Rise of the Social Entrepreneur

social-entrepreneur-word-cloud-WEBHistory is loaded with heroic characters who’ve devoted their talents and energies—not for their own profit—but for the common good. Names like Susan B. Anthony who brought women the vote, or John Muir, who lobbied for a national park system, or New York City’s Central Park creator, Frederick Law Olmstead.

So, while the concept of working for the public good rather than personal profit isn’t new, the last 20 years has seen the rise of a new kind of social entrepreneur, a person or group that applies marketplace talent and resources toward resolving social problems. The 2006 Nobel Peace Prize went to Muhammad Yunus, an economics professor educated in the U.S. who first established micro-lending in Bangladesh.

Here’s a quote from social entrepreneur Jessica Jackley, founder of Kiva.org, another micro-lender:

The stories we tell about each other matter very much. The stories we tell ourselves, about our own lives, matter. And most of all, the way we participate in each other’s stories, is of deep importance.

Today on Hometown Alaska, we’ll hear a particularly Alaskan perspective on social entrepreneurship with Yaso Thiru. She teaches accounting at Alaska Pacific University, and for the last 18 months has promoted social change through education, employment and entrepreneurial spirit. We’ll talk of numerous examples, some global and some local, and take a closer look at Hope Studios, a social entrepreneurship venture right here in Anchorage, with gallery manager Julie Mettler.

Join us with your questions: What exactly is social entrepreneurism? What are its unique characteristics? When is it truly transformative, and when is it a corporate marketing campaign? How can consumers know the difference? We’ll tackle these and other facets of this complex movement, which looks very different under capitalism or under socialism. Listen to find out more.

Post show update, 01/08/2014: Dr. Yaso Thiru is working on a documentary about Alaska social entrepreneurs and enterprises. She invites Alaskans working on these types of projects to reach out to her at yasot@alaskapacific.edu. She also has information about an upcoming micro-financing class.


  • Yaso Thiru, Alaska Pacific University professor
  • Julie Mettler, gallery manager, Hope Studios



  • Call 550-8433 (Anchorage) or 1-888-353-5752  (statewide) during the live broadcast (2:00 – 3:00pm)
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HOST: Kathleen McCoy

LIVE BROADCAST: Wednesday, January 8, 2014. 2:00 – 3:00 pm (Alaska time)

REPEAT BROADCAST: Wednesday, January 8, 2014. 9:00 – 10:00 pm (Alaska time)

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