LIU Post MBA Students Give Back
Brookville, N.Y. -- Can a business plan save the world? Graduating business students at LIU Post are willing to give it a try by applying the knowledge and skills acquired in their previous courses in helping not-for-profit organizations with their business-related problems.
By placing social responsibility equal to profit, students in the undergraduate “Social Entrepreneurship Seminar” are studying the effectiveness of using innovative solutions to help solve pressing social issues. This is the sixth year that this class has been offered.
The students are divided into teams to work on four separate projects. One group is working with Open Door Exchange whose mission is to provide furniture for needy families and individuals. A second group is working with FREE (Family Residences and Essential Enterprises) which operates in-house businesses for special needs individuals in order to prepare them for transition to private sector.
A third team is working with Long Island Progressive Coalition and LIU Post Sociology Professor, Dr. Heather Parrott, in developing and conducting a research survey of Long Island small business regarding the feasibility of establishing worker cooperatives when the owner retires. And finally, the fourth team is working with the Lupus Alliance of Long Island and Queens to increase brand awareness.
In addition to the enthusiasm of the student teams, the non-profit organizations seem to appreciate the student’s efforts. Patricia D’Accolti, Executive Director of the Lupus Alliance stated:
“I truly enjoyed working with LIU Professor Freeley and his class on the specialized projects for the Lupus Alliance of LIQ. The students offered high quality input as part of their assignments for marketing and fundraising that is comparable to any professional corporation. The skill level was impressive and the students were an absolute joy to work with.”
“Social entrepreneurship is becoming a major component of the business world,” said business professor and course instructor Dr. James L. Freeley. “Where most entrepreneurs start a business to make a profit, social entrepreneurs set up a business that will make a profit and benefit society.”
“In helping outside organizations, these business students are able to apply their training and expertise to a ‘real world’ situation, as well as give back to society, which is one of the main roles of a University,” Dr. Freeley said. “More specifically, these student projects also demonstrate the value of using business concepts and techniques in solving social problems.”
The growing trend of social entrepreneurs reached new heights when the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Bangladeshi economist Muhammed Yunus, Ph.D., founder of Grameen Bank, for his work in establishing micro-loans to assist the poorest residents of Bangladesh to become self-sufficient entrepreneurs and raise themselves out of poverty.
“The old business model was giving charitable donations or using government grants. The new business model generates income that works towards a greater good,” Dr. Freeley said.
In addition to learning about social entrepreneurship, students also will have the opportunity to meet and interact with several Long Island CEOs in rare question-and-answer sessions in small class settings.
This class is the fourth component in an on-going project conducted by Dr. Freeley, an expert on entrepreneurship in the College of Management of LIU Post. For more than 35 years, he has been involved in various aspects of the field of entrepreneurship and is the author of articles, papers and books on the subject. In addition to a video archive, “History of Entrepreneurship on Long Island,” in which he interviews successful Long Island CEOs, Dr. Freeley conducted a national research study that resulted in an Entrepreneurship Style Profile questionnaire.
This profile is used to assist future entrepreneurs in analyzing their own characteristics and chances of success. He also is the author of a book titled “Are You an Entrepreneur?” which discusses the 12 characteristics of a successful entrepreneur and outlines, in simple and practical terms, the steps necessary to start a business.
For more information, contact Dr. Freeley at James.Freeley @liu.edu
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