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SEED gives students the incredible opportunity to work with social entrepreneurs around the world, and as we members learn how to offer the best technical support we can for our clients, we have had to arrange trainings and workshops outside of the classroom. The number of SEED members alone points to the high demand for this type of work and experience -- and yet, as students, we were unable to find a comprehensive place within the university to prepare us. In 2011 the SEED Executive Board drafted a proposal to the Jefferson Trust Committee in hopes of securing the financial support necessary to engineer a hub for social entrepreneurship. And, they heard our plea!
A number of students identified a need for the University to help equip students with the skills necessary to better understand and engage in the growing practice of social entrepreneurship. Lily and Kevin examined existing programs specializing in this area at universities across the country and brainstormed with students, administrators and professors on ways to bring the best practices to the University of Virginia. These conversations and research culminated in a 30-page proposal detailing the various ways the University could harness its resources to offer a world-class program. With the support and commitment of key faculty and administrators, this proposal has become the blueprint for what is now the University’s Social Entrepreneurship Initiative.
Hebah Fisher graduated with a B.A. in Global Development Studies from the University of Virginia in 2011 and was heavily involved with SEED during her time at U.Va. She currently is the Program Director for a startup microfinance organization in Charlottesville, Virginia called the Community Investment Collaborative.
Lily Bowles graduated from the University of Virginia in 2012 with a B.A. in Political & Social Thought and a minor in Leadership. Her interest in social entrepreneurship began when she interned with the Grameen Bank, a microfinance institution in Bangladesh, and grew stronger when she interned at B Lab, a non-profit that certifies social enterprises and developed the legal infrastructure necessary to support them. Convinced that social entrepreneurship serves as an effective tool for community development, she became committed to creating opportunities for students to learn about and participate in this emerging field at U.Va. during her fourth year. She is now an Associate at Village Capital, an organization that supports seed-stage entrepreneurs and incubates enterprises in communities around the world.
Kevin Pujanauski graduated in 2012 from the College of Arts & Sciences' Politics Honors and Global Development Studies programs. During his time at U.Va., he had the pleasure to work with fellow students, the student organization SEED and other allied organizations, alumni, and faculty to advance the extracurricular and curricular offerings in the field of social entrepreneurship. Since graduation, he spent time in Brazil before beginning his current position as a Business Analyst at McKinsey & Company in Chicago, IL.
Elliot is a fourth-year Commerce student in Marketing, Management and Entrepreneurship as well as a Latin American Studies major. He is from Los Angeles, California, but has studied, worked, and traveled in Latin America for a year and half. Over the summer of 2012, he worked for impact investment fund Village Capital in Brazil at QMágico, an education technology social enterprise startup. He is also certified in impacting investing and social enterprise by the Frontier Market Scouts program. As SEED President, he leads the organization to deliver high impact for clients and a meaningful experience for its student members.
Leah is a third-year in the College of Arts & Sciences. She is double majoring in Global Development Studies and Social Enterprise (Echols Interdisciplinary). Leah has traveled extensively and had some experience in the field of SE while interning in Guatemala. She hopes to continue working in the fields of business and global development.
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