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Social & Environmental Entrepreneurship

“At Yale we don’t just want to make new things, we want to make things better.”

— Peter Salovey, Yale President

Each year at Yale a growing number of students show interest in solving major challenges in public health, education and the environment. Some of them are building mission-driven companies aimed at solving specific disparities; others are contributing to New Haven organizations, engaging with the local community on key health and education-related initiatives; many others are taking classes and attending workshops to learn about social innovation and develop the skills they need to make an impact.

Yale students interested in social entrepreneurship can tap into a growing network of interconnected resources from the university’s leading innovation and entrepreneurship centers, including the Yale Center for Business and the Environment (CBEY), InnovateHealth Yale, the Yale School of Management, the Center for Biomedical and Interventional Technology, the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute, Dwight Hall and the Yale Landscape Lab. Beyond the campus itself is an even larger network of connected alumni. The Yale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance estimates that 100,000 Yale graduates are involved in the nonprofit sector, as executive directors, practitioners, board members, donors or volunteers—66% of the alumni population.

And Yale counts among its alums an incredible roster of social entrepreneurs who have created transformative ventures, including Kanya Balakrishna (’09), founder of the Future Project, a national campaign to empower young people to pursue dreams of social entrepreneurship. Barbara Bush (’04) cofounded and serves as CEO of Global Health Corps which seeks to mobilize a global community of emerging leaders to help improve health care management and outcomes in Africa and the U.S.

Aaron Feuer (’13) cofounded Panorama Education as part of a YEI Fellowship to provide K-12 schools with surveys and analysis that could lead to real insights and improvements. Panorama now serves more than 6,500 schools across the country. SilviaTerra, founded by Zack Parisa (FES ’11) and Max Uhlenhuth (’12) and developed during a YEI Fellowship allows for superior forest management through remote sensing, big data, cloud computing and mobile. And Jennifer Staple-Clark (’03) founded Unite for Sight, a New-Haven based organization that provides sight-preserving and sight-restoring eye care to people in need across the globe.

Resources to support social innovators and entrepreneurs at Yale

Yale Innovation & Entrepreneurship Centers with Social Programming: Yale Center for Business and the Environment (CBEY), InnovateHealth Yale, the Yale School of Management, the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute and Dwight Hall.

Yale Social Entrepreneurship Funding & Prizes: Yale College Dean’s Challenge on Social Innovation (Admittance into YEI Accelerator); Global Social Venture Creation Program ($3,300); Aetna Foundation Prize for Health Equity Innovation Seed Stage Grants ($10,000); Aetna Foundation Prize for Health Equity Innovation Prize ($25,000); Sabotka Seed Stage Venture Grants ($10,000); Thorne Prize for Social Innovation in Health or Education ($25,000); Sabin Sustainable Venture Prize ($25,000).

Social Venture Expertise: Peter Boyd, Executive Fellow at CBEY, Founder & CEO, Time4Good Group; Patrick Streubi, YEI Social Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Founder, Fairtrasa; Cass Walker-Harvey, Social and Environmental Innovation Program Manager at CBEY and YEI.

Social-Oriented Student Clubs & Organizations: Yale Undergraduate Net Impact, Design for America Yale, Yale Public Health Coalition, Social and Environmental Entrepreneurship Student Interest Group, Dwight Hall, SOM Business and the Environment Club, SOM Global Social Enterprise Club, SOM Net Impact.

Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship Events & Opportunities: Bright Lights, Green Sights speaker series (CBEY); Environmental and Social Entrepreneurship Professional Skills Workshops (CBEY/YEI); Aetna Foundation Hackathon (InnovateHealth Yale); CBIT-YNHHS Healthcare Hackathon; Social Innovation Internships (YEI); Global Health and Innovation Conference (Unite for Sight).

Have questions about resources for social and environmental ventures at Yale?

Contact: Cassandra Walker Harvey, Associate Director of Social Entrepreneurship,