Before the 2013-2014 academic year officially kicked off, the Kellogg Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative (KIEI) held their inaugural Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Days “boot camp” for incoming students interested in entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship and design. In addition to networking and a full day of sessions, participants were then able to pitch their ideas, with hopes to win the $2,000 launch award. However, students gained much more than that, and a few opened up to share just how the event impacted them.
I found George Page, founder and CEO of Portapure, inspirational, as he discussed how he leveraged his chemical engineering background to give back to the world by leading a team to design, create and launch a (ridiculously awesome) water purifier that has significantly increased Haiti’s access to clean water. Not only that, but his business is sustainable, his product scalable, and the impact exponential. What better way to show a bunch of MBA hopefuls that any background and any degree can be put to use in social innovation?
Less than 24 hours from when ideas began cooking and teams began forming, 20 or so pitches were delivered. I now know why I chose Kellogg: Everyone was ON IT with amazing ideas, amazing presentations and amazing collaboration. While I’m glad there are so many others here who are interested in social innovation and impact, I am more stimulated by knowing that this is a group of people that will truly push me to try what I have not, to test the untested, and to excel beyond what I think I’m capable of.
—Ron Sinha ’15
After two days spent with over 100 socially-minded Kellogg students, I walked away with a renewed perspective on social undertakings. Every single person I had the pleasure of interacting with brought energy and passion to world issues, and the solutions they had in mind for tackling these issues were ingenious business approaches that focused on generating revenues to sustain models that could help balance a global inequity.
SIEI Days presented a great opportunity to understand the resources that are available at Kellogg for exploring ideas that can make a sustainable, positive impact on the world. As I prepare to enter an insanely fast-paced business school time warp, SIEI gave me the chance to reflect on my values and the simple, underwhelming steps I can take to create overwhelming change.
—Ryan Shain ’15
I met people from around the country and around the world with amazing interests like plastic recycling, agricultural optimization, wildlife preservation and waste management, as well as people who shared my interest in sustainable design. I had originally come to SIEI Days to learn more about working within an organization in the industry, but through interaction with Linda Darragh and fellow classmates, I learned that the inkling of an idea I had could be a viable business opportunity to be tested in a NUvention class.
Although my team did not win, our idea for a community-based solar project was well received, and we are getting guidance to possibly take it to the next level. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined launching a startup before classes had even begun, but at Kellogg, everything is possible if you “Think Bravely.”