Second cohort of Social Entrepreneurship Bootcamp Kicks off in July

by Todd Jones (tejones1971@gmail.com) 144 views 

The 2016 cohort of the Social Entrepreneurship Bootcamp returns for its second year in July at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute on Petit Jean Mountain. In partnership with the Clinton School of Public Service, the University of Arkansas Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, applications are due by May 1, 2016.

The Bootcamp will be held July 15-17 and will feature some of the top entrepreneurs and mentors in the state of Arkansas and across the globe.

In a press release, Nikolai DiPippa, director of public programs and strategic partnerships at the Clinton School of Public Service, said, “Our lineup of speakers and mentors this year is top-notch. It’s a unique opportunity for the participants to be able to learn from such a wide and varied collection of talent and experience.”

Among those who will help mentor the participants are:

  • Permjot Valia, a Canada-based entrepreneurial coach and angel investor.
  • Jeff and Phyl Amerine, co-founders of Startup Junkie.
  • Dr. Carol Reeves, associate vice-provost for entrepreneurship at the University of Arkansas.
  • Dr. Rogelio Garcia Contreras, director of social innovation at the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas.
  • Adjoa Kusiwaa Boateng, regional director for West Africa at MicroEnsure.
  • Jeff Stinson, director of entrepreneurship at the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub.
  • David Moody, founder of Jacksson David and StartupDad.

Each social entrepreneurship team will be assigned a mentor to who will guide them through the three-day event assisting them with such topics as pitch training, identifying funding opportunities, scalability, measuring social metrics and ethics.

“The teams that came to the boot camp last summer had a lot of enthusiasm for how they could make a difference in the world through their business concept,” according to Dr. Marta Loyd, executive director of the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute. “They left the Institute with more confidence and poise, as well as a clearer sense of how to move their social enterprise forward.”

Dr. Contreras, director of social innovation at the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, began his post in December of 2015. According to Dr. Carol Reeves, his addition has been indispensable.

“Dr. Contreras has brought a lot to the table,” said Reeves. “He has lent his expertise as we’ve fine-tuned the program, and he has reached out to help us bring in some of our great speakers and mentors.”

Organizations wishing to learn more information about the 2016 Social Entrepreneurship Boot Camp can do so at the Winthrop Rockefeller website.

Other mentors or speakers at the Bootcamp include Nikolai DiPippa, University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service; Ben Kaufman, Walton Family Foundation; Warwick Sabin, Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub; Dr. Cynthia Sides, University of Arkansas; and Permjot Valia, CEO and founder of MentorCamp.

The Bootcamp has become invaluable for many of the mentors and attendees.

According to Dr. Cynthia Sides, Associate Director, Office of Entrepreneurship at University of Arkansas, “This is definitely an event that the U of A Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation is happy to be involved with because more and more of our students from all disciplines are interested in social ventures and learning how they can apply their studies, experiences, and backgrounds in a nonprofit or business. The focus of this generation of students is turning more to ‘for good’ rather than ‘for profit’ in many instances, but seeing the overlap and that it does not have to be one or the other can be exciting for them, and it is for our office, as well.

“So getting to participate in the boot camp helps educate us about the different ventures, resources, and opportunities in the state, and allows us to help educate and connect our students, as well.”

Last year’s Bootcamp was a valuable resource for attendees such as Leah Garrett from Olive Loom.

“Well, the Bootcamp really changed my life. It gave me the confidence to keep on going and the feeling that I am not the only out there trying to make a change. I received a tone of validation for our efforts at Olive Loom,” Garrett said.

Garrett explained how the Bootcamp impacted her personally.

“The Bootcamp really pushed me forward to get over my personal fears of standing in front a large group of people,” she said. “Probably, the most important lesson I learned was that my social business is not about me. It’s about the ladies Olive Loom impacts. I had to drop my ego and speak for them. Literally, before I gave my last presentation, I thought about all the women that Olive Loom has impacted. I meditated on their names. The bootcamp helped me hone in on my focus of my company.”

The Bootcamp is aimed at building on Arkansas’ entrepreneurial legacy and combining it with social change for good. Social entrepreneurship has become a very important part of the conversation in Arkansas.

“Arkansas is well known for cultivating successful business entrepreneurs,” according to Warwick Sabin. “The ability to direct that entrepreneurial energy toward social change is a vital piece of the economic development puzzle in our state.”

Video: Warwick Sabin talks Social Entrepreneurship

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