“My fellowship and work in Leading Social Ventures was a fantastic combination of experiential and academic learning. They worked as a feedback loop,” says Lauren Behgam ‘15, a co-founder of the Food Recovery Network. “For me, Leading Social Ventures was the academic backbone to the fellowship and a space to discuss challenges and successes with our professors and other students.”

Social Innovation Fellowship & Leading Social Ventures course – 2014 Awardee

The Social Innovation (SI) Fellowship provides 15-20 students with up to $4,000 to grow a social venture over the summer, supported by a year of intensive skills training, mentoring, and a community of social entrepreneurs on campus. Fellows are either launching an entrepreneurial venture or working on an intrapreneurial project within an existing enterprise. Leading Social Ventures (LSV) is a credit-bearing course that complements the fellowship. LSV covers core concepts related to early stage venture development and students apply theory to real-world issues they face in their venture.

The SI Fellowship began in 2009 and has invested in 75 students (32 entrepreneurs and 43 intrapreneurs) and 51 unique social ventures. Nearly three out of every four entrepreneurial ventures we have supported through the SI Fellowship are still in existence today, and almost three out of five fellows are still actively involved in their venture today. In a recent survey, five ventures documented a 300% average increase in budget between when they started out as fellows and their budget today. Approximately three out of five Fellows continue to be involved with their ventures today, and many have earned prestigious awards such as Banking on Youth, Dell Social Innovation Challenge, Mass Challenge, Brown’s Royce Fellowship and Echoing Green. Fellows and students in the class serve as mentors for other students.

How can people become involved in or replicate your innovation?
We are happy to share the curricula for the fellowship and the course with other educators and programs, as well as speak to those interested about how to incorporate this work into their offerings.

Contact Information
Lizzie Pollock, Assistant Director of Social Entrepreneurship: lizzie_pollock(AT)brown(DOT)edu
MJ Kaplan, Leading Social Ventures Instructor, mjkaplan(AT)kaplanconsult(DOT)com
Alan Harlam, Director of Social Entrepreneurship, alan_harlam(AT)brown(DOT)edu

Cordes Innovation Awards

In partnership with Cordes Foundation, Ashoka U seeks to recognize globally relevant teaching, learning, and partnership practices that may be adapted and replicated across the field.