreneurship and a member of the Scholars Strategy Network. She conducted the first large-scale empirical study on the social, economic, and legal activities of social enterprises in the U.S. and is the Founder of Weaver's Social Enterprise Directory. In 2023, she joined the Global African Descent Social Entrepreneurship Network sponsored by the Biden-Harris Administration.

Over 20 states in America have instituted policies that require high school students to take financial literacy courses. These policies aim to prepare students to manage finances, debt, and credit card usage: activities that are critical to their social mobility and economic well-being.


This education is necessary, but it is incomplete. In addition to financial literacy, students also need to understand social entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship education, in general, can prepare students to design businesses that address consumer needs and offer job creation opportunities in their communities.

Social entrepreneurship—the process of using entrepreneurship to combat social problems—provides an even greater value by focusing entrepreneurship skills on alleviating social issues like poverty, inequality, climate change, racial tension, and more. Examples of social enterprises include Warby Parker, the glasses company that donates a pair of glasses to someone who cannot afford them with each purchase from a consumer; The Village Market, a marketplace that offers products made by Black entrepreneurs; and Newman’s Own, the brand that sells food and beverages and donates all profits to charity. In my volume Social Entrepreneurship: A Practical Introduction, I attempt to educate readers, including youth, on how to ensure their businesses can reap profits while also working toward the public good.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

Social Entrepreneurship is the Future of Business

A study by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor in 2020 reports that most entrepreneurs see and feel the weight of the problems of the world and want to address them. However, most do not know how to do so. Social entrepreneurship is viewed as a medium for alleviating social issues that are unaddressed by government, businesses, or charitable organizations.

A recent report states that Millennials and Gen Z desire work that aligns with their personal values and to work on their own terms. They have grown up in a time when societal problems are at an all-time high and social media usage is so common that these problems are on display in the palm of their hands via their cell phones and laptops every day. Social entrepreneurship education would grant them the tools needed to design, launch, and scale social enterprises.

How to Educate High School Students in Social Entrepreneurship

  • There are various ways that high school administrators can advance social entrepreneurship education.
  • Knowledge: My book Social Entrepreneurship: A Practical Introduction and other resources can be used in classrooms to teach students to design, launch, and run a social enterprise. High schoolers may be eager for opportunities to work with these curricula.
  • Training: Online training programs for social entrepreneurs like those I have organized can be tailored to audience needs for implementation in U.S. high schools and beyond. Short but intensive training programs can boost skills quickly and deliver extra support to students who have decided they are strongly interested in pursuing entrepreneurship.
  • Inspiration: High schools should invest in inviting guest speakers that share their social enterprise success stories with students. Organizations like B Lab and Social Enterprise Alliance would be great resources to identify speakers that are running high-profit social enterprises that are indeed transforming lives.
  • Competitions: Our youth have amazing ideas! Entrepreneurial pitch competitions are a valuable way to allow students to share their idea with an audience, learn how to design their social enterprise with mentors, and then launch it with funding they can win in the competition.
  • Exposure: A number of successful and popular social enterprises like Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory in Burlington, Vermont, and Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, New York offer tours of their facilities. These tours provide an opportunity for students to see how their products are made, explore the history of the organization, and outline opportunities for students to work or volunteer.

Social entrepreneurship is the future of business. The better we can prepare future leaders to run businesses that not only create value for themselves and their consumers, but that advance quality of life for society as a whole, the more likely they are to succeed. High school administrators who follow the above guidelines can help create the conditions necessary for their success.

This writing was originally published through the Scholars Strategy Network.

Read More

Blurred image of an orchestra
Melpomenem/Getty Images

The ideal democracy: An orchestra in harmony

Frazier is an assistant professor at the Crump College of Law at St. Thomas University. Starting this summer, he will serve as a Tarbell fellow.

In the symphony of our democracy, we can find a compelling analogy with an orchestra. The interplay of musicians trained in different instruments, each contributing to the grand musical tapestry, offers lessons for our democratic system. As we navigate the complexities of governance, let us draw inspiration from the orchestra's structure, dynamics and philosophy.

Keep ReadingShow less
David French

New York Times columnist David French was removed from the agenda of a faith-basd gathering because we was too "divisive."

Macmillan Publishers

Is canceling David French good for civic life?

Harwood is president and founder of The Harwood Institute. This is the latest entry in his series based on the "Enough. Time to Build.” campaign, which calls on community leaders and active citizens to step forward and build together.

On June 10-14, the Presbyterian Church in America held its annual denominational assembly in Richmond, Va. The PCA created considerable national buzz in the lead-up when it abruptly canceled a panel discussion featuring David French, the highly regarded author and New York Times columnist.

The panel carried the innocuous-sounding title, “How to Be Supportive of Your Pastor and Church Leaders in a Polarized Political Year.” The reason for canceling it? French, himself a long-time PCA member, was deemed too “divisive.” This despite being a well-known, self-identified “conservative” and PCA adherent. Ironically, the loudest and most divisive voices won the day.

Keep ReadingShow less
Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer testifies at the Democratic National Convention in 1964.

Bettmann/Getty Images

60 years later, it's time to restart the Freedom Summer

Johnson is a United Methodist pastor, the author of "Holding Up Your Corner: Talking About Race in Your Community" and program director for the Bridge Alliance, which houses The Fulcrum.

Sixty years have passed since Freedom Summer, that pivotal season of 1964 when hundreds of young activists descended upon an unforgiving landscape, driven by a fierce determination to shatter the chains of racial oppression. As our nation teeters on the precipice of another transformative moment, the echoes of that fateful summer reverberate across the years, reminding us that freedom remains an unfinished work.

At the heart of this struggle stood Fannie Lou Hamer, a sharecropper's daughter whose voice thundered like a prophet's in the wilderness, signaling injustice. Her story is one of unyielding defiance, of a spirit that the brutal lash of bigotry could not break. When Hamer testified before the Democratic National Convention in 1964, her words, laced with the pain of beatings and the fire of righteous indignation, laid bare the festering wound of racial terror that had long plagued our nation. Her resilience in the face of such adversity is a testament to the power of the human spirit.

Keep ReadingShow less
Kamala Harris waiving as she exits an airplane

If President Joe Biden steps aside and endorses Vice President Kamala Harris, her position could be strengthened by a ranked-choice vote among convention delegates.

Anadolu/Getty Images

How best to prepare for a brokered convention

Richie is co-founder and senior advisor of FairVote.

As the political world hangs on whether Joe Biden continues his presidential campaign, an obvious question is how the Democratic Party might pick a new nominee. Its options are limited, given the primary season is long past and the Aug. 19 convention is only weeks away. But they are worth getting right for this year and future presidential cycles.

Suppose Biden endorses Vice President Kamala Harris and asks his delegates to follow his lead. She’s vetted, has close relationships across the party, and could inherit the Biden-Harris campaign and its cash reserves without a hitch. As Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) suggested, however, Harris would benefit from a mini-primary among delegates before the convention – either concluding at the virtual roll call that is already planned or at the in-person convention.

Keep ReadingShow less