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Humane Business Practiced Here

Global Jesuit universities meeting May 19–21 at SCU to share ways to better foster "social entrepreneurs".

A wave of activity is underway by Jesuit universities to help battle the sort of inhumane capitalism and indifference to the poor that Pope Francis warned against in his exhortation last November. The tool these universities are increasingly embracing is “social entrepreneurship,” with universities supporting businesses that serve the poor by teaching students to start or support them and conducting research on their social benefit.

Helping Social Entrepreneurs

Social entrepreneurs use businesses and innovative business strategies to solve humanity’s biggest problems: poverty, health care scarcity, toxic cooking fuel, or agricultural unsustainability. They often have “triple bottom lines”—a goal of making a profit and creating a lasting business, having a measurable impact on social problems, and conserving the Earth’s resources.

For more than 12 years, Santa Clara University has run mentoring programs to help social entrepreneurs expand their impact, as part of its Jesuit mission for a humane, sustainable world. The University also offers classes in social entrepreneurship topics and an undergraduate fellowship to work directly with these entrepreneurs. In recent years, about a dozen Jesuit universities worldwide have started similar programs or have become interested in working with social entrepreneurs in other ways.

Global Meeting May 19–21

Now, interested universities from the Philippines, Taiwan, Mexico, Slovenia, Italy, and Spain will be gathering at Santa Clara University May 19 to 22 for a meeting of the “GSBI Network,” a group of universities—most of them Jesuit—interested in advancing this promising way of helping the poor. In attendance will be Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., the secretary for higher education for the Society of Jesus and president of Loyola University in Chicago.

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