Social Entrepreneurship Conference Empowers Students

By Anna Wright

New College student Jesus Olive is awarded $3,000 to launch his company Better Today.
New College student Jesus Olive is awarded $3,000 to launch his company Better Today.

Students and community members gathered at Harry Sudakoff Conference Center Sept. 21 to experience New College’s first Social Entrepreneurship Conference.
“Social entrepreneurship is a new concept of business where the focus is not on the profits, but on the impact they make on the world,” explains Emiliano Espinosa, an Environmental Studies AOC and co-founder of the conference.
Hosted by the Cross College Alliance, the conference brought together business leaders and influential community members to empower and equip the next generation of social entrepreneurs. Panelists from local and successful businesses spoke on the challenges and rewards of addressing social, environmental, and creative issues through entrepreneurship.
“In learning how to start something from nothing,” Rose Shimmel, a Music and Psychology AOC, remarked, “I learned that you just have to keep reaching out to people and don’t be afraid to take risks. People come from such different backgrounds and they just go for these projects, and I feel inspired to keep going for my own.”
In addition to portfolio reviews, students had the opportunity to participate in a pitch competition, where judges considered potential business ideas and awarded scholarships to help launch student-led entrepreneurial endeavors. New College student Jesus Olive was awarded $3,000 to grow his company, named Better Today.
“I encourage students to take their opportunity in their four-year career as a college student to actually take on a project that matters to them — to their heart — and make it happen throughout those four years, even if it’s at a small scale,” says Espinosa. “You can make an impact locally.”
The next Social Entrepreneurship Conference is planned for September 2020.
— Anna Wright is an intern in the Office of Communications and Marketing.

Founded in Sarasota in 1960, New College of Florida is the state's only legislatively designated Honors College of Florida. New College prepares intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement by providing a highly individualized education that integrates academic rigor with career-building experiences. New College offers 45 undergraduate majors in liberal arts and sciences, a master’s degree program in data science, and certificates in technology, finance, and business skills.

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