BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – What drives social entrepreneurs to make business a force for good?
An Indiana University Kelley School of Business professor who is one of the world’s leading researchers on social entrepreneurship will sit down for a conversation with a current Kelley student whose NGO focuses on sustainable development in 10 countries and involves about 9,500 “young changemakers.”
Sophie Bacq, associate professor of entrepreneurship and a faculty fellow in the Institute for Entrepreneurship & Competitive Enterprise, will speak with Sankalp Sharma, founder of the Sachh Foundation, an organization that has received the attention of the Obama Foundation and received many honors and awards
The live webinar – presented at 4 pm on Oct. 13 — is one of several events being held this fall at IU on the theme, “Business Doing Good.” After the discussion, Bacq and Sharma will take questions. Registration is free and open to the public.
Bacq, who joined the Kelley faculty in 2019, is leading scholar in social entrepreneurship. In her research, she investigates and theorizes about entrepreneurial action aiming to solve intractable social and environmental problems, at the individual, organizational and civic levels of analysis. She has taught and conducted empirical research on the topic in Europe, the United States and South Africa and her research has been published in the top management and entrepreneurship journals.
She also has co-edited three books on social entrepreneurship and serves as a field editor at the Journal of Business Venturing and serves on editorial review boards for three other journals.
“We have long known that empathy plays a big part in social entrepreneurship, especially in comparison to traditional entrepreneurship, which tends to have a self-oriented motivation. But we cannot assume that everyone who is empathic will want to become a social entrepreneur,” Bacq said.
Jason Whitney, vice president of venture development at IU Ventures and executive director for the IU Angel Network, said presentations like the conversation between Bacq and Sharma highlights how entrepreneurial principles can be used to address broader issues facing society.
“Leveraging entrepreneurship as a force to address societies most pressing challenges has proven to be effective both locally and globally and highlighting these efforts helps to encourage more solutions to be created,” Whitney said.
Bacq said Sharma is a good example of how many young business people see value in applying their talents toward making great social impact, as part of their personal success.
A junior at Kelley and a youth leader and environmental activist from Bangalore, India, he founded the Sachh Foundation at age 18. He has presented numerous speeches around the globe on his work, sustainable development, climate change, water conservation, human rights and gender equality – including a TEDx talk in 2019.
Interested in how young people could mobilize audiences and come up with innovative solutions, he created the foundation to start a worldwide campaign implemented by a network of young leaders working towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations.
Beginning in India, it now includes partners in 10 nations, including Nepal, Nigeria, Senegal, Haiti, Peru and Malawi. Each country has a team that uses a centralized process of carrying out planned activities and reach others in other cities and localities to build larger and stronger teams.
Sharma also is the creator of the “People of IU,” a social media campaign highlighting the people who make up the diverse fabric that is Indiana University’s Bloomington campus.
He has won many awards for his work, including the Akhil Uday Award and the Aryan Young Achiever Award. He received the National Society of High School Scholars award from its founder, Claes Nobel. He was also invited by former President Barack Obama to represent the youth at a personal town hall and discuss the future of working with the foundation and youth of India jointly.
He represented India at the leadership training program of the Climate Reality Program (founded by former vice president Al Gore), the International Youth Fellowship’s Leadership Camp in South Korea the United Nations Summer Youth Assembly in New York, and the Global International Teen Conference in Nepal.
He believes that his generation can lead the fight for sustainability and climate change mitigation. Young leaders around the world have a powerful voice and can bring a positive impact on social issues and international development. “Together, the youth can save our planet and make it more sustainable for the future,” he says.
The webinar is being presented by Kelley’s Institute for International Business, the IU Kelley School of Business Alumni Association, the IU Alumni Association, Kelley’s Office of Development and Engagement, the IU Office of the Vice President for International Affairs and IU Ventures.