Archive for ‘Social Entrepreneurship’

Spotlight on Sarah Easter

by   |  08.24.16  |  Academics, COBA Alumni, COBA Faculty, Current Students, Faith Infusion, Poverty and Development, Social Entrepreneurship, Uncategorized

We’re excited to welcome several new professors and staff members to COBA this fall and are continuing our COBA blog spotlight articles to introduce them to you. We’re glad they’re part of our team!

 

What is your educational background?

PhD in International Management and Organization (University of Victoria, 2016)

MBA, emphasis in International Business and Marketing (Rollins College, 2008)

BBA, Management and Marketing (ACU, 2006)

 

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Dr. Sarah Easter

 

What is your work background?

After completing my undergraduate degree at ACU, I went on to complete an MBA designed for students with limited work experiences in Orlando, FL (where I am from) at Rollins. While I was in the program I starting interning at Correct Craft (Anyone into wakeboarding or water skiing? They produce the Nautique brand of boats.) in the marketing department. That internship turned into a full time job upon graduation as a Marketing Specialist, in which case I handled branding and marketing communications for the Nautique brand. After working at Correct Craft for a few years, even though I enjoyed my job, I was itching to move abroad and also to apply my skill sets within a socially focused organization. So, I ended up moving to Vietnam in 2010 through Volunteer Services Overseas to work with a social enterprise as a Business Development and Marketing Advisor for a one-year assignment. While in that position I had the opportunity to teach a business course to the staff (And loved it!) and also started asking a lot of questions about how these types of organizations balance social and financial tensions, etc. Collectively, these experiences in Vietnam led me to consider returning to school to obtain my PhD. When I returned from Vietnam, while I was considering PhD programs, I returned to Correct Craft as a Senior Strategy Analyst working with the senior leadership team and then moved to Canada to pursue my PhD about a year and a half later. I am living proof that God’s plans are far greater than anything we can ask or imagine  – I would never have pictured myself coming back to ACU 10 years after I completed my undergraduate to work as a faculty member, but I am so glad that He has led me here!

 

at graduation brunch with my parents, sister and brother-in-law (2)

At graduation brunch with my parents, sister and brother-in-law.

 

What do you teach at ACU?

This semester I am teaching the strategy capstone course. I am excited about the opportunity to work with students as they develop and hone their strategic thinking skills for today’s increasingly complex, ambiguous and dynamic environment – regardless of whether they desire to work in a for-profit, nonprofit or public organization. And, to do so, in a very discussion oriented and applied manner.

 

What drew you to teaching? Why did you want to work with students?

I have always been a bit of a school nerd and really enjoy and appreciate continuous learning, so the idea of having the opportunity to shape future generations of students and have focused time to continually learn through research and interacting with students is very attractive. However, I never really saw myself in a teaching role. It wasn’t until I lived in Vietnam and had the opportunity to teach a business class to the employees at the social enterprise I worked with that I began to see that as more of a possibility. It was a very challenging experience trying to take business knowledge I had learned in the US environment and contextualize it for Vietnam while also making it relevant and enjoyable for them. Yet, I really enjoyed the experience and it was such a joy getting to see them embrace and understand the material (after a bit of resistance at the beginning).

 

What’s the best part of working with students?

College is such a formative (and hopefully transformational) experience in a young person’s life not only academically but socially and spiritually as well. It is also such an exciting yet scary time of exploring the large multitude of possibilities as to where God would lead each student both professionally and personally in the future. I love getting to play a small role in students’ development to that end and I am very excited to be at a university that values education as a holistic experience which encompasses academic, social and spiritual components.

 

Have you ever given up any big opportunities to keep working with students?

When I decided to go back to school to pursue my PhD, I walked away from a lucrative career path. I moved to Western Canada (to a city that is the second most expensive city to live in across Canada) and received a stipend as opposed to the market salary I was used to – which was certainly an adjustment. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and while it was hard at times, I don’t regret it at all.

 

some of my dearest friends from ACU (2)

Some of my dearest friends from ACU.

 

Outside of teaching, what passions and hobbies do you have?

In addition to teaching, I am very passionate about my research that focuses on how people work across cultural differences in support of addressing major societal challenges such as homelessness. Outside of my profession, I enjoy spending time with family and friends – and I am excited to be much closer, geographically speaking, to many of those I hold dear (in comparison to when I was living on an island in Western Canada). I also love to read, try new and different restaurants (I’m a bit of a foodie) and travel (I always have many different places on my list!). As well, I love to go on new ‘mini’ adventures and to try new things – next up on my list is learning to play a musical instrument. I am also contemplating purchasing a motor scooter at some point – I rode one the year I lived in Vietnam and loved it!

 

What is a good, early story about your teaching?

While I was working on my doctoral degree, I taught a few sections of Leading People and Organizations (also known as Organizational Behavior). Students at this particular institution tended to view this course as a “fluffy” one without a lot of practical value. It was really rewarding for me to see students in that course (even the more reluctant ones) embrace the material, reflect on how the concepts applied to their own situations and to actually have fun in the process of learning.

 

Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.

Since it is so recent and was such a significant and all-encompassing undertaking, I would have to say my dissertation. I conducted a 16-month ethnographic study of a coalition to end homelessness in Western Canada. I was really interested in how a diverse body of organizations and individuals from public, private and non profit sectors come together to address a significant societal issue over time, in this case homelessness. It was fascinating for me to hear all of the different perspectives and vantage points of the involved organizations and to develop a deep understanding as to how the coalition evolved over time in the presence of many and very different ways of working (e.g., different values, norms, goals).  It was also very rewarding to work closely with the coalition and to be able to provide feedback and recommendations to them based on the study. I love conducting research that also has strong practical implications and look forward to developing more similar partnerships in the future as I progress with my research.

 

Do you do any charity or non-profit work?

While I lived in Canada I was very involved in my church. I taught and mentored middle school girls for a number of years and my life group (also known as small group) volunteered regularly at a youth homeless drop in center. I am looking forward to getting involved in similar types of activities in Abilene as I get settled here.

 

on a bear tour on Vancouver Island with my parents and sister this summer (2)

On a bear tour on Vancouver Island with my parents and sister this summer.

 

Who is your role model, and why?

My parents – they are such amazing examples of living out the Christian faith in their lives. They invest in the people and spaces to which God has called them (which have varied greatly over the years) and truly try to fully grow and develop in each and every season. I have learned so much about hard work and perseverance as well as the importance of laughter and appreciating the journey from watching them over the years.

 

with my dissertation supervisor (2)

With my dissertation supervisor.

 

Who was your most inspirational professor and why?

It would be impossible for me to name the many, many individuals who have played an important role in my many, many years of higher education over the years. But, two, in particular, stand out as they both significantly influenced my development as a teacher and scholar:

  • My international marketing professor during my MBA program who helped to ignite my passion for using business for social good….which eventually resulted in my working with a social enterprise in Vietnam and then to my pursuing a PhD.
  • My dissertation supervisor for her patience and support throughout my PhD journey. She helped me to fully understand and embrace an interdisciplinary approach to capturing today’s complex organizational phenomenal.

 

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

I think it would be neat to teleport– that would make it much easier for me to travel different places quickly and on the cheap.

 

What is something that students might be surprised to find out about you?

I used to play lacrosse in high school (although I haven’t played in years). I played defense and was actually pretty aggressive. I was named MVP of defense and played in an all-state game my senior year.

 

What would you really want students and alums to know about you?

I believe very strongly in the mission and focus of ACU (it was such a formative part of my own development as an undergraduate) and I’m happy to be back as a professor

 

 

The COBA Distinguished Speaker Series welcomes Lisa Rose on October 29th

by   |  09.24.15  |  Academics, COBA Alumni, COBA Events, Careers In..., College Decisions, Current Students, Distinguished Speakers Series, Faith Infusion, Poverty and Development, Social Entrepreneurship, Special Speakers, Uncategorized

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COBA seeks to provide opportunities for the students and community to hear from Christian leaders in the business world through our COBA Distinguished Speaker Series. In the past few years, we’ve featured Bob McDonald, Mike Duke, and Matt Rose. This October, we’re excited to host Lisa Rose, founder and president of the 501(c)(3) projectHandUp, as COBA’s fall 2015 Distinguished Speaker.

Lisa Rose

Lisa Rose

Lisa’s mission is to provide venues where people can find their purpose and learn to fulfill it. After growing up in Ft. Worth, Texas, and receiving a degree in Marketing from Texas Tech University, her time in corporate life was in fast-food marketing. She has spent the last 20 years in church women’s ministry leading and equipping women through classes, studies and events. She has served on GRACE’s Advisory Council and at the Dallas County Jail. Lisa currently serves as board member for the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, Performing Arts Fort Worth, United Way Homelessness Allocations Committee and was the 2015 Golden Deeds Outstanding Citizen of the Year. She founded First Friday, an event for women, in 2008, and is now committed to the lifelong project of establishing The Gatehouse as a community where women and children in crisis participate in a place and program for permanent change.

Ribbon cutting ceremony for The Gatehouse

Ribbon cutting ceremony for The Gatehouse

Lisa Rose is also the founder and Board President of The Gatehouse at Grapevine. The Gatehouse is a $28 million, 61-acre supportive living community designed for women in crisis and their children. The Gatehouse website explains that the community will house up to 96 families and includes a community/conference center, in-neighborhood counseling centers, Keeps Boutique, Hope Chapel, general store, walking trails and commercial space.

Keeps Boutique

Keeps Boutique

 

This community, which allows members to stay up to 2½ years depending on their individually tailored program, provides safe refuge and creates the environment for women and children in crisis to walk the path toward permanent change.

The Gatehouse community

The Gatehouse community

The idea for The Gatehouse sprung up in part from the First Friday initiative which began in 2008, when Lisa and a group of women began a free, once-a-month experience to give women a practical hand up for life’s challenges. The First Friday experience transformed into the nonprofit projectHandUp, through which the founding leaders could create a way to offer women a hand up that would lead to permanent, positive change: a place where women could be healed and restored as they end needless cycles of poverty, abuse and repetitive prison terms.

General Store

General Store

At that same time, Deborah Lyons, Executive Director at The Gatehouse in Grapevine, had envisioned a fully integrated, non-government funded supportive community for women in crisis. God brought the two women together, and Deborah joined the journey with projectHandUp. Deborah also is the author of the faith-based Independent Life Program used at The Gatehouse.

Community Center

Community Center

In August 2012, projectHandUp purchased 61 acres outside DFW Airport with unanimous Grapevine City Council approval, and the stepping stones were laid for The Gatehouse, a supportive living community where women and their children in crisis can discover a new path for permanent change. The Gatehouse opened in March of 2015.

Join us on October 29th for the Distinguished Speaker Series luncheon beginning at 11:45 am in the Hunter Welcome Center. COBA is providing the opportunity for 100 ACU students to attend the event for free by registering here. General Admission tickets are $20 and may be purchased at this link. If you have questions about the event, please email M.C. Jennings at marycolleen.jennings@acu.edu.

Read more about The Gatehouse at this link from the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

View the grand opening of The Gatehouse by clicking here.

*Information about The Gatehouse provided in this blog comes directly from The Gatehouse website. Visit their website by clicking this link.

Purchase tickets to the event by clicking on this link.

Social Entrepreneurship Studies at City Square

by   |  01.22.15  |  Academics, COBA Alumni, Current Students, Entrepreneurship, Griggs Center, Social Entrepreneurship, Uncategorized

CitySquare

Sixteen ACU students had the opportunity to study Social Entrepreneurship at City Square in Dallas during a January short course. The class was taught by COBA professor, Dr. Laura Phillips. In the short one-week time period, the class covered a wide range of topics related to starting and running a social enterprise (nonprofit or for-profit that has a social mission at its core). Speakers who currently run these types of enterprises, as well as those who consult and advise these organizations, came to share with the class about their own unique experiences. In addition, the class included student presentations on various topics and case study discussions. Students were also taken on a tour of City Square, hearing about how the business operates and ways they are trying to expand.

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Many of the speakers were ACU alums, including Robyn Wise, Scott Orr, and Don Crisp. Scott Orr, an ACU and COBA grad, has served in many roles for nonprofit organizations as well as for-profit companies. He is currently the Vice President of Public Affairs for Fidelity Investments.

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Scott’s Mantra: Using strengths to accomplish greatness.

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Jerita’s Mantra: Bloom where you are planted.

Jerita Howard, an Abilene resident, also came to speak to the class. Jerita is the owner of One Smart Cookie, an online gourmet cookie and brownie gift package company. Like Scott, Jerita has also served in various roles throughout her professional career. Both of these entrepreneurs provided valuable insights on business operations and social enterprises.

DSC_6993Dr. Laura Phillips loved the broad mix of majors that were represented in the class this year. She says, “The class succeeds because of the knowledge, experience, and honesty of the 14 guest speakers. While not all of the students who took the class plan to start a social enterprise, I think all of the students benefited from the class.” After taking the class, she hopes students feel equipped to work with social ventures in the way that fits their life and career goals.

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Emily Adkins, a sophomore Pre-Physical Therapy major from Irving, TX, enjoyed taking the class at City Square. She feels like she has learned the basics of social enterprises and that she could comfortably work in this type of environment now. “This class really pushed me outside of my comfort zone in a good way! I love social enterprises and I can see myself working for one some day. Listening to these speakers opened my eyes to how these organizations help people in an effective way.”

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Next Stop: COBA Heads to Central America

by   |  09.23.14  |  Academics, Current Students, Entrepreneurship, Faith Infusion, Griggs Center, Poverty and Development, Social Entrepreneurship, Study Abroad

mission lazarus

Group at the Cerro Negro Volcano in Nicaragua.

At the end of the the summer, 18 students along with Dr. Andy Little and Dr. Jim Litton, traveled south to study abroad in Central America. Students had the opportunity to earn credit in Global Entrepreneurship as well as MGMT 440, including special topics: Business Practicum in Central America. COBA also co-taught an Honors College colloquium on social entrepreneurship in developing countries. The group spent the first two days in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, stayed at Mission Lazarus for nine days, and ended the trip in Leon, Nicaragua.

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The trip challenged the students to evaluate how they want to conduct business in the future. They were able to use their business skills in social entrepreneurship, learning how to apply these skills in a missional context. Because the group was surrounded by widespread poverty, this study abroad trip was unlike other COBA programs. Working in Central America gave students and professors a chance to see the complexity and difficulties of globalization and economic development in third world countries.

Throughout the trip, students were able to tour local businesses, go behind the scenes with ACU alum Jarrod Brown at Mission Lazarus, visit a local Honduran co-operative coffee company, and speak to several different business leaders in Honduras. Unlike the local co-op, Mission Lazarus had a much smaller profit margin; because of their commitment to operating the business in a godly manner, they strive to treat employees fairly and with dignity.

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Stephanie Day, a senior accounting major from Oklahoma City, was highly encouraged by the trip. She believes in the power of the business principles she learned this summer, even if in the future she does not work in social entrepreneurship. Stephanie encourages students to get plugged in and study abroad at some point in their college career. She says, “There are so many incredible things we can learn in a classroom setting, but there’s something about seeing those principles applied firsthand in other countries that makes the learning experience so much more valuable.”

The encounters students get to experience while studying abroad are truly one of a kind. In Central America, students were able to see firsthand how businesses function in developing countries. COBA is intentional with providing students unique opportunities to integrate learning key business principles with developing students to reach their potential and find their missional calling.

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“Because each culture is so different, God is able to manifest himself in different ways; studying abroad is so remarkable because not only does it expose you to a new way of learning, but it also gives students the opportunity to see God in an entirely new light,” says Stephanie Day, a senior accounting major.

Students Experience City Square

by   |  02.13.14  |  Academics, Current Students, Entrepreneurship, Griggs Center, Poverty and Development, Social Entrepreneurship

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During January, several COBA students as well as non-business majors took a January short course, Social Entrepreneurship, with Dr. Laura Phillips at City Square in Dallas. In the fall of 2012, ACU began to partner with City Square, combining curricular and co-curricular experiences for student leadership development. CitySquare is a faith-based, non-profit, human and community development corporation that promotes learning and formation through engagement, including projects, courses, internships, formative experiences, and degree programs. Courses at City Square offer opportunities for in-context learning, allowing students to be hands-on outside of the traditional classroom.

During the short course, 18 guests came to speak with students about social organizations and the different pieces that make up these organizations. The class offered a series of breakfast lectures where speakers discussed vital parts of nonprofit businesses that must be considered when working for or starting any nonprofit. Guests speakers, including Suzanne Smith, Founder and Managing Director of Social Impacts Architects and Co-Founder of Flywheel: Social Enterprise Hub, spoke about measuring success from a social perspective. Mark Jacobs, Senior Director of Operations for The Medicines Company, started His Chase Foundation in 2010 and is now focusing all efforts in Rwanda, providing 250+ students with educational opportunities. Mark gave students opportunities to engage and brainstorm ideas for his initiatives in Rwanda. Speakers also addressed questions concerning other aspects of a non-profit organization such as raising funds, the grant application process, how to start a board of members, social media, and the basic business principles included in a financial statement.

The majority of the class was comprised of business majors but all students found the information very useful even if they had no intention of starting an enterprise. Shanleigh Clinton, a nutrition major, says that she was worried the material would not be applicable to her. However, she says, “This class actually helped me understand how to balance mission and margin and how to have a greater impact in what I do.” Shanleigh plans on becoming a registered dietician, partnering with a feeding and nutrition education program and potentially working with a social enterprise.

Chase jon shan al pres 1   Fundraising breakfast 2

Al Shanleigh

 

From Vietnam to Canada: The International Accomplishments of One COBA Grad

by   |  10.09.12  |  COBA Alumni, Social Entrepreneurship, Study Abroad

Many of our students wonder where they’ll be and what they’ll be doing five or six years from now. Some imagine that they’ll be accountants or own their own business, and some imagine that they’ll have spouses and children. No matter what their dreams, most of our graduates imagine that they’ll be doing something incredible six years down the road.

The impressive thing is the ones who actually do.

Take Sarah Easter for example.

Sarah Easter

Sarah graduated from ACU in 2006 with a B.B.A. in Management and Marketing. Since then, she has completed an MBA at Rollins College in Florida, worked as a Marketing Specialist for Correct Craft, Inc., worked as a Marketing and Business Development Advisor for the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, and worked as a Senior Strategy Analyst for Correct Craft, Inc.

Whether you could distinguish it or not, hidden behind all the technical lingo of Sarah’s job titles lies an unbelievable resume for someone who completed their undergraduate degree a mere six years ago.

However, this list alone isn’t what makes Sarah’s career path so incredible. In fact, one of the crowning jewels of her young resume is a case study called “Vietnam Handicraft Initiative: Moving Toward Sustainable Operations.

This case documents Sarah’s time in Vietnam, where she completed a one-year assignment as a business developer and marketing advisor to the Vietnam Handicraft Initiative, a vocational training and employment center for disabled individuals in Vietnam. In this role, Sarah worked hard to overcome cultural differences and language barriers in order to increase the organization’s productivity and sustainability.

A photo taken in Hue, Vietnam, where Sarah worked

To top it all off, Sarah’s case study was published by The Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. Although most of us Americans may not realize it, this publishing company is actually the leading case publisher in Canada.

Impressed yet?

Dr. Monty Lynn, Associate Dean of ACU’s College of Business, certainly is. Not only does Dr. Lynn believe that the publication of Sarah’s case is an “outstanding accomplishment,” he will also be using the case study this spring as a part of one of his classes, ECON 438: International Poverty and Development.

The thing that Dr. Lynn really appreciates about Sarah’s case is the fact that it is documentation of just one student’s impact on the world. As Dr. Lynn points out,

“A lot of students have gone out and done amazing things.”

At COBA, we are passionate about the fact that our students can change the world. That’s why components of the business school like The Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy and COBA’s Study Abroad programs are so crucial: they prepare COBA students to work in America, but also around the world; in economic bounty, but also in the third world.

Sarah is currently working on a PhD in Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Victoria.

Where will you be in six years?

An aerial photo of University of Victoria, where Sarah is pursuing her PhD

Business Meets Missions at Mission Lazarus

by   |  09.21.12  |  Social Entrepreneurship, Special Speakers

What sells coffee, necklaces, leather goods, and carpentry while simultaneously educating children, providing medical care, and employing local people?

Mission Lazarus, of course.

What’s even better than an organization that does everything listed above?

One that serves in the name of Jesus.

“Our projects are a mean to an end. Our end is bringing people to Jesus Christ,” said Jarrod Brown, President and Co-Founder of Mission Lazarus.

Jarrod, who spent about a decade in Honduras before relocating to Nashville, Tennessee, joined professors Andy Little and Monty Lynn this week in a three-part lecture series on social entrepreneurship at ACU’s annual “Summit” conference.

Jarrod Brown, President and Co-Founder of Mission Lazarus

Social entrepreneurship, which can be defined as mission-driven entrepreneurship with a distinctly social focus, is a rapidly growing segment of the nonprofit landscape. In order to further explore this elusive concept, Drs. Little and Lynn left the textbooks behind and joined Jarrod in providing a unique intersection of principles that have been taught in air-conditioned classrooms but applied in the mountainous jungles of the third world.

As he discussed the rare marriage of business and missions that is Mission Lazarus, Jarrod talked about the dangers often lurking behind short-term missions. As he pointed out, Americans often take advantage of orphaned or impoverished children when they visit for a week, post the highlights of their trip on Facebook, and then return to the States feeling as if they have utterly changed the world.

However, the sad reality is that when Americans go home on emotional, self-congratulatory highs, monetary poverty continues to run rampant throughout the third world.

So how does Mission Lazarus differ from this standard model of self-fulfilling aid work?

It’s structured, in some ways, like a business.

You see, like any successful business, Mission Lazarus is focused on perpetually raising up new leadership, much of which is actually from Honduras. By partnering with local people, Mission Lazarus is able to form relationships and provide mentoring that goes beyond the typical workplace interface and that extends beyond a week. As a result, these relationships provide the opportunity for Christ to be shared through the work Jarrod and his co-workers are doing in Honduras.

COBA Students on a Study Abroad trip to Mission Lazarus

Another business-like aspect of Mission Lazarus is the fact that it actually contains several for-profit agricultural ventures, like a coffee plantation. (To buy Mission Lazarus coffee, click here.) Through these ventures, Mission Lazarus is able to cover 12% of its total expenses…by itself.

This self-sufficiency not only provides donor confidence in where money goes, it also means that as Mission Lazarus needs less and less money to run its current opportunities, it has the chance to continue growing and expanding.

Through this stellar example of social entrepreneurship, Jarrod and his entire team have followed God’s lead and found themselves right in the middle of God’s work in Honduras. As a result, lives are being changed, not just through the provision of food and education, but through the knowledge of who Jesus is and how He can utterly transform lives.

In Tuesday’s session, Dr. Lynn made a profound point: “Development must be both inward and outward.”

At Mission Lazarus, inward and outward development are every day occurrences.

What are you doing to develop yourself as both a leader and a follower of Christ today?

For more information about Mission Lazarus, click here, and to find out more about COBA’s Summer Study Abroad Trip to Mission Lazarus, email Andy Little at agl95t@acu.edu or Jim Litton at jdl97a@acu.edu

COBA Students in Honduras

For Dan Austin, Social Entrepreneurship is Just Like Riding a Bike

by   |  09.14.12  |  Distinguished Speakers Series, Entrepreneurship, Griggs Center, Social Entrepreneurship, Special Speakers

This Wednesday the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy kicked off its Entrepreneur Speaker Series with a lunch presentation by Dan Austin, co-founder of 88bikes.

With an audience of nearly one-hundred-and-fifty, Dan spent the better part of an hour regaling his audience with tales of life as a social entrepreneur.

Dan Austin, Co-Founder of 88bikes

Originally an author and filmmaker, Dan began his journey with 88bikes in 2006, when he and his brother, Jared, took a biking trip across Cambodia. At the conclusion of their journey, the two donated their personal bikes and 86 additional bikes to children at the Palm Tree Orphanage in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Seeing the joy elicited by their gift of 88 bikes, the pair was moved to action, and they began pursuing their vision of “joy-inspired philanthropy.”

Since their initial gift of 88 bikes, Dan and his coworkers (none of whom receive salaries) have connected donors with children all over the world through their one-to-one giving model.

Because of the unique giving model implemented by 88bikes, donors know exactly where their money goes. Furthermore, they receive a picture of their child standing next to their new bike with a picture of their donor in hand. Through this photo exchange, 88bikes is able to create a unique international connection.

Children receiving bikes and photos of their donors from 88bikes

As Dan explained, this one-to-one connection is fundamental to 88bikes, and—in his opinion—to any social entrepreneurship venture.

As part of this presentation, Dan offered three critical pieces of advice to budding entrepreneurs:

 1.  Connect one-to-one.

2. Raise the bar.

3. Go local.

As Dan went on to explain, the success that 88bikes has found is largely due to these three components.

88bikes’ one-to-one connection creates loyal donors who are truly invested in the organization and the children it serves. In addition, the organization raises the bar set by traditional aid agencies by focusing on the intrinsic human need for joy as well as physical needs like hunger. Finally, 88bikes employs local bike merchants and mechanics in order to boost the local economy. As a result of these strategies, 88bikes is continuing to grow and thrive.

Cassie Powers, a junior here in COBA, is currently in a Social Entrepreneurship class. “The biggest issue that I have learned so far in social entrepreneurship is that you need to set yourself up for failure because it is going to happen,” said Cassie. “You have to work around it to make it work or come up with a new idea.”

Dan talking with ACU students after his presentation

While listening to Dan, Cassie was really impressed with the way that she saw her class curriculum align with Dan’s real world experience and advice. “It really connected when Dan Austin spoke about the barriers he had,” continued Cassie. “One thing he said was to have your organization grow organically. Meaning if it happens it happens.”

All in all, the inaugural event of the Entrepreneur Speaker Series was a huge success, and undoubtedly had a profound impact on everyone who attended.

Be sure to check out the next speaker in the series, Jarrod Brown, who will be joining us next Tuesday to talk about his work in Honduras with Mission Lazarus. For more information on the Entrepreneur Speaker Series, please click here.

For more on 88bikes and the incredible work that Dan and his organization do, click here, and be sure to thank the Griggs Center and the members of our CEO organization for all that they do to make these events possible.

Dan with COBA students after his presentation