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Stanford : tech entrepreneurs : :
Yale : social entrepreneurs

"What Stanford is to classic tech entrepreneurship, Yale is becoming to social entrepreneurship," declares Ozy, a news and culture website ("smarter, fresher, different") that debuted last month.

"If you want to find someone who is likely to help change the world, you would do just as well to look to New Haven as Palo Alto or Silicon Valley," the article says. "And you would do even better to pay attention to Yale’s women."

While there's no universally agreed-upon definition of social entrepreneurs, Ashoka calls them "individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems"—health, education, poverty, to name a few—who offer "new ideas for wide-scale change."

One of those innovators is Jessica Pliska ’96, a marketing and PR professional who cofounded (with Brian Weinstein ’96) the Opportunity Network for "high-achieving, underserved" students.

“A friend once asked me if there was ‘something in the water at Yale’ that helped to produce female social entrepreneurs, the way Stanford breeds tech entrepreneurs,” Pliska tells Ozy. Instead, Pliska cites a network of alumni investors "who are just as serious about return on investment when they consider where to lend support to solve world problems,” helping to make social entrepreneurship “a lot sexier.”

Louise Davis Langheier ’03, CEO of Peer Health Exchange, points to New Haven—“a community with incredible people and innovation happening with few resources and significant need”—and to Dwight Hall, Yale's center for student public service.

Dwight Hall, she says, “doesn’t approach New Haven as a learning opportunity alone, but rather tries to assess the needs of the community with community partners and in turn direct student energies towards them”—more of a clinic than a laboratory.

While it focuses on Yale College graduates (including Barbara Bush ’04 and Jennifer Staple-Clark ’03), the article also nods to graduate & professional school alumnae (like Linda Rottenberg ’93JD) and to the School of Management's Program on Social Enterprise, which won it recognition from Fortune Small Business as one of the nation's best schools for social entrepreneurs.

Filed under social entrepreneurship
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