Tuesday, January 23, 2018

URSP Student Erin Phillips Tracks Community Impact of Social Entrepreneurs at Impact Hub D.C.

My project this semester looks at the social impact tracking efforts and social responsibility culture of Impact Hub D.C., a metro-area incubator for emerging social enterprises. My final paper, written under the supervision of Dr. John G. Dale, will feature a literature review of relevant scholarly research on social impact tracking in social business, as well as a summary of the results of a series of interviews I will be conducting next semester at Impact Hub. The combination of the two will allow me to determine how the theoretical prescriptions laid out in the academic arena of social business are being implemented practically by real social entrepreneurs. I am passionate about social enterprise, and decided on this project to help social entrepreneurs navigate the dichotomy between profit motivation and social good.

I eventually hope to use my knowledge of capitalistic solutions to social issues in order to enter the field of Public Policy. I believe this background will give me a unique edge in terms of my problem-solving abilities in public office, because it will enable me to work with the private, public, and private-public sectors to achieve solutions. In addition, I believe my contributions to the research field will help grow social business, in turn mobilizing everyday people to approach social issues in new ways. This will inevitably make the job of any public official easier through generating resources, support, and political will for social change.

My weekly routine includes finding and culling a resource database, taking notes, and making updates to my IRB materials. A key lesson I learned this semester was the necessity of preparation, especially in research endeavors. The IRB process was a challenging but rewarding one that taught me a lot about persistence and communication. I recently received approval for my project, so next semester I will begin a rigorous schedule of networking, interviewing, and response analysis that will result in my finished project.