Monday, March 15, 2010

Spanish & Entrepreneurship: What Have We Learned So Far?

by Lily Martínez

Midsemester Review

In SPAN 332 "Spanish & Entrepreneurship: Languages, Cultures & Communities" (course information is in the left navigation bar), we now find ourselves half way throughout the semester. Thus far we have talked about the following, using Enterprising Nonprofits:

  • Defining Social Entrepreneurship as having the objective to maintain and improve social conditions beyond financial benefits, blending social and commercial methods, looking for creative ways to generate revenue, and having a social objective through a hybrid of commercial and philanthropic methods.
  • Defining and Creating Mission Statements: this needs to be equal to the actions you take. Social entrepreneurs can use their mission as their lever to move minds and hearts, and to “change lives”. It can also provide a sense of progress and significance to their work. But most importantly, it needs to be focused and clear. Or as Peter F. Drucker said, “It should fit on a T-Shirt”.
  • We have also been exposed to rubrics in order to recognize and assess new opportunities, in particular, their social value potential, its market potential and its sustainability potential.
  • Learning how to mobilize our resources and being familiar with the four phases of an entrepreneurial resource assessment, going from defining capabilities, devising operating structures, developing economic models and deducing resource needs.
  • Accountability informs all parties involved, helps achieve our goals, creates an organizational framework and maintains a communication network.
A Classroom Activity that Tied together Many Concepts Presented in the Course

Reality shows continue to fascinate television viewers. As I ask myself what elements being represented captivate the viewers, I can not help but realize that we continue to be fascinated by narratives of adventure and our desire to maintain a voyeuristic gaze on other individuals, at times similar or completely opposite from us. This eclectic combination between narrative that represent reality and fiction was present last Thursday in our Spanish and Entrepreneurship class. The homework was simple, go to, click “lend” and choose a “region” with Spanish-speaking countries and browse the entrepreneur’s profiles. They had to select the profile they thought deserved a loan. Lastly, they printed the profile and brought it to class. Traditionally, students are asked to make use of their language skills and imagination in order to complete many foreign language in-class activities. What was drastically different this time around was that their analytical, persuas

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ion and communication skills directly affected the life of a person in a Spanish speaking country. After several rounds of group work and class presentations, the students voted for the person or team that they felt deserved… the $100 dollar loan Dr. Abbott was going to make after class. Who knew replicating scenarios had real life consequences!

Focus for the Rest of the Semester

  • Cover last half of Enterprising Nonprofits.
  • Analyze real-world examples of social entrepreneurship in class.
  • Complete community-based team projects.
  • Prepare engaging presentations about the team projects.

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