(Photo by Flickr user Ron Reiring, used under a Creative Commons license)
Philadelphia has gained a reputation as an eds and meds town. Could it become a hub for social entrepreneurship, too?
According to this piece in MiLLENNiAL (and recently shared by Fortune), there are five necessary components to turning a city into a hub for social entrepreneurship.
1. “Capitalize on the strengths of area universities”
Philly’s strong on this front, led inside the city by University of Pennsylvania‘s Wharton Social Impact Initiative and followed by pushes within Temple University (Net Impact, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute) and Drexel (Lindy Institute, Close School of Entrepreneurship). Institutions right outside the city limits can be just as influential.
2. “Rally local foundations”
The article argues that foundations can be a key driver for social entrepreneurship if they’re on the same page — hosting events, making grants to nonprofits and social enterprises and working together to “equip social entrepreneurs with cutting-edge research.”
Still, there are some who say Philadelphia’s largest foundations don’t really do too much for Philadelphia anymore.
3. “The effort must be driven by the social entrepreneurs themselves”
John Moore, president at local impact investing fund Investors’ Circle Philadelphia told us something similar last spring, adding an important caveat: There needs to be a community supporting those social entrepreneurs. They can’t power the engine themselves.
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4. “Embrace the startup culture”
5. “Remember this is a long term play”
It may seem like Philadelphia has most of these components in place, but it takes time to build something sustainable. It will take a cohesive community with a collective vision for the future.