Creating Social Value Blog / Social Innovation

The Evolution of Babson Summer Study

By Emily Weiner, Associate Director of The Lewis Institute and the Babson Social Innovation Lab.

When Cheryl and I first became involved with Babson’s Summer Study for High School Students program, I couldn’t imagine all of the ways it would grow in scale and impact. Those early days were all about bringing a Social Value Creation lens to the curriculum, building on Babson’s mission to educate leaders who create great economic and social value simultaneously, not sequentially. After the first couple of years, we made the case to combine the New Venture Creation and Social Impact tracks so that both became core elements of the curriculum, thereby reshaping the way we teach high school students to activate on Babson’s methodology of Entrepreneurial Thought & Action®.

To us, this was critical not only as an important indicator of the value of social impact, but because we know that social value creation is infinitely more effective when it is integrated into core business operations and not seen as simply a bolted-on solution. Over the last few years as this program has been housed entirely under The Lewis Institute, we’ve seen our students’ commitment to creating economic and social value continuously grow. I wrote about that at the end of Summer Study 2016 in this blog post, The Young Entrepreneur’s New Business Value, and read it loud and clear in countless admission essays from applicants for this summer’s 2017 class.

Admissions decisions have been sent to our seventh class of Babson Summer Study students, and we expect this to be our biggest class yet with a 50/50 split of male and female students, and the highest amount of scholarships and financial aid ever given. Thanks to this integration, we have been able to attract more foundation funding and philanthropy which has, in turn, allowed us to expand these programs to urban and under-served communities, and engage with community partners in new ways. Our first Summer Study alumni class graduated from Babson last May, and numerous program alumni continue to make their mark on campus as leaders, several of whom are coming back to work as peer mentors this summer. I couldn’t be more excited about all the ways this commitment to truly integrating social impact education into our youth entrepreneurship program is enriching the Babson community and beyond. Talk about scale and growth – not just in terms of more students gaining access to our methodology and programs, but more impact being made in the world.

I’m so happy to have the program featured in this recent article on our Entrepreneurship of All Kinds® platform on how entrepreneurship is transforming youth education across the country. And, as a demonstration that we’re doing something right, all four of the students pictured will be at Babson this fall as part of the class of 2021.