Entrepreneurship in the Public Interest

Donors provide funding to establish a social entrepreneurship initiative on campus and advance purpose-driven careers

lumenaid

Social entrepreneurship in action: Anna Stork ’08 cofounded LuminAID, a company that offers safe, rechargeable lamps for victims of natural disasters.

Dartmouth’s Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship will soon launch a three-year initiative to support students, faculty, and alumni who want to launch ventures that will generate significant societal benefits—locally, nationally, or even globally.

Announced at the London Global Summit, the project is being funded by a collective of socially conscious entrepreneurs and investors who have pledged more than $1 million to the initiative.

“Dartmouth is uniquely positioned to attract students who wish to devote their talents and skills to solve the most urgent social and environmental problems of our time,” said Katherine Milligan ’98, who led a panel discussion on innovation for social good at the London summit. She is the head of gender-lens investing at the Swiss impact investing firm Bamboo Capital Partners and an adjunct professor of social entrepreneurship at the Graduate Institute in Geneva

“The College has a long history of funding internships and work experiences focused on social impact, and its LSA and FSP programs are the envy of the world. These are enormous assets to capitalize on, as studies demonstrate that leadership experiences at a young age and exposure to different cultures are the two most significant predictors of pursuing a purpose-driven career.”

The project’s objectives include establishing programs that encourage students to discover their ability to create positive change as entrepreneurs; developing a network of leaders who will provide support, connections, and inspiration around social entrepreneurship; and promoting Dartmouth’s role in the larger world of social entrepreneurship. The Magnuson Center will recruit a manager to oversee the initiative’s curricular and cocurricular programming.

Brothers John Pepper ’91, founder of Boloco and Worthee.com, and Doug Pepper ’95, general partner at ICONIQ Capital, are the initiative’s lead donors.

“Doug and I are super excited to help Dartmouth and the Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship put some additional focus on entrepreneurs and startups who push for greater returns to societal needs alongside profits and shareholder returns,” said John Pepper. “We look forward to seeing Dartmouth take a lead position on demonstrating that the most successful businesses in the 21st century will also be forces for good.”

Multiple Bottom Lines

The Business Roundtable, which represents the chief executives of 192 major corporations, released a statement in August saying business leaders should balance the needs of shareholders with the wellbeing of communities, customers, and employees.

That ethos—to meld business success with societal health—is influencing many young entrepreneurs on the Dartmouth campus, said Jamie Coughlin, director of the Magnuson Center.

“Over the past several years, a large percentage of our students have come to us with socially inspired new ventures,” said Coughlin. “Now is the time to focus more intently on the ambition of these students, bring form to it programmatically, and expose our students to the path of social entrepreneurship. We want our students to be in a position to offer solutions to the challenges of our day. Exposure to and support for building social ventures with multiple bottom lines, above and beyond simply profit, is an experience and know-how that will serve them and our collective future.”

In addition to the Peppers, donors supporting this initiative are:

Julie Clugage ’90 and Richard Hardegree ’90

Hoyoung Huh ’91

Kendall and Duke Rohlen P’22

Jennifer Whalen ’93 and T.J. Whalen ’93 P’22

Anonymous

“As the overwhelming response at the Global Summit in London and the recent Entrepreneurs Forum in San Francisco demonstrate,” said Milligan, “we alumni stand ready to rally around Dartmouth’s leadership and engage the broader Dartmouth community to nurture and mentor students and graduates as they catalyze much-needed change as entrepreneurs in the global public interest.”