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Entrepreneurship G.L.O.B.E. | Feb 19, 2011 |

NYC Social Entrepreneur Panel & Showcase

By Gabelli students Andrew Weinzoff and Bryan Matis

Some businessmen and women think that a company’s sole purpose is to make money and maximize shareholder wealth. But Gabelli students who participate in Students for Fair Trade, the Entrepreneurship Society, and GLOBE believe that there are other ways to approach business. Social entrepreneurship, which is the creation of a business model whose profits work towards addressing a social problem such as hunger or poverty, especially in the developing world, is gaining momentum in the United States and around the world. The New York City Social Entrepreneur Panel and Showcase, held on February 9, 2011, introduced this important social and business movement to Fordham students.

As part of International Business Week, Fordham invited six people who founded or work for a social-entrepreneurship business in New York to participate in an on-campus panel. Each panelist’s company specialized in a particular product — from fair-trade food to clothes and gifts — made by economically disadvantaged people in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, or South America. These overseas producers are paid a fair and dignified price for what they produce, and they, in turn, pledge to conduct their own businesses in accordance with ethical principles that include fair pay, gender equality, safe working conditions, and more.

The panelists spoke at length about the histories of their businesses, the virtues of social entrepreneurship, and why they chose to get involved in fair trade. Each panelist, like their artisan partners in the developing world, had a unique story to tell. One entrepreneur started a business right after college, while others spent several years in India and Palestine working directly with those in need. Following the panel, students could interact with the entrepreneurs, having important conversations about social business and allowing everyone to network with one another. True to Fordham’s mission of educating “men and women for others,” the event demonstrated to the Fordham community that business students can do what they love while serving those most in need.

Andrew Weinzoff (GSB 2012) is the president of the Entrepreneurship Society. Bryan Matis is the president of Students of Fair Trade.


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