This session of More MPE focuses on the increasing importance of social entrepreneurship and the unique role the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise plays in supporting social entrepreneurship in the United States and around the world. Our guest is Sandra Navalli OAM ’03, the managing director of the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise. She first proposed and now oversees the development of the distinctive and highly successful Tamer Fund for Social Ventures, which supports social entrepreneurs by drawing on the financial and human resources of the center, the Business School, and Columbia University at large.

The conversation begins with Navalli explaining how the field of entrepreneurship differs from the subfield of social entrepreneurship before turning to a discussion of the Tamer Fund for Social Ventures. It provides seed grants to social and environmental startups of all kinds, including nonprofit, for-profit, and hybrid ventures. Competition for the grants is intense, with up to one hundred applications each semester for a total of seven grants each year.

While financial support is a critical part of building a successful venture, according to Navalli another key area is the ability to draw on the diverse skills of students, faculty, and alumni from across the University — and not just from the Business School. Tamer Center staff and an investment board work with portfolio ventures to access university resources, including connecting them with experienced advisors and student talent. At one point she notes that before Warby Parker was a recognized brand, they found it harder to attract interest for open positions. The Tamer Fund for Social Ventures provides a reputational boost and a positive signaling effect for talented students and alumni who wish to work with mission driven ventures.

The conversation ends with a discussion of the final session of More MPE, which will be a live session taking place on March 25 on the Manhattanville Campus. The session will feature a discussion of three professors of the Modern Political Economy Course — Glenn Hubbard, Tano Santos, and Ray Horton — drawing on key points taken from the individual sessions of the podcast. Listeners are invited to attend the live session and a reception afterward of students, faculty, and administrators. Join the mailing list to receive an invitation.

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