BYU Recognized for Social Entrepreneurship Innovation

Social entrepreneurship is cropping up on campuses everywhere. And Brigham Young University's Students for Social Entrepreneurship internship program is among the best in the field.

The internship, which pairs students with top social innovators, was granted the "Award for Innovation in Social Entrepreneurship Education" from Ashoka U, an international organization that supports college social entrepreneurship programs.

"We feel honored to receive this award," says Todd Manwaring, director of the Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance. "Our program stands out because we work with world-renowned social entrepreneurs. And our students really rise to the occasion by producing great deliverables."

Social entrepreneurship applies free-market methods to social issues. Some say its popularity among college students comes from Generation Y's drive to not only attain professional success but also work out the world's problems. 

"Social entrepreneurship is service you can make a living on," says TJ Thomander, co-president of Students for Social Entrepreneurship. "Students want jobs after they graduate but they also want to make a difference. Through social entrepreneurship, we can use our business skills to benefit more than the bottom line."           

The Students for Social Entrepreneurship program enables students to earn credit while working with social enterprises such as Teach for America and Kiva. BYU's program also includes a lecture series designed to acquaint students with the field.

College social entrepreneurship programs have quadrupled within recent years. In 2004, 20 universities in the United States offered such a course. Today there are nearly 100.

"The field is growing because it makes sense," says Natalie Tucker, a Students for Social Entrepreneurship internship director. "These organizations are sustainable, scalable, innovative and they implement lasting positive change."

Some students are saying that social entrepreneurship is contagious. Once they get a taste, they're hooked. 

"It's such an attractive field," Tucker says. "Every semester, curious students take a social entrepreneurship class, having never heard of it. There are always a handful who say, ‘what have I been doing all my life? This is my calling!'"

For more information or to apply for an internship, students may visit

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, public management, information systems and entrepreneurship. The school's mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School's graduate and undergraduate programs.

Media Contact: Joseph Ogden (801) 422-8938
Writer: Courtney Rieder Nielsen