While implementing the early stages of this Commitment , it was recognized by university partners that the barriers to growth in the social impact sector are multifaceted and that an e-publication alone would not be sufficient to tackle the complex array of challenges faced by the sector. With this in mind, it was announced at the international CNN Center in October 2014 that the work was expanding to include the development of a new social enterprise institute, programming, research efforts, and community engagement initiatives focused on tackling the barriers to growth faced by the sector in a more comprehensive and holistic fashion. Following the announcement, these efforts were recognized and featured prominently by the Huffington Post and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative as "What's Working in Small Business".
Officially unveiled in early 2015, the Global Social Enterprise Institute is currently housed at the Madden School of Business at Le Moyne College and quickly grew a global consortium of over 250 university and institutional collaborators. Noteworthy collaborators include, but are not limited to, Ashoka, Clinton Foundation, the White House, U.S. Department of Education, HATCH, London+Acumen, Posible México, Stanford, Yale, and Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs.
With the support of this global network of collaborators, the Institute is now successfully operating programming focused on: (1) assisting social enterprises to overcome barriers to growth, (2) consolidating the silos of technical assistance resources available, and (3) reaching globally to create cross sector partnerships, open new market opportunities, and facilitate engagement with investors, communities, and government agencies.
The Institute's approach is built on a firm belief in creating world class opportunities for hands on, engaged experiential scholarship ("learning by doing"). The Institute also leverages a "transdisciplinary" approach to entrepreneurial development, which is facilitating collaboration between various sectors in order to encourage breakthroughs in theory, practice, policy, job creation, and economic development outcomes. This feature of transdisciplinary collaboration is especially relevant as society faces complex environmental and social problems that require new and transformative solutions.
To date, the Global Social Enterprise Institute has engaged with over 1,500 individuals and 300 social entrepreneurs throughout the world through programming, initiatives, lectures, workshops, presentations, coaching, business plan support, pro bono consulting, and technical assistance. Furthermore, over 400 undergraduate and graduate students have been engaged in the Institute's efforts through internships for credit, extracurricular engagements, lectures, and in-class experiential learning opportunities in eight university courses. Additional success to date includes spearheading the strategic planning efforts for the creation of an innovative Proof of Concept Accelerator with nine collaborating universities and community organizations with a particular focus on revitalizing a neighborhood with the highest levels of poverty concentration in the U.S. among Hispanics and African Americans. The Institute was also accepted into the Ashoka U Commons, which is facilitating collaboration among a number of university social entrepreneurship programs.
In keeping with the original goal, the Institute continues to have a particular focus on promoting an equal playing field in the sector by supporting female entrepreneurs who are working to have a positive impact both locally and globally. "By participating in the Startup Insider Initiative and with the launch of the Global Social Enterprise Institute, we are helping to strengthen efforts to facilitate the involvement of women with entrepreneurial ventures in the U.S. and around the world," said Dr. Linda LeMura, president of Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y. and the first female president of a Jesuit college or university in the world. "As a Jesuit institution, Le Moyne is committed to the tenets of social justice, leadership and service to others - principles that dovetail perfectly with the spirit of social entrepreneurship. Every day, women are breaking new ground in the workforce, particularly within entrepreneurial firms, and we are proud that efforts through this initiative will serve to support them."
With the successful completion of the 2014 CGI America CTA by Short Enterprises and partners, the Global Social Enterprise Institute will now focus on implementing a multiyear strategy aiming to: (1) create 1,000 jobs, (2) facilitate $50 million in new business development, (3) streamline access to the $6.57 trillion in capital earmarked for sustainable investments with the development of a new social enterprise impact assessment framework, and (4) leverage the combined reach and resources of a growing international network of university and institutional stakeholders in order to facilitate and foster significant economic development outcomes.