Poverty and inequality, amongst other social problems, have existed ever since the beginning of human civilization. Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day (World Bank, 2008). Despite the massive improvements in wealth and improved quality of life since the 1800s, raw capitalism or governments cannot solve the problem of poverty on their own. How do we solve such social problems? Our program is predicated on the assertion that solutions to these complex issues will only come when there is a drive for innovation embedded in a democratic populace that asks the question of social and environmental value regardless of borders. How does one embed the drive for innovation in a democratic populace? “Nussbaum advocates an education designed to produce “citizens of the world,” people of cosmopolitan subjectivity, who see a world full of equally valuable human persons, all of whom have a claim on our sense of moral obligations” (Cornwell, 2008). In this vein, Global Social Entrepreneurship (GSE) will engender and promote global citizenship and entrepreneurship for the global good.
In its current form, the Social Entrepreneurship (SE) program at The College of Wooster engages multidisciplinary teams of undergraduate students, advised by PhD faculty, to write business, marketing, or feasibility plans for non-profits in Wayne County, Ohio. Since 2006, we have assisted over 15 non-profits, trained over 75 faculty, staff, and students, and started five ventures. The goal of the trip to India is to explore partnerships that will support the expansion of this successful program. Expanding SE to GSE will enable students to think as global citizens and act as global change agents. Leaders of the future need to see borders not as barriers but as opportunities; to count similarities, not differences; to think not only of individual profit, but of the greater social return. Leaders need to enter into transnational partnerships evaluating not only how much they can teach, but also how much they can learn. A global extension to the Social Entrepreneurship program will allow students, alumni, and global partners to explore their citizenship in a global society and develop innovative, critical, and interpersonal thinking skills as well as solutions to address a range of social issues.
GSE will achieve the vision of “global citizenship and entrepreneurship for the global good” by implementing an inter-cultural, inter-generational, experiential-learning, problem-based experience with two components – an on-campus seminar and an international experiential-learning consultancy.