By Shelby Townsend
Starting this semester, undergraduate students at Post will be able to take Management 81, a seminar that provides students with the opportunity to become consultants for nonprofit organizations. A similar course had been available to students at the graduate level, but this is the first semester the three-credit course is offered to undergraduate students.
According to Dr. James Freeley, an Associate Professor of Management who created the course ten years ago for graduate students, the difference between entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship is the focus and main goal of the business. Entrepreneurship is “starting a new business to make a profit,” but “social entrepreneurship wants to solve a problem in society and secondarily make a profit.” Freeley said that within the last ten years, social entrepreneurships have become “an emerging trend in business.”
According to an LIU Post press release from May 7, 2014, graduate students collaborated with Strength for Life and Enactus. The two nonprofit organizations look to improve the lives of cancer patients through exercise, and using entrepreneurial action to help those in need. During the spring semester of 2014, students enrolled in the social en trepreneurship course helped the organizations with common business problems such as marketing strategies and ways of funding. They also learned how to make a business plan and “a profit without relying on government grants or charitable donations.”
This semester, undergraduate students have the opportunity to work on three consulting projects. For the first one, students can work with a nonprofit religious organization by planning the organization’s annual event. The second project involves students helping the same organization develop a brand. The third consulting project is with a start-up agricultural business that barters natural food and needs help determining what direction to go in.
“I like to call it a win-win-win situation,” Freeley said. “It’s great for students because they get to apply theoretical knowledge to real business situations.” Freeley also said that businesses benefit because they get the expertise from students “trained in various skills in business,” and LIU Post benefits because it is able to give back to the community.
“Some of the students told me this whole process really opened their eyes to a whole different area that they can use their skills in other than private enterprise,” Freeley said.