Creating Social Value Blog / Social Innovation

Drawn to Babson for Socially Responsible Business

By Ryan Lupberger, Babson Undergraduate Student and Scholar at The Lewis Institute.

What does it mean to be a Babson student? How does one discover their passion in an unfamiliar atmosphere overwhelmed with possibilities? What motivates the majority of Babson students?

These are the questions that I asked myself when I stepped on campus in January as a new GAP student. A GAP student is a student who takes off the fall semester to pursue interests outside of school. Some travel abroad, some go on backpacking trips, and some intern. As someone who is motivated by socially responsible business and solving some of the world’s greatest problems, I used the time for a semester to intern with a company called the Unreasonable Institute.

The Unreasonable Institute is a social venture accelerator. They take businesses that are trying to help the world and put them through a rigorous five-week program. During this program they match them with world-class mentors (i.e. the manager of Google X lab and a Time’s Hero of the Planet), offer workshops on how to refine their business for maximum scale, and provide access to opportunities for funding. My biggest takeaway from the experience is that socially responsible businesses do NOT need to take profit losses and also do not need to be non-profits.

I am here at Babson to be part of a new wave of businesses that shatter the traditional beliefs about businesses that “help” the world. I want to support and create businesses that do not need to take profit losses to help the community around them, but rather have helping the community built into their very business plan; businesses that create ethical products following a conscious buying trend, businesses that place the happiness of their employees as a priority because productivity actually increases with happiness, and businesses that use their waste as another product and finds a reusable solution that makes more money.

I started my time here at Babson at The Lewis Institute because it is at the forefront of socially responsible business. They are at the cutting edge of proving the social concepts mentioned above in the corporate world and are a great resource for mentorship, ideation, and support for people who are passionate and motivated about this future. I encourage any interested students to reach out to the Institute to learn more.

This blog post is the first in a series that will foster a conversation about social innovation and awareness on campus. How are we doing as a community? What’s the level of awareness about socially focused business? How many people believe that if they want to help the world they have to go into non-profits? From the perspective of a first year on campus; where really is our community in relation to socially responsible business?

We, the students here at Babson College, will be the next leaders and change makers of the business world. The real question is, where will we lead it?