Ilitch School to host annual Social Entrepreneurship Conference

For the second year in a row, Wayne State University’s School of Social Work is collaborating with the student-led innovation program OptimizeWayne and the Mike Ilitch School of Business to host the Social Entrepreneurship Conference. This year's conference is Friday, April 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ilitch School.

The event brings together individuals from the Wayne State community and beyond who are creating impactful new ways to address unmet societal needs through social enterprise and innovation. The conference will acknowledge those who are identifying root causes of social problems and working with communities to build inclusive, replicable and sustainable models that will address these challenges.

In addition, the conference will provide a great opportunity for more than 300 community professionals, alumni, students and faculty to integrate their different backgrounds into a larger project of starting or growing a social change venture.

Nationally-acclaimed speaker Morgan Simon, author of Real Impact: The New Economics of Social Change, will deliver the keynote address, in which she will speak about promoting gender and racial equity in social entrepreneurship and impact investing.

Registration for the conference is required through Eventbrite. The event is $10 for WSU students and $35 for non-student attendees.

Program details:

  • 8:30-9:00 a.m. - Registration
  • 9:00-10:15 a.m. - Welcome and Keynote
  • 10:15-11:30 a.m. - AM workshops
  • 11:30 a.m. - 12:50 p.m. - Lunch, Exhibitor Fair
  • 12:30-1:30 p.m. - Detroit Innovation Fellows Panel
  • 1:30-2:45 p.m. - PM workshops
  • 2:45-4:00 p.m. - Closing Session and wrap-up

Below is a list of the AM and PM workshop sessions. Please indicate your choice of workshops when you reserve your seat. Each workshop is limited to 50 attendees.

AM workshops:

1.1 Scaling Supportive Housing with Outcomes Based Investment: An Overview of a Social Impact Bond/Pay for Success Model. Presenter: Stephanie Mercier, Director of Impact Investment at CHS

1.2 Engaging Communities in Systems and Social Change. Presenters: Reverend Faith Fowler, Executive Director, Cass Community Social Services; Alice G. Thompson, Black Family Development; and Nicole Jurek, Founder, Local Circles

1.3 Financing Social Ventures, Panel. Presenters: Cassie Coravos, Capital Programs Manager, Build Institute; Jason Barnett, Vice President, Invest Detroit

1.4 Sharemony, A Money Accumulation and Credit Platform Startup for Small Businesses. Presenter: Edward Kim, Adjunct Faculty, Mike Ilitch School of Business, Wayne State University

1.5 Legal Issues in Social Entrepreneurship: Entity Formation and Beyond. Presenters: Student attorneys (under the supervision of an experienced and licensed attorney) in the Wayne State University Law School Business and Community Law Clinic.

1.6 Why Not Me? Tackling Fear and Starting your Social Entrepreneurship Journey. Presenters: Organizers of student-run social innovation program at Wayne State University, OptimizeWayne—Isha Naik, Director; Nadiya Sharif, Program Coordinator; Sara Fresard, Program Coordinator.

1.7 Defining your Social Venture’s Target Market. Presenter: Derrin Leppek, Director of Center for Social Entrepreneurship at University of Detroit Mercy and Adjunct Faculty, Mike Ilitch School of Business, Wayne State University

PM workshops:

2.1 Tiny Homes Detroit: An Innovative Model Creating Home Ownership for Detroiters with Low-Incomes. Presenter: Reverend Faith Fowler, Executive Director, Cass Community Social Services

2.2 Detroit2Nepal: A Global Perspective on Creating Sustainable Change in Communities. Presenter: Richard Keidan, MD, Founder Detroit2Nepal and Oncology Surgeon

2.3 Crowdfunding 101. Presenter: Cassie Coravos, Capital Programs Manager, Build Institute

2.4 Local Impact Investing. Presenter: Romy Kochan, Managing Partner, Gingras Global

2.5 Marketing your Social Change Venture. Presenter: To be announced.

2.6 Cooperative (Employee-Owned) Models for Social Ventures.Presenter: Michael Friedman, Operations and Project Oversight, Center for Community-based Enterprise C2BE

2.7 Impact Reporting. Presenter: Ryan Wallace, Founder and CEO, Cultivate YPSI