Kennedy School to Create New ‘Social Enterprise Incubator’

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

As it revisits major aspects of its curriculum in conjunction with its capital campaign, the Kennedy School of Government is in the early stages of creating a new “social enterprise incubator,” according to HKS spokesperson Doug Gavel.

The incubator, which is also referred to on the Kennedy School capital campaign website as a “social entrepreneurship lab,” will provide financial, academic, and faculty resources for Kennedy School students launching social ventures. The project will be led on an interim basis by James L. Bildner, a senior research fellow at the Hauser Institute for Civil Society.

Kennedy School Dean David T. Ellwood ’75 differentiated the incubator from the Harvard Innovation Lab.

“The difference between this and what you see currently [in the i-lab] is this is a program designed to help people as they graduate—it provides resources for them to stick around for another six months, to get engaged, and so forth,” Ellwood said in February. “The idea is to take the lessons that we learn from the people that [do] social enterprises and…feed it back into the classroom.”

Roughly 3,800 students last year made use of the the i-lab, which also opened a “Launch Lab” this past summer dedicated to hosting 10 to 12 alumni ventures.

Matthew C. Guidarelli, i-lab assistant director for social and cultural entrepreneurship, said talks between the Kennedy School incubator and the i-lab on how the two organizations can collaborate have not moved beyond a preliminary conversation. He noted, however, that the “i-lab’s door is open as a collaborator and a thought partner” and pointed out that, with Ellwood sitting on the i-lab’s advisory board, the Kennedy School has a voice at the i-lab.

Source: The Harvard Crimson (link opens in a new window)

social enterprise