If you were to bing social entrepreneurship what would you find?
The first result gives you a definition from Wikipedia “a social entrepreneur recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and manage a venture to achieve social change” while the second result is a PBS feature on social entrepreneurs called “The New Heroes“.
So what do you think of when you hear the word “Hero”? A police officer? A fireman?? Maybe Superman or Superwoman? How about former Seattle Sonic and current Boston Celtics star guard, Ray Allen, who sank a 3 pointer – and the hopes of Knick Fans- two nights ago to win game 1 in the NBA playoffs?
Last week I caught a glimpse of a new type of hero in the making, as students from all around the United States showcased their ideas at the US Finals for the Imagine Cup. No one was wearing bright colored suits, no logos, nor 50,000 screaming fans, and no one looked as if they could leap tall buildings in a single bound, but potential heroes nonetheless.
“Team Lifecode” consisted of students from Wayne State University and the University of Michigan. A friendly young woman named Melissa greeted me and introduced the team’s project “Procur”, an intelligent humanitarian supply chain of the future.
Team LifeCode couldn’t have picked a more relevant topic to innovate around given the number of catastrophic disasters over the past few years with the earthquake in Haiti, and most recently the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Procur uses a Windows Azure cloud based system to host a web-based and and mobile (Windows Phone 7) application. Bing Maps is used to create an easy means for users to donate and track their donation to relief efforts for a natural disaster:
(Please visit the site to view this video)
Team LifeCode was one of many who recognized a social problem and used entrepreneurial principles to seek social change, bringing the definition of Social Entrepreneurship to life. Where people like Ray Allen can represent heroism to sports fans and community advocates like myself, I can’t help but be drawn to a new generation of heroism who puts imagination into action in hopes to make a change.