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Episode 147 - Dr. Rukshan Fernando and Andy Germak: Social Entrepreneurship as a Social Work Practice

Monday, July 07, 2014, 9:57:36 AM

Image of Dr. Rukshan Fernando and Andy Germak

When asked about the word "entrepreneurship," most people are likely to think about business-oriented activities, perhaps, more specifically, using business innovation as a route to develop or enhance a business enterprise. However, most people probably have not considered using social consciousness as a foundation for engaging in entrepreneurial activities. In this podcast, Professors Rukshan Fernando and Andy Germak will explore using entrepreneurship as a method to address social change.

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Average Rating: 4.5 stars (2 listener reviews )

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Average Rating: 4stars  social entrepreneurship: the future of non-profits?, Saturday, February 07, 2015

By Aaron Kutas :

The long-standing organizational model of human service agencies has been primarily 501(c)(3) not-for-profit model. This model comes with certain tax benefits as the agency has provided specified services that meet the criteria for such designation. Not-for-profit human service have had to overcome many hurdles due to changes in how they are allowed to bill for services, which is their major source of income. The subjects in this podcast inform us of an emerging new area of social work, which combines social work with an eye on entrepreneurial stance as well. Dr. Rukshan Fernando and Professor Andy Germak are among the leaders at teaching this model and how it is similar and different to the social work and business fields. Social entrepreneurship, as Dr. Fernando points out, are organizations that are concerned with social and financial returns. The subjects claim that this model takes a more holistic approach at running an organization, as the organization is more invested in community and environmental issues. The subjects stated that the most popular forms of social entrepreneurships were non-profit organizations adding a for-profit entity, where the profits made are reinvested back into the non-profit, though there are ethical concerns to this model. The most known example of this model the subjects point out, although not necessarily known for it, the Goodwill Industries which provides services to its clients while also running thrift stores that earn a profit.

On the surface this model would appear to be very attractive for not-for-profits to employ as it would aid human service agencencies in surviving and thriving. To me, however, it does not seem like an easy venture for not-for-profits to take on as they typically do not have the money it would take to begin a new venture sitting around. Ethical concerns aside, it will be interesting to see if this type of organizational model becomes the new norm for human service agencies.

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Average Rating: 5stars  social entrepreneurs, Thursday, February 05, 2015

By Brandy Loveland :

Prior to enrolling into the MSW program, I fell into the trap of focusing on micro and mezzo social work practice. Coming into this program, however, has shifted my interests into a more macro practice, so this podcast was very alluring to me. I never thought of becoming a social entrepreneur. Prior to this podcast, I did not even know what that was. I find it surprising however, that even though this is a niche that fits the social work profession, many social workers do not go into this type of macro practice. What was much more surprising was Jane Adams was considered a type of social entrepreneur. It makes me wonder how even though social work had such a basis in social entrepreneurship, has moved so far from macro practice? I did find this podcast very inspiring and encouraging for social workers like me, shows there are social entrepreneurs that are successful. I appreciate the honesty of Mr. Fernando and Mr. Germak when discussing the realities of becoming an entrepreneurship and what is needed in a educational perspective. I also found it very helpful that they provided information about another MSW alum who is currently managing a business. I found this podcast very useful and it left a lot for me to ponder in regards to my own MSW career after graduation.

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