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The Asper Center Research and Original Working Papers

Lessons for millennial social entrepreneurs and programs that support them
Bozhanka Vitanova, MA '16

Social entrepreneurship is the dream career of many millennials. This is a distinctively self-confident generation, seeking adventure with a desire to create positive impact through their work. For millennials, the startup is shaping up to be the new ideal and entrepreneurs the new rock stars. And the rock star building a better world seems to be among the most admired ones. This study retrospectively analyzes the experience of building a successful social enterprise and factors most influential in the process. Formative experiences that shape successful social entrepreneurs, critical skills that define them, and ways for attracting resources that make ideas tangible are examined.

Silver Bullet: Learning to Manage Human Capital
Preeta M. Banerjee, Former Assistant Professor of Strategy

While human capital may be valuable, it can also be costly and difficult to acquire and retain. As sociologist Howard Aldrich writes, “[most firms] can’t always get what they want, and certainly don’t always get what they need.” The issues of resource and time constraints are significantly exacerbated in emerging economies, especially as human resource management and human capital development practices continue to evolve. Due to resource and time constraints, many entrepreneurial firms use bricolage (“making do with what is on hand”). Bricolage is particularly important for new technology ventures, where the resource at hand is the technological skills of employees. Human asset evaluation – knowing what the firm has at hand – is the first step to employing human capital bricolage as a means to overcome human capital constraints.

Embracing the Bottom of the Pyramid with Frugal Innovation 
Preeta M. Banerjee, Former Assistant Professor of Strategy and Ana Leirner, Exchange Student
In the search for untapped markets, most business leaders previously viewed the bottom of the economic pyramid an unprofitable and risky demographic. This paper provides an introduction to the ways in which companies are radically changing their business models and strategies to target the BOP. It explores the conditions necessary for companies to practice ‘frugal innovation,’ creating new inexpensive, high-quality products and services.