College Student Social Entrepreneurs Microloan Program

The College Student Social Entrepreneurs Microloan Program is made possible by the partnership between the Flagship Enterprise Center (on behalf of the Indiana Small Business Administration) and Indiana Campus Compact. The program provides an opportunity for college student social entrepreneurs to obtain a loan to start a social enterprise. Eligible students are on Indiana Campus Compact partner campuses located in the current or whose permanent address is located within the 29 county service area. We are working with the Flagship Enterprise Center to offer this program statewide in the future.

For more information about how you can get financial support to implement your solution to a societal issue, contact Laura Weaver, Director of Programs and Member Development at weaverla {at} iupui(.)edu or 317-274-6500.

Social-EntrepreneurshipWhen looking up the definition of “social entrepreneur” or “social entrepreneurship” one can find a wide variety of definitions and organizations that are developing resources to support individuals and companies. In 2012 Samer Abu-Saifan compiled seven of the most common definitions for social entrepreneur and/or social entrepreneurship. These include:

  • Ashoka (2012) Social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems […] They are both visionaries and ultimate realists, concerned with the practical implementation of their vision above all else.
  • Bornstein (1998) A social entrepreneur is a path breaker with a powerful new idea who combines visionary and real-world problem-solving creativity, has a strong ethical fiber, and is totally possessed by his or her vision for change.
  • Brinckerhoff (2009) A social entrepreneur is someone who takes reasonable risks on behalf of the people their organization serves.
  • Dees (1998) Social entrepreneurs play the role of change agents in the social sector by:- Adopting a mission to create and sustain social value;-Recognizing and relentlessly pursuing new opportunities to serve that mission;- Engaging in a process of continuous innovation, adaptation, and learning;- Acting boldly without being limited by resources currently in hand;- Exhibiting a heightened sense of accountability to the constituencies served for the outcomes created.
  • Leadbeater (1997) Social entrepreneurs are entrepreneurial, innovative, and “transformatory” individuals who are also: leaders, storytellers, people managers, visionary opportunists and alliance builders. They recognize a social problem and organize, create, and manage a venture to make social change.
  • Thompson et al. (2000) Social entrepreneurs are people who realize where there is an opportunity to satisfy some unmet need that the state welfare system will not or cannot meet, and who gather together the necessary resources (generally people, often volunteers, money, and premises) and use these to “make a difference”.
  • Zahra et al. (2008) Social entrepreneurship encompasses the activities and processes undertaken to discover, define, and exploit opportunities in order to enhance social wealth by creating new ventures or managing existing organization in an innovative manner.

Abu-Saifan (2012) points out that ultimate goal for a social entrepreneur “is to fulfill their social mission” (p. 24). They “design their revenue-generating strategies to directly serve their mission to deliver social value” (p. 24).

Abu-Saifan, S. (2012). Social entrepreneurship: Definition and boundaries. Technology Innovation Management Review, (2)2.

Access Abu-Saifan’s article at

faq_smallQ: Am I eligible to apply for this loan opportunity?

A: The College Student Social Entrepreneurs Micorloan Program is open to any student enrolled on an Indiana Campus Compact partner campus located within the Flagship Enterprise Center’s 29-county service area or whose permanent address is located within this same 29-county service area.

Q: Is this a grant or a loan?

A: This is a loan program, NOT a grant program. If students meet the requirements to receive a loan, the money will be distributed by the Flagship Enterprise Center (the loan provider), on behalf of the Small Business Administration, and will be paid back to the Flagship Enterprise Center.

Q: How much are the loan amounts?

A: Loan amounts range from $500 to $50,000. Average loan amounts will range from $5,000 to $10,000. See the loan application for more details.

Q: Is Indiana Campus Compact providing the funds for the loan?

A: Indiana Campus Compact is NOT the loan provider and is not responsible for monitoring payments or defaults. In addition, Indiana Campus Compact is not responsible for any damages that may result if a loan recipient defaults. Loans will be distributed by the Flagship Enterprise Center, on behalf of the Small Business Administration.

Q: What support will Indiana Campus Compact provide?

A: Indiana Campus Compact will provide consultation and professional development for funded student social entrepreneurs through events and partnerships with other organizations. These include special programming at our annual Service Engagement Summit, Fall Kick-Off Retreat, and connections to local resources, incubators and other social entrepreneurs who can share their story and insight with you.

Q: What support can I expect for the Flagship Enterprise Center?

A: The Flagship Enterprise Center is the second leading Small Business Administration (SBA) microlender in the nation and the largest SBA Community Advantage lender in Indiana. The staff at the Flagship Enterprise Center provide both business mentoring and technical services throughout the process helping borrowers with everything from consulting, website and logo design, marketing materials and blogs, to business analysis and growth plans. The Flagship Enterprise Center works with borrowers on average of once a month (as needed) to ensure success.


Download the Application

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

Let’s talk Social Innovation: Compact Nation Podcast #10 with Marina Kim, executive director and co-founder of Ashoka U. LISTEN NOW

This month on #CompactNationPod, Andrew Seligsohn and Marina Kim, executive director of Ashoka U, discuss social innovation. Kim explains how Ashoka U has worked to make sure students learn about social change in order to participate in the social innovation process and contribute as change-makers.

We also explore the transition from social entrepreneurship to social innovation, and how that change has expanded the roles students can play in contributing to social impact. Listen now and weigh in on the conversation online using #CompactNationPod!

VeronikaScott_headshotVeronika Scott, 2015 Service Engagement Summit keynote, founder and CEO of the Empowerment Plan is a great source of inspiration for students aspiring to be social entrepreneurs. Veronika was inspired to start The Empowerment Plan when a class at The College for Creative Studies in Detroit challenged her to create a product to fill an actual need in her community. Veronika took to the issue of homelessness and began spending time at a nearby warming center where the design for the EMPWR coat was born. While conducting her research, Veronika was angrily confronted by a homeless woman who stated that she did not need a coat—she needed a job. This is the moment that shaped the innovative business practices The Empowerment Plan would adopt upon establishment.

4 Myths That Keep Students From Becoming Social Entrepreneurs – From Ashoka via Forbes.

  1.  “No one will take me seriously because I’m just a college student.”
  2.  “To make a difference, I have to do work in a remote, developing country.”
  3.  “I have to raise a lot of money before getting any real work done.”
  4.  “People in my community will be suspicious of my work because I’ve only lived here for a couple of years.”

Ashoka is an international organization the promotes social entrepreneurship. The mission of Ashoka is “to shape a global, entrepreneurial, competitive citizen sector: one that allows social entrepreneurs to thrive and enables the world’s citizens to think and act as changemakers.”

Shifting Philanthropy From Charity to Justice –

DorianDorian O. Burton (@Dorian_Burton) is the assistant executive director and chief program officer at the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust. He is also co-founder of TandemED. Burton holds a Doctorate degree from Harvard University, where he is also an affliate of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School.

Brian_BarnesBrian C.B. Barnes, (@BCBBarnes) is the chief community officer at the Tennessee Achievement School District and is co-founder of TandemED. Barnes holds a Doctorate degree from Harvard University, where he is also an affliate of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School.

Diversity & Democracy Special Issue – Summer 2016 Vol. 19 No. 3 Social Innovation and Civic EngagementThe Association of American Colleges & Universities’ (AACU) Summer 2016 issue of their Diversity & Democracy publication was devoted to intersection of social innovation and civic engagement and how college and universities are connecting these two areas of work.

Dr. Sandra Enos, Associate Professor of Sociology at Bryant University and Campus Compact Scholar-in-Residence in May 2015. Dr. Enos is a national expert in community-based learning and social entrepreneurship, and has published a number of articles and a recent book, Service-Learning and Social Entrepreneurship: A Pedagogy of Social Change (2015, Palgrave MacMillan) on the topic.

The Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) works to inform and inspire social change leaders from around the world. They offer a variety of resources on a broad range of topics. The SSIR is published by the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford University.