Hybrid Entrepreneurship at Clemson – What?

So I have been asked to join the Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurship at Clemson University as a lecturer. I have been teaching Business Writing in the Department of English for the past two years…so this is going to be a fun challenge. It is funny how things happen, people you meet, and how planets align. After meeting with Dave Wyman this morning, he is the Interim Director of the Spiro Institute…we have a great plan for this class.

If you are interested in the curriculim of the Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurship, CLICK HERE and you will see the class I am teaching: ELE 499 – Executive Leadership and Entrepreneurship III provides an opportunity for high-potential students to participate in an entrepreneurial field experience such as starting their own businesses or participating in a special project.

So what is Hybrid Entrepreneurship? Hmm…well this will be part of the introduction to this class. But, let’s try to define.

If you look at the triangle above, you will see the three points entitled Entrepreneurship, Cause/Passion, and Profit/Discipline. If you look at Wikipedia, it defines the word “entrepreneur” as a person who has possession of a new enterprise, venture or idea and assumes significant accountability for the inherent risks and the outcome. Bottomline, the person(s) see a need, take a calculated risk to bring this idea to market with the sole purpose of gaining a return or profit. The other point of the triangle is “Cause/Passion” where someone has the desire and the passion for a “cause” and solves a social problem. And the “Profit/Discipline” point is where a person(s) gains some return from this idea using some defined discipline. Hybrid Entrepreneurship falls right in the center of this triangle.

Some would say that this sounds like Social Entrepreneurship? Hmm, well one again Wikipedia does a good job! Social Entrepreneurship is defined as someone who recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create, and manage a venture to make social change. Whereas business entrepreneurs typically measure performance in profit and return, social entrepreneurs assess their success in terms of the impact they have on society. While social entrepreneurs often work through nonprofits and citizen groups, many work in the private and governmental sectors.

Social Entrepreneurs tyically have the goal to take the “profit” that is generated from the venture and re-invest back into the cause. Making a profit is not the ultimate goal but a byproduct of the greater good for the cause.

Some people think that Hybrid Entrepreneurship to be similar, if not the same, as Social Entrepreneurship. Hybrid Entrepreneurs are ones that  have the same social responsibility yet have no problem with making a profit, and are willing to disclose this part of the purpose.

So…what is the purpose of the class? Well, to teach students about Hybrid Entrepreneurship and find opportunities/projects in the community to help solve problems and create business ideas to solve these problems.

Here is the fun part about this class…we will be using video and social media to document and track the projects in this class. The class will be structured to achieve a couple of goals:

1) We will be taking requests from community organizations that have some “problem” that needs to be solved…they have a need. These organizations will submit a request and the class will pick 5 to 6 different problems/issues to analyze. We will invite these organizations to the class to make a 10 to 15 minute presentation and the class will make an assessment then recommendations. Then the presenting organization will select the best recommendations during the class session. We will do this over a four week period.

2) The next part of this class will be dedicated to finding a social problem and solving this issue. The natural part of the first section of this class. The students will be exposed to local organizations and their problems through the above presentations. This will create a natural dialogue…to look for other similar ideas to solve. OR, they can pick from one of the presentations. This project will be to find, research, and solve a problem…then present in s a final presentation using video and presentation slides. The students will have to document this process using video (probably flip cams) and online properties like Twitter and Blogs.

The goal of this class, to explore the idea of Hyrbid Entrepreneurship through research and praxis. I LOVE IT!

I would love to hear from you? Have any examples of Hybrid and/or Social Entrepreneurship? Please share!

Much of this blog was based on information from Will Marre, check out his site by CLICKING HERE.