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Building Communities: NJ Social Entrepreneurship Summit 2011

By: ellis j. still

“Whether you start as one or end up as one, you must become a social entrepreneur before you can be a great entrepreneur.”

                 Alfred Edmond Jr., Editor-at-Large, Black Enterprise Magazine

So, let’s say that you are an entrepreneur. You have a really cool idea that you think can make some money. Business 101 dictates that supply meets demand. However, what if the true calling in your heart is to be able to provide the supply with the goal of helping people? What if you created a needs-based venture in the community (for-profit or non-profit) that builds relationships, provides jobs, and builds human capital?

These are the sort of conversations that occurred on yesterday at the 2011 New Jersey Social Entrepreneurship Summit. The summit created dialog among entrepreneurs interested in social entrepreneurship from both a traditional and non-profit point of view. There were case studies, conversations, panel discussions, and networking opportunities among established social entrepreneurs, funders & investors, start-up entrepreneurs, and others interested in making an investment in the human capital in their community.

Social entrepreneurship is described by organizers as a form of entrepreneurship that integrates social goals and social or environmental problem solving into its core business model. The purpose of this summit is to raise the profile of social entrepreneurship in New Jersey by bringing leaders of the social sector and entrepreneurs who address social and environmental problems in their businesses together to learn from and support one another.

After the lunch break, Dr. Jeffrey Robinson announced the creation of the ”NJ Social Innovation Institute  – ‘Creating Jobs Through Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship'”. This new collaborative effort will focus on connecting social entrepreneurs to the resources needed to execute their social idea successfully and in a sustainable way. The NJ Social Innovation Institute is designed to help nascent social entrepreneurs to develop their venture ideas into business plans and investment proposals. The initiative is six (6) months in duration and is provided in partnership with the Support Center for Nonprofit. For more information about the institute, click here.

The event was extremely interactive via social media as well. You can catch up with the conversation on Twitter using hash tag #NJSocEnt. These are just a few of the Twitter comments:

@CNicholaC: More and more people (are) realizing that business profits and social contributions are not mutually exclusive. #NJSocEnt

@websignia: “We’re not looking for reimbursement, we’re looking for concrete outcomes in our designated communities” -S. Hamilton of @PSEGCares  #NJSocEnt

@ellis_still: Craig Cuccia: “the question became how do we connect with the people who aren’t ready and give them the resources that they need?” #NJSocEnt

@RutgersBSchool: “Its all about how you can use entrepreneurship as a vehicle for social change.” – Professor @jrobinsonphd on stage #NJSocEnt #SocEnt

@ellis_still: Cheryl Dorsey: people tend to confuse being a founder with being a success. #NJSocEnt #newark

@dtogilvie: Vaughn McCoy @pseg spoke about Profits w/a Purpose @ the Social Entrepreneurship Summit in Newark, NJ #Njsocent

To learn more about the summit, or the NJ Social Innovation Institute , feel free to visit Don’t forget to join their mailing list for periodic announcements and information.

To view more pictures of the summit, click here to go to my facebook page.

Question: How are you utilizing your gifts and ideas to make your community better?

© 2011, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255


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