Social Entrepreneurship Program

The mission of the Social Entrepreneurship Program (SE) is to create social value through entrepreneurship. Our vision of social value is rooted in Samford’s Mission . Our program emphasizes the application business concepts to objectives that extend beyond profit maximization. Examples include: environmental stewardship, education, crime reduction, reconciliation, and poverty alleviation.

I. The Social Entrepreneurship Curriculum

Samford students may enroll in our program either as concentration within a business major, or as an interdisciplinary minor. Elements for business students in the concentration include:

  1. Students complete a traditional business major in (Accounting, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Management, or Marketing)

  2. Students complete a guided internship in an established social enterprise (ENTR 487).

  3. Students may choose an Urban or International emphasis.

  • The urban track includes coursework in entrepreneurship within a US urban context (MNGT 310).

  • The international track includes an international travel course which emphasizes the work of multinational NGOs (such as World Vision, Compassion International, or USAID). (ECON 394)

4. Students complete a Financial Management for Nonprofits course (ENTR 384).

5. Students complete a capstone Social Entrepreneurship course where they either: launch their own social enterprise or consult with an established social enterprise (ENTR 486). A recent list of course business projects can be found below.

Since our founding in 2008, over 300 Samford students have passed through the program. Many have launched their own social enterprises or work in major nonprofit organizations. Recent examples include:

  • Amplio Recruiting – SE alum Luke Keller helped found a job training/placement for-profit that works with international refugees around Atlanta to help them find long-term employment.

  • Karisimbi Partners – SE alum Chase & Rachel Carroll helped establish an investment bank/management consulting firm in Kigali, Rwanda to help Rwandan entrepreneurs access US capital markets.

  • Five Loaves – SE alum Madison Kerns is working to expand this Birmingham nonprofit, dedicated to racial reconciliation.

  • Compassion International –SE alum Kayleigh Hudson completed an internship with Compassion as an undergraduate, helping with strategic planning. Now she is employed by Compassion as an Experience Design Specialist in Colorado Springs.

  • While our core mission is to provide students with the skills necessary to establish new social ventures, many of our alumni use their SE skills to serve on nonprofit boards of directors.

II. Social Entrepreneurship Research

Social Entrepreneurship is a relatively new academic field. A significant investment has been made by the Brock Social Entrepreneurship program to contribute to the understanding of social enterprise & ethical formation in a Christian context. To that end, faculty members contribute to the global conversation on social enterprise by writing and publishing articles related to two main topics, management of nonprofit/social enterprise organizations and the development of ethical behaviors in business managers. Some sample work from our faculty includes:

III. Social Entrepreneurship service and co-curricular activities:

  • Annually, the SE program hosts its marquis conference event on SU campus. The Lion’s Den, is an international two-day Business as Mission conference, which brings together investors with Christian entrepreneurs to educate and invest in faith-based for-profit ventures. Our most recent 2019 conference hosted over 800 visitors on campus, facilitated equity and debt investments in for-profit businesses with a specific Christian focus, and exposed our students to the possibility of combining their faith and business skills.

  • The SE program hosts the Alabama Association of Nonprofits on Samford’s campus. The AAN is the only statewide organization of nonprofits. Our program’s partnership with AAN provides students with valuable internships, guest speakers, and opportunities for board service. Moreover, our SE students provide valuable consulting services to many local nonprofit organizations.

  • Annually, the SE program raises funds for SE Fellowships. These $1,500 fellowships are awarded to select SE students to participate in high quality SE internships and consulting projects with existing social enterprises. Funded fellowships help local nonprofits compete with for-profits to compensate high quality interns for their work.

  • Annually, the SE program sends students to a national conference on Business as Mission. The Praxis Academy is a week-long accelerator program which focuses on undergraduates and recent graduates seeking to combine their Christian Faith and entrepreneurship.

  • The SE program maintains a dedicated Business as Mission scholarship, The Taylor M. Harsh scholarship, awarded annually to support students interested in Business as Mission.

IV. Social Entrepreneurship Business plans (Course Projects)

Each semester ENTR 486 - Social Entrepreneurship & Nonprofit Management students develop business plans for local nonprofits or new social ventures. Full plans and descriptions can be found at the above link.