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SEARCH: Students and Social Entrepreneurship

Starting a business that both makes money and has a positive impact on the community sounds like a great idea.  The social entrepreneurship ethic has always been part of some students' Hampshire educations, stretching into everything from biofuels to computer software. But while the theory is easy to grasp, making it a reality can be more challenging.

Enter the Social Entrepreneurship Aid and Research Center at Hampshire, SEARCH for short. It's the brainchild of students Asa Hyde 07F, Sam Judelson 07F, Ananda Valenzuela 07F, Henry Hyde 06F, and Brendan Sweeney 07F, the focus of an independent study that, starting in spring semester 2009, is evolving into a campus student group.

Social Entrepreneurship
Valenzuela first batted the concept around with Hyde and Sweeney while taking a Social Entrepreneurship class with Colin Twitchell 78F, director of the Lemelson Center.

They hope to incorporate an alumni network, and to launch successful student-run businesses. Once established, those businesses could contribute a portion of their profits each year to SEARCH's progress. "We want to make sure it's self-supporting," says Hyde.

"I feel Hampshire has a reputation for social change, but this would also give it the real world business element," says Sweeney, whose own social entrepreneurship goals are focused on human rights enterprises.
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