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Boston College School of Social Work
Center for Social Innovation


Social Enterprise in Action

This fall, Professor Seymour Friedland is engaging students in real life consulting opportunities with three pioneering social enterprises. Instead of using fictional programs and creating fictional business plans, the class was divided into three groups to support current organization. With these organizations, each group is creating an applied business plans. The goal is to give students a chance to see the interworking of a social enterprise while helping it to move forward a social and business savvy way.

Professor Friedland gave the following insight to this class, “There are many moving parts involved in social enterprise. A 'live" project gives students a genuine sense of what they will encounter in the field, and the experience of dealing with a number of different factors and priorities”.

Professor Friedland has found success in helping his students learn while doing. They are learning how to make a social enterprise successful and profitable, learning how social entrepreneurship and social enterprises are different, and seeing creative ways to intertwine business and social good. Through this model, the students are both learning the layers of a social enterprise and being consultants in the field. These skills are needed in the social work field because they help us understand where social awareness and the business sector can combine, collaborate, and partner.

The three collaborating agencies are:

            Square one

            Good Shepherd Community Care

             Launch Office Supply

Launch Office Supply, a social enterprise operated by South Shore Support Services, is a specialized delivery service for environmentally-friendly office supplies that provides meaningful job opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities to develop critical work and social skills. Through this partnership but a social need and a business need are fulfilled to support the community.

Square One, founded in 1883 in Springfield, is both a job training and child care program. The organization has evolved into a private, not-for-profit leader in providing affordable high-quality early education and care and out-of-school time programming, as well as family services programs, for working and at-risk families. The students’ project plan is focusing around incarcerated women. This population is a great fit for Square one because of their dedication to services which help the whole individual. The incarcerated population is another level of transactional need, both as a business opportunity and through a social need lens. 

Good Shepherd Community Care's (GSCC) social enterprise will be the incorporation of a Palliative Care Program into their existing hospice care services. GSCC will be offering palliative care services to improve their clients’ experience with aging and enhance their quality of life. Patients who receive GSCC’s palliative care will benefit from having a team of interdisciplinary compassionate caregivers that are committed to providing relief from their physical symptoms in the comfort of their own home. The organization’s palliative care services will serve as an optimal solution for older adults who do not wish to pursue curative treatment for their conditions, and do not yet have a prognosis that qualifies them for GSCC’s hospice care. 

The end result of the class' project is to create an actual, deliverable business plan for our partner organizations to use and execute for the success of their social enterprise.