Who or What is a Social Entrepreneur. Boomers Yak About Speaks with Michael Caslin of GCSEN On this week’s Boomers Yak About, we speak with Professor Michael Caslin, founder, and CEO of the Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship on what and who is a social Entrepreneur.
DY – Today. On what Boomers Yak About. We talked to Professor Michael Caslin, founder and C.E.O. of the Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship Network. On what and who is a social entrepreneur… We’re going to begin with Professor Michael Caslin who brings a passion for the transformative power of entrepreneurship along with three decades of proven success in helping found, lead and serve social enterprise and business venture development. Ranging from youth and adult entrepreneurship education, to sustainable community development… Welcome Michael.
MC – Thank you so much David. Pleasure to be here pleasure be with your audience
DY – And thank you for being here. This is really important subject for our audience. And we’ll get to that, we we have an audience that’s mostly comprised of the forty six sixty fours we like to call them, other people call them the boomers. Many of them are entering the entrepreneur space right now but before we get there why don’t we talk about how you differentiate in what you’re doing. What you have founded here is slightly different than just teaching people entrepreneurship. This sort of, how would I say a mindfulness to this? So why don’t you tell it how you found it and what it is
MC – Absolutely, for our listeners who don’t really have a lot of time, its really captured in Make Meaning Make Money. That so, so important I think to a value given culture and cohort such as the boomers. We believe that business, when done properly can be a practical, radical, transformative pragmatic approach to working with purpose on improving the community, the local economy as well as your own livelihood. We define social entrepreneur as an entrepreneur who acts with purpose for people, for profit, and for the planet. And making meaning and making money.
DY – Because some people actually believe that, I know mindfulness is such a big word right now, if you were going to get into this space it’s usually not for profit. You know you’re doing good for the planet but not to make money. But what you’re really saying is that there’s opportunity to be doing good things, right, at the same time as being profitable because we all need to support ourselves.
MC – That’s right and I think what’s interesting is when folks sometimes are attracted into the nonprofit world. They want to go there because they don’t want to worry about money but I think that issue was really captured by, I believe one of Sister Mother Teresa’s leaders who said, “Let’s get one thing very clear no. No margin. No mission.” So, for profit businesses worry about net profit, Non-profit businesses worry about surplus. They equal the same thing, it’s a conversation about how much value did you create, how much it cost you to create that value, and what resources you have left over to invest again. So the issue of making money, really it could be better categorized as the importance of a sustainable life blood for the organization and for the mission which is cash flow. Or you have a hobby which is totally cool too. But you don’t have an ability to support yourself or your family or members of your team in a compensated way.
DY – In reading up about what you’re doing there are two things I noticed. One is you talk about the seven pillars that you have, something with innovation and then you actually offer a type of boot camp which I found fascinating and I think the audience would find really fascinating, so take us through these pillars what they mean and what the Boot Camp is about.
MC – Well in essence the boot camp is about bringing millennials and boomers together around entrepreneurial aspiration and transformation. In essence, we have it going on during August 15-19th. Taking place at Marist College School of Management, in the Hudson Valley, and it’s picked for those days because that’s the week of Woodstock, that the boomers may be aware of or may foggily remember. And that the heart of the Stardust song continues to rattle around in my brain. As to get back to the land and set your soul free. Very very powerful songs which many millennials have not really listened to but it’s fascinating to play that song Stardust for them. So what I’ve thought about for a long time is, how can you get back to yourself and set your E free, to set your entrepreneurial spirit free. So a lot of the conversations and along with my founding colleagues like Tony Demarco is the power of what’s your why. What’s your why? And if we can start to look at what’s your why, your purpose, then we can look at the marketplace and take a lens of a local economy, take a lens of a sixty four block grid of sustainable community development and we can find a place in space for you to explore if you’re Why is monetizable and if there’s a market for it. That’s about trying and testing and in my years at Babson College some of the powerful insights came out in entrepreneurial thought and action and emphasis on both.
DY – Maybe you could take us through the actual offering the educational offering how you’re looking at it. How you’re expanding it into different markets. How people can come to you and find out further information……We started talking about the key differentiators of GCSEN and you know, one being the pillars and you talked a little about the boot camp. But let’s go take a look at the pillars because that seems to be sort of the differentiating factor of your group
MC – We looked at the needs of both our millennials and boomer friends and we’ve created a system it’s called the social entrepreneurship system and I’ll take you through that. For our listeners today you can go to www.GCSEN.com and sign up for our newsletter and get connected to our community
DY – We will be able to get that up on our Facebook page
MC – The the seven pillars really came about when we did primary market research, we scanned the world as it related to higher ed graduate school offerings, one of the resources out there. In essence there’s many wonderful things that are elements and what we’ve tried to do given technology, given the cloud, given distance based learning emergence, we’re coming up with in essence our own proprietary system. That includes Innovation, looking for the most practical tools that an entrepreneur, social entrepreneur, can use on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis. Number two, having translated that into higher ed and adult learning curriculum that will be offered through our Higher Education campus partners for credit, for professional development and certification. That’s in essence a part of our business model where the higher education partners will be distributing our blended learning online courses, along with a faculty guide on campus. In the summers we’ll be doing more intensive face to face direct programming. And in particular that people can apply to our boot camp and we’d be excited to have you. In August fifteenth through the nineteenth our philosophy is basically, how many times can you take one week, to affect the rest of your life and the rest of the world? So we want to take a week together with you to help you work on your passion, work on your purpose, work on your vision for a business model that can be economically strong and socially impactful. We have forty contact hours of activities that have the highest and most advanced case studies from Harvard and Babson and a variety of other locations around the world. We have leading rigor as it relates to building out a business, relating to clients, customers and products and services and team and finance. And most importantly we are a community, that pillar, pillar two then feeds into pillar three which is our social entrepreneurship faculty, graduate, and impact investor network. The Pillar number four is about thought leadership. We lecture and we provide inspirational insights all over both America and around the world. We’re also going to be working on rankings as it relates to the best cities for social entrepreneurship, the best colleges for social entrepreneurship, we’re going to be coming out with a series of rankings. And finally for the social entrepreneur themselves, pillars six and seven. We’ll be creating both a virtual and an in fact physical plant. What we call a venturater. This is a new word and kind of a venture accelerator and venture incubator, those are two different functions and they have a lot of different dynamics. So we’re calling it a venturater and we’re going to basically be looking at what are the issues that affect the business that you’re trying to launch and how can we help you support that financially with access to capital networks. And then also as we’re a nonprofit educational foundation, we take donations. We do not give grants but we are building a coalition of angel investors and impact investors in pillar six, it’s capital access and then pillar seven is acceleration, coaching and mentoring. So we want to be the home for heroes, we believe social entrepreneurs are the current and future heroes of the millennial economy. We believe that we are entering a point where the boomers animal and the millenials want to take control of their destiny more through enterprise and entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship being value and triple bottom line driven. People, Profit, Planet. We are going to be that home for heroes.
DY – I had not planned to ask you this but you just brought it up which I found really interesting, you just said you’re a not for profit organization.
MC – That’s right.
DY – That is teaching people entrepreneurial for profit. Why did you become a not for profit? Is there something about being not for profit that was important?
MC – Basically as it relates to education initiatives. Financing the team, the technology, the cloud efforts, the online learning, course development through either equity or through grants was something that we explored and for a variety of strategic reasons we think we can best navigate and serve both the higher education community as well as our network, our members, as a nonprofit versus a for profit. We will likely have for profit subsidiaries which would include a social entrepreneurship Sirius channel, a social entrepreneurship YouTube network channel.
DY – There’s a talking point that you have here where you say social entrepreneurship is critical to the future of the free market, take me through that thinking
MC – Well if we look at the heart of democratic capitalism, small D small C, is a productive responsible self-governing citizenry. What we’ve found, that there’s been a tremendous loss of faith and quote Capitalism. We can see that in the rise of a million mask march and see that in the rise of Occupy. We can see that in the rise of the Bernie Sanders campaign. Where in essence, Statism government and government. There is a deification or an idealization of the government, which if anyone who has not worked in government that maybe a possible route. But I’ve seen first hand the humanity and the inefficiencies of government solutions. So the government is not any better, it just right now has a better brand through Bernie than the markets do. So I think social entrepreneurs who say they’re using free will, free choice, market competition in a positive way to fill gaps is a much better way than to have a bureaucrat in a faceless office decide the rest of your life and impact your life. So we believe that entrepreneurs as change agents are truly radical and transformational and disruptive and that basically very important because if we didn’t want to disrupt the status quo. We would have more of the same challenges and insanity that we have today. So we do want to disrupt it and we don’t want to do the same thing over and over again and expect things to be different
DY – And do you think of yourself as part of the local economy movement which seemingly is growing, you know, day to day
MC – Absolutely, absolutely you know it’s more effective. It’s more effective to build capacity and inter-community trade and exchange of services, number one. Number two, the amount of talent that is not being channeled into creative and productive energy is very significant. We think entrepreneurship is a wonderful way to voluntarily, unleash that talent. You know obviously government solutions are often times quote “the government will pay for it” and if you follow that money trail. Where does the government get its money? They either print it based on some, you know, Federal Reserve illusion or they use taxation. So we believe that’s not an efficient and effective way over time and so, to have a local economy forces where people, trade with each other, respect each other and reconnect with each others starts to get into what I would call the spirit of enterprise that George Gilder first coined back in eighty four. His book actually inspired me to start my first business.
DY – Alright before we leave. Just give us all the information how to contact you or any social media we should be looking at
MC – Absolutely we have www.GCSEN.com, we have Facebook page. Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship and GCSEN. We also have make meaning make money as that tagline, so there’s a number of ways and my email is Mike@gcsen.com. I have always wanted to help people. I think being an entrepreneur is a great way to help people help themselves and yourself and that a social entrepreneur business is the best way to do that
DY – Alright Michael, I really appreciate you being here and thanks so much. And this is David Yakir you’re listening to what Boomer Yak About. And we’ll be right back.