Students Gain Access to Social Entrepreneurship Workshops


Carlos Wyrick/Staff Photographer

Wendy Seligmann (left) teaching a Human Resources class.

Due to Warren Wilson’s affiliation with the Sullivan Foundation, students of any educational background have an all-access pass to participate in a series of webinars based around the concept of social entrepreneurship. Wendy Seligmann, the Associate Dean of Career Development and business professor, offered a definition of social entrepreneurship.

“(Social entrepreneurship) is using the marketplace for social change,” said Seligmann. “That business itself is not inherently bad and business can be used for social good. … A socially responsible company can actually affect a lot of change and with good business practices make good things happen.”

These interactive classes are free, master’s level concentrations in the world of social innovation. Students can participate in a total of nine classes, each only 75 minutes long and spread throughout the upcoming months. The classes are also split into two separate sections: Masterclasses and Skill-Based Sessions. Masterclasses have a stronger focus on business and social entrepreneurship and social progression, such as the class titled ‘How to Build Collaborative Partnerships that Advance Global Development.’ However, the Skill-Based Sessions have a much broader audience. When asked about what classes she would recommend students take, Seligmann spoke on the Skill-Based Sessions.

“There’s a second set of classes that I’m really excited about because I think any student can take advantage of them,” she said. “Like, ‘How to Actually Figure Out the Right Career for You’ or ‘How to Network & Get Mentors in a Virtual World’.”

But if students are really interested in socially sustainable business, the Sullivan Foundation is a good place to look for resources, according to Seligmann. Beyond the content of the Masterclasses alone, the structure of the class is made to build connections with others across different states and backgrounds with an interest in social innovation. During the classes, students are communicating and interacting with other students from across the southern United States while also getting the chance to be taught by highly esteemed leaders in the field of social innovation. Seligmann adds that this extended network of leaders should be a real drawing point for these Masterclasses. 

“I think it gives them access to speakers and people with hands-on experience,” she said. “But part of it is these are people who are doers; they are practitioners in the field and it gives students at Wilson access to expertise that we can’t necessarily have on campus. So what better way to learn from people? It’s just a matter of your own time.”

Beyond these Masterclasses and Skill-Based Sessions, the Sullivan Foundation offers support for service-driven students all year round. In years not affected by a global pandemic, they hold fall and spring retreats, adventures abroad, and in-person workshops. They also plan to continue the online sessions into the foreseeable future. 

For an in-depth look at the Masterclasses and Skill-Based Sessions, click here. For more information on all the Sullivan Foundation has to offer, visit their website here.