New USC master’s program to teach on issues of social significance.

New USC master’s program to teach on issues of social significance.

USC is out to create a new breed of entrepreneur — one that can turn social causes into money makers.

The university is launching a master’s degree program, starting with the upcoming fall semester, to teach traditional business skills to students interested in issues of social significance. The goal is to build hybrid nonprofits or socially active businesses that are better able to sustain themselves and their missions.

The new program will be a one-year master of science in social entrepreneurship from the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab at USC’s business school. It comes at a time when many nonprofits are still in a post-recession struggle, trying to do more for needier clients without sufficient new funding.

“Many nonprofits operate in a system which is unsustainable,” said Jessica LaBarbera, a Los Angeles-based director for the Nonprofit Finance Fund, which provides loans and consulting services to nonprofits and foundations around the country.

“They have had to operate with a ‘do more with less’ mentality for so long that they have cut to the bone to meet increasing client needs, often at the expense of having time or resources to invest in strategies. They are running hand to mouth to meet their missions,” LaBarbera said.
Adlai Wertman, a USC professor of clinical entrepreneurship and the catalyst behind the new program, thinks there is a better way.

“Social causes have only historically attracted people coming out of social work, people with policy degrees, public administration degrees,” Wertman said. “But that’s not what you need. You need people trained in how to run a business.”   read the full article here