Global awareness and understanding of international issues and practices related to communication demonstrated by at least one activity or assignment that asks students to explore a communication situation or problem from a global/international perspective.
One of the most unexpected courses I took during my time in this program was Social Entrepreneurship (COMM674). In the course, my classmates and I were exposed to several different types of entrepreneurs in the Charlotte area. We interviewed entrepreneurs of 1-person nonprofits and startup technology firms. We heard from serial entrepreneurs and from those who started businesses that we questioned. We explored and challenged the idea of social entrepreneurship and worked alongside a local social entrepreneurship incubator, Queen City Forward. We ended up putting together a communication plan to help QCF move forward toward its communication goals.
Though we talked directly with social entrepreneurs from around Charlotte, we learned about the social entrepreneurship movement that has gained popularity in recent years around the globe. We read Conscious Capitalism by Whole Foods founder John Mackey and several other works that helped bring the idea of a true systems theory to life – social entrepreneurship as an idea that takes capitalism and turns it on its head, so that it is used in a way that is beneficial to all parties involved, even down to employees, competitors and the environment.
An excerpt from the conclusion:
If someone approached me today for advice on launching a social entrepreneurship, I would draw upon my experiences in this course and provide the following tips:
1. Start with passion. If you do already have a strong passion for the cause you want to support through a social venture, you will not be able to sustain the venture.
2. Be authentic. If narrative and storytelling really are so central to gaining trust with stakeholders, then your story will need to be authentically passionate.
3. Seek community. The popularity of “hubs” for social entrepreneurs is spreading (for example, through places like Packard Place, Queen City Forward and Area 15 in Charlotte), so there is no reason why social entrepreneurs must be alone in their work. Seek advice from a community of peers and experts.
4. Seek balance. Many of the entrepreneurs we spoke to were in risk of burnout because of the personal investment of time and resources into their ventures. Set a balance early on and stick to it to ensure success for the long-term.
5. Believe in yourself. If you do not wholeheartedly believe in yourself and in what you are trying to achieve, why should anyone else?
I am thrilled to see that there is such interest in social entrepreneurship in Charlotte and many other cities around the world, and my hope is to continue to study and support worthy entrepreneurs.