Impact Entrepreneurs at Portland State University
Impact Entrepreneurs include professors, social enterprise professionals, nonprofits, students and community members, all working towards making social entrepreneurship a learnable skill.
To unleash the power of business for social impact.
"Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry."
-- Bill Drayton, CEO and Founder of Ashoka
Impact Entrepreneurs is directed by a team of Portland State University professors with a passion for showing businesses, nonprofits and entrepreneurs that they can be profitable and build social change at the same time.
Carolyn McKnight, Ph.D.
Director of Leadership Development for Graduate Programs
Executive Director of Impact Entrepreneurs
Carolyn oversees the execution of Leadership Development within the MBA curriculum in the School of Business Administration at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. An acknowledged figure in the area of corporate leadership and organizational development for over 25 years, Carolyn is leading one of the nation's first programs to integrate leadership development and management of innovation into the MBA experience.
Carolyn holds a bachelor's degree in education and a master's degree as well as a Ph.D. in mythological studies/depth psychology.
As Founder and Executive Director of Impact Entrepreneurs, Carolyn is pursuing her passion of unleashing the power of business for social impact. Her purpose is to inspire graduate students, faculty, and community members to discover their own passions and to pursue them in ways that create social as well as economic value. Due to her frequent travels for Impact Entrepreneurs, you are as likely to find her in Cambodia, Nepal, India or Thailand, as at home in Portland.
In addition to educating others about the emerging field of social enterprise, Carolyn also enjoys the study of eastern philosophy, mountain climbing, running, and spending time with her dog.
Co-founder and Director
School of Business Administration, Portland State University
Cindy teaches social entrepreneurship and oversees the Social Innovation Incubator at Portland State University's Impact Entrepreneurs. She is Co-founder of Speak Shop, an award-winning social enterprise that offers live online Spanish lessons with teachers in Guatemala.
Previously, Cindy developed and managed programs for non-profits such as the Social Entrepreneurship Incubator and Net Impact and worked in international marketing at Nike. She has consulted on social entrepreneurship and sustainability to clients such as Nike, Meyer Memorial Trust, Verité and Ashoka's Changemakers.
She holds a Master of International Management with distinguished honors from Thunderbird School of Global Management and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Claremont McKenna College with a B.A. in Psychology and Spanish.
Program Manager, Social Enterprise Initiatives
School of Business Administration, Portland State University
Jacen Greene teaches social entrepreneurship and manages social innovation programs at Portland State University's School of Business. He has worked with social entrepreneurs in the U.S., India, Cambodia, Honduras and Nicaragua conducting training sessions, delivering technical assistance and coordinating capacity building programs. In his previous role as a social enterprise consultant, he helped design Central City Coffee's business model.
Jacen graduated Beta Gamma Sigma with an MBA in business sustainability from Portland State University and magna cum laude with a B.A. in China studies from Willamette University.
"Social enterprise is important because it can contribute to ending philanthropy as we have known it. Pure charitable giving is most sustainable when augmented by business tools unleashed for social change."
-- Dr. Carolyn McKnight
Social Innovation Incubator Coaches
Brenda Eichelberger, SII Circuit Program Advisor, is a full-time business instructor at Portland State University. She has been with PSU since early 1997 and has taught a variety of classes in the Management area (Introduction to Business, Personal Finance, Introduction to Human Resource Management, Small Venture Creation and Entrepreneurship). Brenda has managed a small private business college and understands the challenges of businesses operating in the State of Oregon. She specializes in assisting small businesses with business planning techniques and is active in her local community. Brenda holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a Masters Degree in Business Administration. She is presently engaged in coursework towards her Ph.D.
Tichelle Sorensen, SII Circuit Program Mentor, is an attorney practicing in the areas of business transactions and intellectual property. She currently teaches as an adjunct instructor at PSU in the MIM and MBA programs. Her previous business experience includes marketing and consulting positions in the entertainment industry, strategic marketing consulting in China, and export marketing and sales. Tichelle holds a J.D. from the Indiana University School of Law, a Master of International Management degree from Portland State University, and a B.A. in Communications from Brigham Young University.
Sutia "Kim" Alter is Managing Director of Virtue Ventures. She has endeavored for nearly 20 years to employ business tools and market-based approaches (social enterprise) in the social sector to create social change and alleviate poverty. Virtue Ventures is a small, innovative management consulting firm committed to furthering the field of social entrepreneurship through action-research, technical services and its own initiatives.
Gregory Dees is is Professor of the Practice of Social Entrepreneurship and co-founder of the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. He has published extensively on social entrepreneurship, including two books with Jed Emerson and Peter Economy, Enterprising Nonprofits and Strategic Tools for Social Entrepreneurs. In 2007, the Aspen Institute and Ashoka recognized his pioneering work with their first Lifetime Achievement award in Social Entrepreneurship Education.
Stephanie Fowler is a psychotherapist and counselor. She and her husband have established the Renaissance Foundation, a private philanthropic organization that focuses grants on education, social services, and environmental and historic preservation. She has an extensive background as a reporter working for Oregon Public Broadcasting, KGW TV, KOIN TV, and the Oregonian.
Irving Levin is the chief executive officer of Genesis Financial Solutions. He and his wife have established the Renaissance Foundation, a private philanthropic organization that focuses grants on education, social services, and environmental and historic preservation.
David Pollock is a Senior Advisor for Ashoka an organization that supports thousands of social entrepreneurs worldwide. During the past three years he has been involved in recruiting, training, people team performance development and mentoring/coaching. He has a distinguished multinational business career, most recently leading Stormwater Management as President and CEO.
David Sawyer is president of Context, a consulting firm with practice areas in strategy, leadership, and culture. Active across sectors, Sawyer has played key roles in a variety of fields: sustainable agriculture, education reform, national service, social entrepreneurship, venture philanthropy, and the emerging green economy.
Mike Winslow has over 30 years of experience serving as a senior legal and business executive, including overall responsibility for legal matters, corporate governance, human resources, organizational development, communications, strategy, mergers & acquisitions, and external affairs. He retired from corporate life in January of 2010 and is currently enjoying the pursuit of his life-long interest in art (painting) and will soon begin providing legal and business advice to clients in creative and social purpose pursuits.
"I'm committed to working with Impact Entrepreneurs because Cindy and Carolyn are not just dreaming about social change - they are true practitioners who are moving ideas into action."
-- David Sawyer
Our sponsors' and donors' contributions are critical to our ability to conduct and grow our programs. We thank them for their generous support and vision.
Platinum Partners: $25,000 - $50,000
Supporters: $2500 - $5000
Catalysts: $2500+ of In-kind Support
Thank You to Our Past Supporters
Nike, Cutting Edge Capital, Laryssa Kwoczak, Jacen Greene, Carolyn E. McKnight, Bill and Merri Wyatt.
To support the promise of business for social impact, please contact us or donate online.
Our Resource Partners enable us to expand our impact through strategic programmatic collaborations and by providing discounts or in-kind support.
|All Social Innovation Incubator members will be invited to complete B Lab's "B Corporation" online certification evaluation and participate in an educational seminar. B Lab is a nonprofit organization dedicated to using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. A primary initiative is to build a community of Certified B Corporations to make it easier for all of us to distinguish between "good companies" and just good marketing. By enabling consumers, investors, potential employees, and policy makers to support these high-impact companies we can make sure that these businesses can scale - along with their impact.|
|Intercultural Communication Institute is a private, nonprofit foundation designed to foster an awareness and appreciation of cultural differences in both the international and domestic arenas.|
|We have partnered with Mercy Corps since 2009 to deliver the Entrepreneurial Leaders Program, providing capacity-building through business training for the organization's emerging leaders.|
|Palo Alto Software is a leader in business planning software. Founded in 1983 by well-known business planning expert Tim Berry, their flagship product, the Windows-based Business Plan Pro, has outsold the combined competition for the last decade. LivePlan is the first online business plan software that was created by actual business planning experts. Palo Alto Software provides free access to LivePlan to all SII Circuit Program participants.|
Virtue Ventures is a small, innovative firm committed to furthering the field of social entrepreneurship through action-research, technical services and our own initiatives. We partner with Virtue Ventures to deliver the immersive India Social Enterprise Tour, aka the "PSU Magic Bus Tour."
Portland State University
- The Center for Global Leadership and Sustainability advances the role of business in creating systemic solutions to persistent social and ecological challenges
- The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship supports those interested in entrepreneurship across the university.
- The Institute for Nonproﬁt Management works to meet the needs of nonprofits through high-quality educational and training programs.
- The Institute for Sustainable Solutions supports Impact Entrepreneurs and sustainability efforts across campus.
- The Environmental Science and Management Program is the study of the interactions between society and the physical, chemical, ecological and biological processes that structure and maintain ecosystems.
- The Portland State Business Accelerator incubates and accelerates start-up technology and science companies while creating a living laboratory for the university community.
"One of the biggest challenges facing social entrepreneurs right now is that the current infrastructure can inadvertently frustrate their efforts to launch and scale solutions to our pressing problems. Social entrepreneurs are therefore also devising the legal structures, investment instruments and other innovations that can help catapult change-making into societal shifts."
-- Cindy Cooper, Co-founder, PSU Impact Entrepreneurs