By Lexie Newhouse
On August 29, 2018, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute (ENI) collaborated with the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies (AYSPS) and their Social Entrepreneurship program to host the “Georgia State Social Entrepreneurship Popup.” The event was held at Constellations, a newly opened local co-working space located in the historic Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic District on Auburn Avenue.
Our star-studded panel of social change makers was moderated by Dr. Cynthia Searcy, Assistant Dean for Academic Programs for AYSPS. The panel featured Dr. Nelson Pizarro of Georgia State’s Social Entrepreneurship program, Ted Bradford of Constellations, Samantha Dietz of Good Measure Meals, and Nedra Deadwyler of Civil Bikes.
Dr. Pizarro kicked off the panel portion of the popup. As the new director of the Social Entrepreneurship program, he shared his excitement about joining Georgia State and meeting students to discuss their social ventures. From conducting business in 46 counties, his industry insight will be of value to students interested in making a global impact. Dr. Pizarro also mentioned that he is in the process of developing a platform to assist students with securing social enterprise internships. Currently, he is conducting interviews to gauge student interest in social entrepreneurship programs to better tailor the platform to students’ needs.
As a Partner and Director of Operations for Constellations, Bradford focused on the importance of preserving Auburn Avenue’s history when developing and opening Constellations in May of 2018 to build community in downtown Atlanta. “Constellations is where stars come together and shine,” Bradford shared. Students were eager to learn about coworking space’s tenants, where Bradford mentioned a variety of companies including Exposure marketing, Giving Point, Gramercy Fund investing, TBS design, the National Trust of Historic Preservation, Civil Bikes, and several others – Not without noting that a majority of the companies are women-led.
To continue the social entrepreneurship discussion, Dietz shared her experiences from serving as the Business Development Associate for Good Measure Meals, a nutrition nonprofit meeting the medical needs of low income individuals. She offered her insights of balancing financials when developing a sustainable business model for a social enterprise, noting that a third of Good Measure Meals’ financials consist of the operating budget, another third from government reimbursement, and another third from philanthropy. Her stories helped illustrate to students the importance of money management when creating a social enterprise or nonprofit organization.
To conclude the panel, Deadwyler offered her insights to the Atlanta social community as the Founder and Principal of Civil Bikes, a company providing cultural and historical tours about Atlanta, African Americans, and the Civil Rights Movement. Being so involved in Atlanta, students were curious to hear about the challenges of forming partnerships within the community. “Partnerships are interesting,” Deadwyler stated, “When I first attempted to form partnerships, it wasn’t the most appropriate time. I still had to prove myself and prove my company. Since pilot testing and proving its impact, I feel that I’m at a place to begin leveraging those relationships. It’s all about forming them early on then nurturing them overtime.”
The event also featured several guest appearances including leaders from the Center for Civic Innovation and former Georgia State alumni to share with students the available social change-oriented resources and opportunities in Atlanta. Thank you again to our speakers, Good Measure Meals for catering the delicious spread, and Constellations for providing the beautiful space!
Interested in attending future ENI’s events? Visit eni.gsu.edu to learn more about our upcoming programs and opportunities!