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Three freshmen show their instinct for innovation

Undergraduate | Sep 19, 2014 |

7529423Social entrepreneurship requires creativity and big ideas. At the start of this school year, three freshmen stood out for their innovative business models that won them the freshmen competition.

The challenge—to come up with an innovative business model that inspired social change—was based on the book, How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, by David Bornstein who visited Fordham recently to lecture on the topic.

Congratulations Emma Dowden (GSB ’18)Jiayi Lao (GSB ’18) and Sofiya Shifrina (GSB ’18) for these ideas that very well could change the world:

Emma Dowden thinks that an active sportswear line for the disabled would help adults with disabilities live fuller lives. In two programs Emma was involved in, she noticed the need for fashionable active wear that fits properly on people with Down syndrome. Her plan would also allow for the vocational training and hiring of disabled adults to work in production facilities, creating new employment opportunities.

Jiayi Lao‘s plan promotes recycling and would improve the delivery of medical services in nations stricken by poverty. With enhanced technology, older-generation medical equipment is routinely upgraded. In this business model, Jiayi suggests sending the still-functioning equipment to poor areas such as West Africa and setting up medical centers. “More people can get medical education and more scientists, both foreign and local, could address local diseases and prevent them from become epidemic,” Jiayi said. “It will help to create a healthier world.”

Sofiya Shifrina‘s business idea was born from her own upbringing in Russia where her grandmother took a leave of absence from her job to care for her until she started school. “When I moved to America, I realized that this is not a common tradition here,” she said. “I believe it would be beneficial to the economy and the younger generation to create a system that allows for earlier retirement for elders, so they can be involved in raising their grandchildren.” Earlier retirement would free up jobs and decrease unemployment.

These are excellent examples of creative innovation and Emma, Jiayi and Sofiya’s big ideas show how social entrepreneurship can truly change the world, one person at a time.

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