Ask The Mompreneur: Many New Ventures Fueled By Social Activism

By Jennie Wong
The Charlotte Observer.

This week’s “Ask the Mompreneur” features an interview with Sandra Marshall, a social impact consultant for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, on the topic of social entrepreneurship.

Social entrepreneurs are receiving increasing attention and support, including from programs such as the Carolina Center for Public Service at the University of North Carolina, which awards Bryan Fellowships to student entrepreneurs.

Recent fellows include Nikhil Jyothinagaram and Cody Owens, who are starting a company that connects donors to educational nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs, in India.

The interview has been edited for clarity.

QUESTION: What does it mean to be a social entrepreneur?

ANSWER: Social entrepreneurs are people working to solve some of society’s most pressing issues. They are business people and change-makers who have a passion for helping people and improving the community.

I consider myself a social entrepreneur. After working in the nonprofit sector for more than 17 years, I launched my company, Sandra Marshall & Associates, to work with individuals and organizations to help fuel social impact in the community here in Charlotte and around the world.

I also founded a Charlotte, N.C. nonprofit, Project Scientist, to help inspire and empower girls with an aptitude, talent and passion for science, technology, engineering and math. It’s a cause that has always been important to me, especially since becoming the mom of two daughters.

Q: What are the current trends in social entrepreneurship?

A: More and more, kids, teens and young adults want to have a positive impact on the world. They are taking action and mobilizing their peers and even adults to address problems important to them. They are donating to charities, volunteering to help others and even engaging in social entrepreneurship, taking the passion they feel about a cause and undertaking a business-like activity that earns money (or provides other resources) to support that cause.

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