Making a Global Impact via Social Entrepreneurship

Author: Notre Dame ESTEEM

The ESTEEM Graduate Program at the University of Notre Dame, working in concert with the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies (Mendoza College of Business) is gaining international attention in the increasingly-important area of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship, welcoming visitors to campus from Brazil and Africa over the past as well as having David Murphy, Associate Dean of Entrepreneurship for the College of Science and Engineering and the Director of ESTEEM, speak with faculty and students at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (PCC) last fall in Santiago, Chile.

“These students are coming up and they are on fire about entrepreneurship in general but also very curious and excited about social entrepreneurship,” Murphy says. “We’re taking that message globally.”

Director Murphy Giving a Talk in Chile

Murphy gave a talk last October at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, one of the top universities on the continent, which has a longstanding relationship with Notre Dame. The talk included general reflections on social entrepreneurship, the role of universities, and details about the development of Better World Books.

“Often social entrepreneurship is seen as one in which the language of the business world must be absent and that is naturally opposed in essence,” says an English translation of the Spanish report published after the talk. “Murphy said many social entrepreneurs have several tools to build a good business, however, to focus exclusively on the mission, put aside competition, can have adverse effects in terms of their permanence in time.”

International students who visit campus are also learning about social entrepreneurship. Last summer, ESTEEM was a major part of a six-week on-campus experience for 25 students in the Young African Leaders Initiative. The students heard lectures on social entrepreneurship and visited enFocus, a community program started by ESTEEM, and Better World Books, a pioneer for-profit social venture where Murphy was the (founding) CEO and served in that capacity form inception to 2011, when he then left to assume his current responsibilities at Notre Dame. 

Director Murphy takes students from Brazil on a tour of a hub of innovation

More recently, Murphy led a group of students from Unicamp, one of the leading public universities in São Paulo, Brazil, on an immersion into the world of social entrepreneurship that included class/lecture time and tours/discussion with leaders at Better World Books and enFocus.