Professor encourages students to pursue social enterprise endeavors
Riverside, Calif. (March 6, 2019) – Dr. Darla Donaldson, associate professor of finance and social entrepreneurship at California Baptist University, has a knack for keeping interesting props in her office.
Jewelry from Nigeria, a knit cap from Uganda, an empty compost bag, a bar of soap and a soccer ball found on the shelves are some of the teaching tools used to spark entrepreneur creativity.
Enterprises can help rescue people out of poverty, human trafficking in addition to providing opportunities for environmental stewardship, Donaldson said.
Donaldson has a history as a social entrepreneur herself. She has been involved with organizations such as: Path of Life Ministries, which offers holistic system of health care to the homeless population; Business 4 Transformation, which works in the 10-40 window; and Olive Crest, which assists at-risk children. She has worked with nonprofit organizations, helping them brainstorm social enterprise options; served on advisory boards; and helped to formulate metrics to evaluate a company’s spiritual impact.
“My whole motivation for social enterprise is to help people and help them provide an avenue to support their families,” Donaldson said. “The difference between a social entrepreneur and an entrepreneur is that social entrepreneurs are motivated from compassion.”
Donaldson takes this passion and seeks to pass it along to her students to pursue such endeavors. For instance, in one course—Microfinance (BUS 363), she has her students examine ways microfinance, as a tool, can help alleviate global poverty so that sustainable change might occur.
In her Social Entrepreneurship course (ENT 362), Donaldson instructs students how to use business skills and knowledge to create social change. Students develop a business plan for a social enterprise by determining what service or good to sell, analyzing market trends to understand who their customer would be in addition to proposing Christian principles for their core business values.
Donaldson said being an entrepreneur or social entrepreneur are equal pursuits.
“God wired some people to be entrepreneurs, but there are other people who have a compassion for a particular people group,” Donaldson said.
For those students who have the compassionate wiring, Donaldson seeks to open a window into the social entrepreneurship arena and help inspire ideas that make positive changes in society.
“I hope that the students will look to see where God is at work in the lives of people around them and join Him in that work. God can use their skills to make a difference,” Donaldson said.