The second annual Irish Impact Social Entrepreneurship Conference, held Oct. 2-4 at the Mendoza College, opened with a keynote talk by author and New York Times columnist David Bornstein. “It’s a wonderful time to be alive if you like to fix things,” Bornstein told the audience gathered in the Jordan Auditorium. “Because everything is broken.”
“Fixing things” through social entrepreneurship was the focus of the conference, organized by Mendoza’s Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship and the Fellow Irish Social Hub (FISH), which offers incubation services to social entrepreneurs ready to launch their ventures. Some of the foremost social innovators traveled to campus to share practices and though leadership on utilizing the tools and principles of entrepreneurship as a way of addressing issues of access for vulnerable populations, whether in the public health arena, education, energy, or economic development.
The three-day event also included the Zielsdorf Family Investment Pitch session, where judges heard live funding pitches from a select group of seasoned social entrepreneurs; the Irish Impact Opportunity Fair, where more than 50 social entrepreneurs set up displays and were on hand to discuss their ventures; and the Irish Impact Awards, which recognized organizations and individuals who have demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit and significant social impact.