Hello from HBS Social Enterprise Initiative! We apply innovative business practices and managerial disciplines to drive sustained, high-impact social change at HBS and beyond. Spring is one of the most exciting (and busy) times at HBS! While students have been spending much of the fall and winter exploring options, spring is when many of those options come to life. Here are a few of the ways students have been springing forward on their social enterprise career paths:

  • In late April, we held the Finale of the HBS New Venture Competition. With 150 teams participating in the Business and Social Enterprise Tracks, many students started their journey of entrepreneurship several months ago inspired by the belief that “one simple idea can change everything.” With kernels of an idea in mind, they tapped into the HBS resources and other parts of the University, like the Harvard iLab, along with the opportunity for feedback from panels of expert judges, to test their ideas in a rigorous and supportive environment. Within the Social Enterprise Track specifically, teams focused on ventures that generate significant social value, with enterprises across both for profit and nonprofit business plans including, a unique approach to addressing cardiovascular diseases Mexico, a model connecting smallholder farmers to formerly inaccessible markets, and several other plans are rethinking education in the U.S. and around the world. See more on this year’s winners.
  • Just a week later, the Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship Committee met to review the final round of applications. Throughout the fall and winter, students have been seeking opportunities with social enterprises where they can both apply and develop their skills and knowledge, while having high impact on the organizations. The fellowship allows students to contribute in the social enterprise space and receive a supplement to their salaries. In just a few weeks, our 2014 Summer Fellows will be around the world, with over 70 Fellows in 18 countries working on projects in organizations such as the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office, Social Finance US, United Nations World Food Programme, Revolution Foods, Greentown Labs, and Accion. If you are interested in hiring an HBS intern and your organization falls in the social enterprise space, learn how to get involved.
  • At the end of May, we held our HBS Leadership Fellows brunch, a celebratory gathering for our 13 Fellows and their families before the start of Fellowship years. The HBS Leadership Fellows program is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a select group of graduating HBS students to experience high-impact management positions in nonprofit and public-sector organizations for one year at a competitive salary. In turn, the program gives organizations the opportunity to maximize their effectiveness by leveraging the experience, energy, and analytical skills of graduating MBAs. Since 2001, the program has placed 138 Fellows with 58 organizations. This summer, Fellows will be working at organizations such as Acumen, City of Boston Mayor’s Office, Harlem Children’s Zone, L.A. Unified School District, and The Nature Conservancy, in roles where they can make a significant impact. Learn more about the Leadership Fellows program.

For those of us who work with students interested in social enterprise, it’s a privilege and an honor to support the paths our students are pursuing for creating social value.