Edwardson Social Entrepreneurship Program

Part of a powerful entrepreneurial ecosystem at the University of Chicago, the center helps UChicago students and faculty connect research with practice and go from idea to impact.

Whether you have an idea already or are looking to explore launching or joining a startup, the Rustandy Center can help you on your entrepreneurial journey.

The Edwardson Social Entrepreneurship Program

The Rustandy Center’s Edwardson Social Entrepreneurship Program supports UChicago students and faculty in jump-starting businesses and nonprofits founded on social missions.

The program also helps drive the Rustandy Center’s mission to become the leading university-based launchpad and knowledge center for game-changing social entrepreneurs, their ventures, and the people who fund them. And it supports the center’s work in impact investing through student competitions, experiential learning programs, and more.

Looking for help navigating our social entrepreneurship resources? Contact us.

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Discover Social Entrepreneurship Resources

UChicago Entrepreneurship Offerings

UChicago students, faculty, and alumni have access to a wide range of entrepreneurship opportunities across the University of Chicago. The Rustandy Center partners closely with the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation on these offerings, including:

UChicago GEN
This global community of UChicago entrepreneurs and investors provides alumni and student entrepreneurs with connections, valuable content, and other resources.

This program brings UChicago students together with researchers, technologists, and faculty who want to explore the commercialization opportunities and business applications of their work.

Polsky Accelerators
In this program, student teams work intensively on businesses and social enterprises over the summer. Teams receive funding, coaching, mentorship, and more.

The Polsky Center’s Mentorship Program
This program provides UChicago students with access to a variety of carefully curated entrepreneurs and experts from a wide range of industries.

Courses in Social Entrepreneurship

The Rustandy Center facilitates several courses designed to promote the skills required for launching successful social ventures. Here’s a sampling:

New Social Ventures
This course is the academic component of the John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge (SNVC), in which teams develop and hone ideas for innovative social startups. At least one student from each SNVC team must enroll in New Social Ventures.

Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation
In this course, UChicago students study social innovation with a focus on the role of research and social entrepreneurship in developing and scaling innovative solutions to society’s problems.

Meet Our Social Entrepreneurship Executive in Residence

Learn from industry experts in the Rustandy Center’s network, who work closely with students as mentors and advisors and share insights from their experience in the social sector. Learn more about opportunities to engage with David Ellis.

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David Ellis, Social Entrepreneurship

David Ellis is cofounder and CEO of portfolio businesses at Flow Equity, a US-based venture development business focused on the rural poultry sector in sub-Saharan Africa. Its flagship enterprise, EthioChicken, is the market leader in Ethiopia, and Flow Equity is replicating that model in Rwanda and Uganda.

David Ellis, Social Entrepreneurship

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