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Elon University / Today at Elon / Entrepreneurship course gives students opportunity to make local impact

Students in Elena Kennedy’s “Entrepreneurship for the Greater Good” course had the opportunity to research, create and consult with local professionals at four community partner organizations during the spring semester.

Students in Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship Elena Kennedy’s “Entrepreneurship for the Greater Good” course had the opportunity to research, create and consult with local professionals at four community partner organizations during the spring semester.

Their final projects addressed a variety of needs such as a promotion for locally-owned restaurants, collecting community data for a proposed social district and a startup business listing app, and creating a fundraising campaign.

Student groups collaborated with partners such as the Burlington Downtown Corporation, EarlyGroove, the Burlington Woman’s Club and Burlington Beer Works. Each group worked closely with their partner to analyze needs, complete research and create deliverables to be used to grow businesses in the local area.

Kennedy, who also serves as the Doherty Emerging Professor of Entrepreneurship, has taught the course for six years and is intentional about choosing partners that showcase more non-traditional aspects of entrepreneurship. For example, Burlington Beer Works is a cooperatively owned brewery and restaurant, founded and led by community members. The Burlington Woman’s Club is a nonprofit organization that uses the revenue from its thrift shop to fund local causes and scholarships.

“A key facet of social innovation and social entrepreneurship is learning to listen to others. As many change advocates say, ‘Those closest to the problem are also closest to the solution,’ and it’s important to get our students interacting and working in partnership with people seeking to create things in our community,” said Kennedy. “Our community partners also serve as great mentors for our students and challenge them in ways that is hard to create in a traditional classroom setting.”

Peter Bishop, director of Economic Development for the City of Burlington, attended the final presentations and was particularly impressed, noting, “Dr. Kennedy’s class provided professional-level analysis and information that will help the Burlington Downtown Corporation and our community pursue options to create a social district downtown. We’re excited to use the report!”




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