The New Zealand School for Social Entrepreneurs officially launches in South Auckland today. Twelve social entrepreneurs involved in an array of social ventures that radically improve their communities have been selected as the first students of the school.
These ventures include turning a community medicinal herb garden into a sustainable business that provides affordable medicines created from local plants, connecting families and communities through creative projects, and improving educational and long-term outcomes for at-risk children and youth.
“A social entrepreneur is an individual who shows all the classic traits of entrepreneurship – the drive, passion and resilience,” said Executive Director Faye Langdon. ” And the ‘social’ side is that they are committed to bringing about social change, which often comes from their direct experience.”
The New Zealand School for Social Entrepreneurs was set up by the New Zealand Centre for Social Innovation and is modeled on similar schools in the United Kingdom and Australia. In the UK 85% of student enterprises are still operating after seven years and each student creates an average three jobs and seven volunteering positions. The first 64 Australian fellows have already collected $4 million in funding, created 79 jobs and 360 volunteering positions.
Experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders will provide mentoring and networks during the nine month course which will also teach skills in areas ranging from governance and marketing to funding and business planning.
The Chair of the Centre for Social Innovation, Dr Monique Faleafa says social entrepreneurs act as change agents for communities and society, developing ideas and new approaches, creating and implementing solutions to social problems that change society for the better.
“All communities, particularly those experiencing significant disadvantage need to have the capacity to find and grow their own solutions to their own social and economic challenges.”
Eligible applicants for the school must:
- Have an idea/project that has a community or environmental benefit
- Demonstrate passion, drive and commitment to their idea/project
- Have ownership of their idea/project and autonomy of decision-making
- Be able to commit to the 9-month program 1 day per week
- Contribute $1500 as a school fee over and above awarded scholarship
Applications for 2013 open July 2012.
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