“It is a practice in which an entrepreneurial individual -so that is somebody who behaves in a business-like way and undertakes new opportunities –either an individual or a group of individuals working together sets out to solve some social sector problem by way of combining a business practice orientation with a social sector orientation to yield an enterprise that produces both financial and social returns.”

Dr. Rukshan Fernando &
Andy Germak

There is a common stereotype of social work and social workers that the work is its own reward, and that organizations committed to promoting social goals must be resigned to scrambling for ever dwindling funding just to keep their doors open.

In this episode, Rukshan Fernando and Andy Germak, challenge the stereotype that individuals and organizations must choose between promoting social goods on one hand and financial success on the other. In providing an overview of what social entrepreneurship is and the qualities that social entrepreneurs often share, they make the case for a strong overlap between social work and social entrepreneurship practices. They also discuss the ways that social workers, educators, and students can develop and implement social entrepreneurship skills, and the values that can be created by doing so.

Rukshan Fernando, PhD., directs the BSW Program in the Department of Social Work at Azusa Pacific University. His research focuses on a diverse array of community economic development strategies, nonprofit management, and macro social work education. He has taught community practice and nonprofit management courses for BSW students for ten years.

Andy Germak, MSW, MBA, is professor of professional practice and founding executive director of the Center for Leadership and Management, which launched in July 2014 at the School of Social Work at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. His prior appointment at Rutgers was executive director of the Institute for Families, where he served for over three years. Previously, Germak served as president and CEO of the Mental Health Association of Morris County, Inc., and also held a variety of leadership and direct service positions in the nonprofit human service sector. He is the author of the forthcoming book, “Essential Business Skills for Social Work Managers,” which will be published by Routledge in December 2014. He has also authored editorial columns and letters appearing in leading publications, such as The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times. His 2010 academic article, “Social Entrepreneurship: Changing the Way Social Workers Do Business,” has been widely influential. Germak received his MBA from NYU Stern School of Business, MSW from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College in New York, and his BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

Interviewer: Kelly Patterson, PhD

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