If you’re like me and didn’t attend Belmont yourself or didn’t get to know someone who did until recently, you may not yet be aware of the intertwined phenomena of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship. Reciting from lessons learned on the Nashville Chapter of the Social Enterprise Alliance website, “social entrepreneurship” refers to the process of employing market-based methods to solve social problems such as poverty, environmental degradation, health care access, education access, sanitation, and unemployment. A “social enterprise” is an organization or venture that advances its social mission by way of sound, entrepreneurial business methods.
Here’s the cool part. Starting yesterday, the Nashville Social Enterprise Alliance launched its Business for Good competition, a fire built to ignite the next generation of social entrepreneurs in our city. The submission period will remain open for applicants until January 14th, 2013, but with all these amazing awards and prizes up for grabs (the grand prize winner takes home grants and supports valued at over $16,000), competition is predicted to be fierce to get the aid and advice these entrepreneurs need to make their social ventures successful ones. And if your idea is really good, you may just get the break you need to end up as successful as Muhammad Yunus.
Muhammad Yunus, who earned his Doctor of Philosophy in Economics from Vanderbilt in 1971, developed the concept of microcredit and founded the Grameen Bank in his native Bangladesh. Since its founding in 1976, the Grameen Bank has made small loans totaling more than $8.5 billion to more than 7 million borrowers, of which $7.59 billion has been repaid. Yunus received Vanderbilt’s first Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1996 and the $100,000 Nichols-Chancellor’s Medal in 2007, for which he returned to campus as the Senior Day speaker for Vandy’s commencement in 2007. Oh, and I guess I should mention that he also won the Nobel Peace Prize back in 2006. To get inspired by this man’s genius, watch below.