The planet faces many challenges both old and new—poverty, educational access, healthcare, and environmental degradation. But how can we approach these problems in a sustainable format that will allow for real progress and change? Surely a key aspect of being human is finding ways to preserve and better not only humanity but also the environment. While there are those committed to finding solutions, we also see the income disparity gap rise and our natural resources become increasingly squandered. Currently, the world is divided between the public/nonprofit sector that focuses energy on these questions and the for-profit sector that focuses on financial gain. But what if we were to combine these approaches in a hybrid to create a sustainable business that focuses on viable change for these social/health/environmental challenges? How can we merge the ambition of enterprise with compassion to create social entrepreneurs? And what is the obligation and value in doing so?
Adlai Wertman is Professor of Clinical Entrepreneurship in the Marshall School of Business and the Founding Director of the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab. Professor Wertman spent seven years as President and CEO of Chrysalis, the only non-profit in Los Angeles devoted solely to helping homeless change their lives through employment. Prior to Chrysalis, Professor Wertman spent 18 years as Managing Director and Manager of Prudential Securities' West Coast Public Investment Banking Group. Professor Wertman consults with not-for-profits and government groups on fundraising, strategic planning, and governance, and is a frequent speaker on social responsibility, social enterprise and public/private partnerships.