By: Sinclaire Johnson
This semester, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute partnered with the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies for “Entrepreneurs for Good”, a panel discussion that featured entrepreneurs and executives of socially conscious companies and organizations.
The event started with each panelist sharing their background and how each of them got started on their journey into entrepreneurship. Some had entrepreneurial influences from their families. Neil Terc, president of SuCasa, owes his entrepreneurial spirit to his family. “When I was young, I realized that I wanted to spend my life working towards benefiting other people,” said Terc. Katie Hayes was no stranger to social entrepreneurship when founding Community Farmers Market, Inc. “My father was a serial entrepreneur and my mother was a philanthropist, so I think I was stuck in this position from birth,” said Hayes. “My mother really influenced me doing something for social good, and my dad influenced me by literally have a different job every five years and starting his own company.” Rony Delgarde, founder of Global Paints for Charity, had no prior entrepreneurial influence. “I just knew that I wanted to help people,” said Delgarde.
Next, the entrepreneurs were asked what their experiences has been and what they’ve learned being social entrepreneurs. Katie talked about the process of building a team. “It was vey isolating at first, not having staff members or other people that worked directly with my organization, because you start to feel a little crazy sometimes,” said Hayes. Kristen Daniel, the CEO of Pentorship, mentioned the need for communication. “What you learn from really trying to create value for customers is that your team needs you to be able to convey that to them,” said Daniel.
Afterwards, the audience, which included Georgia State students, as well as local Atlanta social entrepreneurs, was able to ask the panelists questions about their personal experiences. When asked about finding funding for social entrepreneurs that aren’t looking to start non-profits, Neil discussed fundraising for for-profit companies. “If you can convey your vision, you can get other people to believe in it,” said Terc.
Missed this event? The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute plans events like this in order to educate Georgia State University faculty, staff, and students about topics related to entrepreneurship and innovation. For more information, check out our event calendar and follow us on social media!