Neeley event to promote community-serving business

The Neeley School of Business honors and leadership programs will host an event on social entrepreneurship today in hopes of teaching students and the community about using their business sense to make their world a better place, an event organizer said.

Beata Jones, director of the Neeley Fellows Program, said the event originated from the junior Neeley Fellows class because of its interest in social entrepreneurship.

“We have gotten the Neeley School on board to really promote the whole topic of social entrepreneurship to the Neeley community,” Jones said.

The Neeley Fellows is a three-year honors program for a select group of students with a heavy emphasis on professional development. Neeley Fellows currently works with four nonprofit agencies on different projects.

Social entrepreneurship, the idea of using entrepreneurial principles to affect social change, is not on the minds of just Neeley Fellows. They are joined by students from other Neeley clubs, including The Next Generation Leadership Program, a two-year leadership program for undergraduate students to develop their leadership skills and apply them in real-world situations through their projects with local business and community leaders. Jones said it’s expected that students in organizations work within the community, but it’s also expected from their employers to devote time to the community.

A panel of local entrepreneurs will also share their experience with balancing their careers and devoting time back to the community in hopes of encouraging students to do the same.

“We truly believe that social entrepreneurism and servant leadership are important activities for the students to get involved with in addition to their studies, organizational activities and work,” said Dede Williams, director of the Next Generation Leadership Program.

The event is divided in three sections. During the first section, Neeley student organizations will make presentations on their social entrepreneur efforts in the community. The second section will allow Neeley students to learn more about how they can make a difference by becoming involved in Neeley’s student organizations.

The last event will be a panel discussion with four business and social entrepreneurs from the local community. The panelists include alumna Kelsey de la Torre, an account executive from Open Channels Group; Tim McKinney, CEO of United Way of Tarrant County; Tricia Haber, a financial adviser from Merrill Lynch; and Gary Randle, executive director for HOPE Farm. Williams said she hopes the panel’s testimonies on the rewards of giving back will inspire students to get involved in the community.

“Whenever a student reaches out and helps one person, it can possibly cause a ripple effect that results in benefits to others and eventually to the entire community,” Williams said.

Social entrepreneurship event hosted by the Neeley School of Business

3 p.m. to 6 p.m. today

Smith Hall