A Message from Stacey Johnson, President, East and Winter Park Campuses
Over the past three semesters, students in the East Campus First-30 Business cohort and The Social Entrepreneurship Club have been exploring social entrepreneurship through a multifaceted consulting project, site visits and various speakers.
The First-30 program is designed for students in the business meta-major to complete their first 30 credits as a cohort with an overarching theme of social entrepreneurship. The First-30 students served as consultants by creating a social enterprise business plan for the Valencia College Aquaponics facility in Winter Garden. The business plan was required to include the educational components and possible revenue-generating activities of the facility. The project required the students to research, plan, write and present their prospective plans to maximize the aquaponics facility’s value to the College.
One group of students proposed creating a social enterprise model that would have the facility package and sell the leafy greens and herbs produced to cover the facility’s costs. Another group proposed a plan to focus on the facility strictly as a learning laboratory. A third group proposed a hybrid of the two plans.
The students visited the facility in Winter Garden twice in addition to touring the East End Market in Audubon Park, a social enterprise food industry incubator.
As the First-30 students participated in their normal general education courses, the theme of social entrepreneurship and their consulting project were woven into the curriculum through case studies, readings, speeches, essays and even word problems.
The Social Entrepreneurship Club on East Campus also helped by co-sponsoring various food industry social enterprise speakers. Two of the speakers were Lee Perry, with Fleet Farming (an urban agricultural organization), and Ian Jurgensen, with the City of Orlando’s Sustainability Department.
Involved with the program, Social Entrepreneurship Coordinator and Faculty, New Student Experience Jerrid Kalakay said, “These kinds of consulting projects are commonplace in many graduate business programs, but for first-year college students to participate in one is truly innovative and shows how much we support our students.”