Measuring Entrepreneurs’ Social Impact: ‘Our Generation Doesn’t Want to Compromise’

by Diana Drake

Fans of the Wharton School’s Future of the Business World podcast featuring high school students talking about their entrepreneurial ventures, have listened to the stories of all kinds of social entrepreneurs – innovators who want to address and solve problems in society.

Divya Sijwali and Parth Puri from India are creating footwear out of discarded tires – while also paying a fair wage to cobblers who craft their sandals. Jiro Noor built an app that connects farmers in Jakarta, Indonesia directly with the consumers who buy what they grow. Social and racial justice activist and innovator Moniola Odunsi from Virginia, U.S., tells FBW podcast listeners that she is excited by the impact that Gen Z is making: “My generation wants to see and live in a future in which equality is not just an ideal, but an actual reality. A lot of people say we are the future changemakers. I would say that we are those people right now.”

And yet, while so many high school students want to do well in the world, that passion is not enough to build a social venture that will last, cautions Tyler Wry, a Wharton management professor who champions the University of Pennsylvania’s social impact community. “If you’re not systematic about how you go about it, and then more importantly how you go about thinking about the cold, hard dollars and cents part of social entrepreneurship, you can end up building something that will never scale or sustain itself,” he says.

Here, we explore what it means to be a sustainable social entrepreneur, from concept to implementation.

Finding Impact Founders

Social entrepreneurship is part of the broader ecosystem of social innovation. Dollars and Change, another Wharton podcast out of the Wharton Social Impact Initiative (now the ESG Initiative), sheds light on the landscape. In one episode, Cheryl Dorsey, founder of Echoing Green, a business that funds social entrepreneurship startups, defines the landscape.

Social innovation, she says, “is the process of developing and deploying effective solutions to challenging, often systemic, social and environmental issues in support of social progress…it’s about how to use innovation as a disruptive tool to accelerate the pace of social change.”

Social entrepreneurs start businesses that do the work of solving those social problems. Max Strickberger, 22, has another name for them: impact founders. These entrepreneurs start businesses to improve society – and to make money. “Our generation doesn’t want to compromise,” says Strickberger, a 2022 Penn graduate. “We believe that great businesses shouldn’t trade their social ideals for financial ideals, or vice versa.”

Max has given a lot of thought to the impact-business movement. A few years back he co-founded IF: Impact First Ventures on Penn’s campus. Previously known as College Green Ventures, Impact First was among the winners of Penn’s 2022 President’s Engagement, Innovation and Sustainability Prize – and is focused on building the community of impact founders around the U.S.

“We already know that young people start outlier businesses — 20% of unicorns [fast-growth tech startups] were founded by 20-to 24-year-olds,” adds Max, who started his business with his twin brother Sam Strickberger, Penn’s 2022 class president; classmate Seungkwon Son, a double major in business analytics at Wharton and psychology in Penn’s College of Arts and Sciences; and Niko Simpkins, who graduated from the School of Engineering and Applied Science. “At the same time, our generation thinks it’s not enough for companies to push solely for financial returns. Our bet is that the best companies in 10 years will be impact companies and that disproportionately they will be founded by young people. They’ll drive outlier financial returns alongside outlier impact ones.”

“You’re probably way more courageous while you’re young – and when you’re starting something from scratch, courage can feel like half the battle.” – Max Strickberger, Co-founder, Impact First Ventures

Impact First sources and supports early-stage impact ventures on college campuses through developing an impact community, helping startups measure their impact, and connecting them with a network of advisors. They also help students find impact-oriented careers. In the past year, the business has created student teams at eight different colleges and universities, including Penn, Morehouse, Columbia, Howard, Stanford, Spelman, Princeton and Michigan.

“We want to create a one-stop-shop for social entrepreneurship,” notes Sam, who in high school started a culture and identity magazine with Max that scaled to 30 schools and became Washington, D.C.’s largest student publication. “At these universities we work with students who are plugged in entrepreneurially and care deeply about making the world better. We run a six-week impact-education course that Professor Wry developed and afterwards students identify top companies in their school’s ecosystem. The result is that we’ve begun to build a community of young people who are committed to using entrepreneurship for good.”

Essential to IF’s mission is to identify businesses that are unwavering in their financial aims and commitment to positively impacting society. To do so, they help student-led businesses understand how to measure sustainable impact, which comes down to recognizing the difference between a company’s outputs – its products and services – and its sustainable outcomes — how it actually effects change.

“It’s really easy to measure an organization’s outputs because there’s data, it’s quantifiable and you can see how it changes over time (you can count how many women received loans through your microfinance organization),” says Dr. Wry, who teaches what’s called the Theory of Change Model (see sidebar) in his six-week course for impact founders. “But it’s really hard to measure outcomes or impact,” says Dr. Wry. “It’s important that founders who have an impact aim also follow a theory of change, which is a logic model, or else it’s really hard to say with any confidence that you are doing something that should do actual good in the world.”

Depth, Breadth and Additionality

With Professor Wry’s help, Max and his team have developed a scorecard to assess impact ventures on how committed they are to the impact-alongside-profits mission and how likely they are to solve problems that shift society. They evaluate companies on their depth, breadth and additionality: How much good are you doing for one person and are they someone who really needs help? How many people are you doing something good for? Is what you’re doing going to create an outcome that differs substantially from what would have just happened anyway? “A really important piece is also the founder’s connection to the issue,” adds Seungkwon. “Why does the founder care about this? If it’s not something that they’re obsessed with, then as the organization grows, they might shift away from their impact focus.”

Through his work, Seungkwon has also identified key big-picture trends in social-impact startups. “We took data of all the impact startups coming out of universities and 50% of those impact companies were in the health care sector, 25% were in climate and 25% in financial empowerment,” he notes.

At Penn specifically, he adds, three in every four founders have defined impact goals, a huge shift from 10 years ago. Some examples include Ophelia, a telehealth platform for people experiencing opioid addiction; Forage, a tech startup making it easier for low-income Americans to buy food stamps online; and Chariot, which helps people donate directly to charities from Donor Advised Funds. Collectively, these companies are valued at hundreds of millions of dollars.

Albert Katz, a 2023 Wharton MBA candidate and former medical clinic CFO, is the founder of Flagler Health, a startup that helps patients suffering from musculoskeletal disease (like lower back pain and neck injuries) get the surgeries they need. Albert, who has concentrations in computer science, law and finance, has created an artificial intelligence algorithm that finds patients in need and is able to recommend them to a physician or a nurse practitioner for care. The U.S. health care system spends $138 million annually treating musculoskeletal disease. Flagler’s approach seeks to decrease that spend, while also helping patients.

“We just launched five months ago and already more than 120 patients have gotten spine surgery because of us,” notes Albert, whose focus on health-care innovation is inspired by the loss of his parents and grandmother to an overwrought system (that personal connection). “Don’t go into social impact just because you want to do good in the world. Find what you’re innately good at and then try to figure out if you can benefit society doing it,” adds Albert. “That’s how you should go about solving issues and helping others.”

So, will you be the next great impact founder to hit college campuses? Max and his Impact First team are watching. (Check out Max’s pandemic project with his Penn classmate for some inspiration.)

“If you find something you care about, find a way – however small – to do something about it,” Max suggests. “Ask questions. Get things wrong. Put one foot in front of the other. You’re probably way more courageous while you’re young – and when you’re starting something from scratch, courage can feel like half the battle.”

And think strategically and logically about how what you’re doing will have a genuine, long-term impact on the world.


Conversation Starters

Impact First co-founder Max Strickberger says, “We believe that great businesses shouldn’t trade their social ideals for financial ideals.” What does he mean by this? Do you agree?

It’s not enough to just want to do good in the world; you need to think strategically about it. Max and his team have a scorecard to assess impact ventures on how committed they are to the impact-alongside-profits mission. What is meant by depth, breadth and additionality? What is the Theory of Change Model?

Have you started an impact venture? Share your story in the comment section of this article. Think you might like to share it more broadly on Global Youth’s Future of the Business World podcast? Send us your pitch!

16 comments on “Measuring Entrepreneurs’ Social Impact: ‘Our Generation Doesn’t Want to Compromise’

  1. Many people think that WHEN they become rich, they will be able to help society, but this article tries to change entrepreneurs’ perspective that it can be done while achieving financial success. This article is a first step in changing the ideology that was somehow instilled in our brains, and to advocate for it would be advocating for society’s success.

    As an ambitious entrepreneur, this opened my eyes to what I stated above and is now pushing me to see how I may be able to help others while creating a company as opposed to creating a company and then helping others. Thank you for this – great insights here.

  2. Social entrepreneurship is a challenge that many people fear to undertake as it seems to be something undertaken by older people. However, this article and the statistics on the different new social start-ups that have been started truly inspires me.

    As a high school student that has operated a social enterprise starting only a few months ago, I have faced moments where I have wanted to give up, especially when sales were low. Why try myself when there are older and more experienced people to make these enterprises and make a positive impact? I hope that this article is spread widely such that similar students continue to find hope and continue on with their business venture as our generation really does not want to compromise and takes every business idea and every little impact seriously.

  3. Being raised on news stories about companies committing atrocious human rights abuses for the sake of their bottom line, it is easy to become pessimistic about the future of business. Companies exist for the sole purpose of making money, I always thought, and being a CEO is reserved for older people with decades of corporate experience under their belt. This article overturns all my previous perceptions of the business industry. It critically examines the intersection between finance and social impact and concludes that companies do not have to compromise one for the sake of the other.

    Companies like Impact First make me optimistic about the future of business. By giving resources to ambitious start-ups that have the ideas and passion but not necessarily the experience, they combine the best of practicality and imagination. This article shows that the social impact of companies in the future will be more than an Instagram post on Earth Day–being led by young entrepreneurs determined to make a positive impact on the world, their business models will be centered around sustainability instead of profitability. As such, the entrepreneurs of the future are young, ambitious, and focused on the bigger picture. I, for one, am excited to see where this takes us.

    • What a well-put response Emily! I deeply resonate and relate with your thoughtful response and your reaction to this excellent article. When I read your article, I couldn’t help but notice the striking similarities of our perspectives towards business. For that reason, I want to point out some memorable moments in your comment. Not only that, I want to offer a fresh perspective on one of the major points you made, as I think we can possibly have a fruitful discussion surrounding this topic.

      Firstly, I would like to point out some of the points you made that I related and agreed with. I strongly resonated with how you reflected on the article’s point about how financial and social motives should be blurred. I also believe that companies can succeed with both financial and social motives on their radar. Not only that, I believe companies that have correlating financial and social motives are more prone to success as they have a direct and straightforward desire for influence. For example, Apple has apparent financial and social motives that overlap, and especially in 2008, Steve Jobs exploited this aspect of the company gracefully and bolstered the company tremendously. Steve Jobs and his team of talented entrepreneurs set a direct goal to change the way people live and consequently released the revolutionary product, the iPhone. People no longer needed to go to public phone booths, or had to bring around large cameras to take photos. This product changed the way people think, live, and see the world and is a result of a successful company that correlated financial and social motives. Therefore, I highly agree with you and Max’s point on how social and financial motives should harmonize with each other.

      Notwithstanding your excellent points which I strongly agree with, I would like to offer a different perspective or interpretation of this article. Firstly, I would like to point out how you implied that resources can be traded off for experience in an entrepreneurial setting. I have a slightly different stance on this particular matter, and I would like to express that by telling you a personal anecdote. I am currently in a summer business program where students are encouraged to form groups and start small businesses. As a member of a relatively successful company in this program, I can attest that experience beats resources. Our CEO, who is also a student, has years of experience with finance, marketing, and entrepreneurship and he has led my team into reaching the program goals long before any other team has with the limited resources we were given. On the contrary, another team, let’s call them team red, could not find success due to their lack of experience. The CEO of their company was a rising sophomore with little to no experience in business, therefore, although they were given the same amount and quality of resources as my company, their projections were much lower. By making this point, I am not completely disagreeing with the article and your point that resources cancel out experience because, to some extent, they do. However, I am claiming that in order to have a successful and sustainable business, a new company needs an experienced leader, who experienced failure and learned from it multiple times before, to guide them into a healthy and functioning startup.

      To wrap up, I strongly agree with your points about how a successful business has a direct and straightforward financial and social motive and desire for influence. I believe we have a similar mindset when it comes to analyzing successful business and I wanted to point out that you offered me a fresh perspective on social and financial motives. However, I see that we couldn’t come eye to eye when it came to the matter of experience, and I strongly think that we can have an informative and interesting conversation about this topic. Let’s both become successful entrepreneurs with the help of Impact First!

    • Emily, I enjoyed reading your perspective regarding impact entrepreneurship. As you stated, there are numerous instances of human rights abuse within the corporate world. A widely-known one would be the publicity of Shein’s unsafe working conditions. The fast-fashion industry clearly does not associate with the ambitions of Impact First.

      In this generation of technological boom, the “startup pandemic” has hit many young entrepreneurs. Social media marketing agencies, drop-shipping, and other quick “schemes” of making money do not set any social impact goals. As Penn graduate Strickberger expressed, “Our generation doesn’t want to compromise.” Instead of pushing to solve problems in our society, too many entrepreneurs are selfish in their attempts to make money.

      I have to admit though, I tried to “catch the wave” of social media marketing. Although my equine marketing agency went well in terms of attaining clients and income, there was no social impact being made. This made me restless. In turn, I started a nonprofit for underrepresented equestrians. These kinds of compromises should be more common in the world of business.

      As you mentioned, Emily, Impact First is clearly focused on making a change in our current society. Many individuals have the ideas to make a change, but this association provides them with the necessary tools to progress.

      From what I can tell, you believe that business models should center around sustainability instead of profitability. Although it is important to be centered around making an impact in society, profitability is what keeps a company moving. A major component of sustainable companies is whether they can stay standing long enough to solve a problem. As I stated previously, we are in a boom of technological startups that quickly go bankrupt, often within a years time. Therefore, companies should definitely prioritize profitability and revenue to have the resources to last in the economy. As I hope you can now see, profitability is a necessary component of sustainable businesses who hope to make a change in society.

  4. Max’s opinion of “starting small” resonates with me. I think the maxim “Just do it” aptly summarizes the attitude we should hold towards social enterprises as youths. When there is a cause we are truly passionate about, we should take that first step to break the rules, as we never know what the end result is if we fear rejection and failure from the beginning. I would also like to make reference to the idea of depth and sustainability of a social enterprise. In search of funding, we may easily find ourselves caught up in the world of numbers, attempting to quantify the reach of our project. However, what is more important may be how deeply we have impacted every individual in their lives, and this may mean much more in the long run.

  5. This discussion on the role of young entrepreneurs in future ventures is extremely interesting. As a high school student myself, I really look forward to what students from my generation will create in the future. However, I think our generation is overlooking the role of big corporations in the creation of future technologies. For instance, Apple just released Vision Pro, which would be extremely hard for a startup on a low budget to develop. Therefore, I believe young inventors taking a more traditional approach and using resources from companies will still be a valid approach in the future. This trend away from corporate ladders is worrying to me, especially as some companies grow to the point where they cannot be surpassed by new startups.

  6. In 2012, my sister and I had a dilemma. While on vacation at my grandfather’s house, there were two sleeping spots: a twin-sized bed and a brown faux-leather sofa with a white fuzzy blanket on top. Each only slept one. My sister was unwilling to compromise and split the nights on the bed and couch with me. Of course, since she is two years older than me, she ended up getting her way and got to sleep luxuriously on the twin-sized bed for the entirety of our week-long trip to northern Florida. Obviously, I was then stuck being woken up early by pots in the nearby kitchen while sleeping on the sofa.
    My sister’s quality of not being willing to compromise, which I loathe at times, has stuck with me, and I have learned to implement it in other, more useful areas. I think I know when to refuse to compromise better than my sister; however, that might just be the sibling rivalry speaking. When I got into sustainability in my final year of middle school, the dreaded eighth grade, I decided I would no longer compromise on clothing. I would not support greenwashing or unsustainable brands, not only in the textile industry. I cut off my own beloved brand, Starbucks, forever saying goodbye to pink drinks and gladly doing away with all of their plastic waste. In the middle of eighth grade, I placed my last Urban Outfitters order after I went on a late-night deep dive into what fast fashion is. Since then, I have relentlessly cut off a plethora of other brands—with no mercy, might I add.
    I do, in fact, believe that there is a scale to be applied to brands, using sites like Good on You as my indicator. When brands lean close to the “We Avoid” ranking, that’s when I start my boycott against them. Instead of just declaring them bad, it is important to not compromise until improvements are made. There are many nuances to sustainability, making it hard to only look at brands as good or bad. Sustainability is multifaceted. Some brands have sustainable materials, yet use unsustainable methods or have excessive waste; therefore, it is hard to find brands that fully fit sustainability. However, not compromising and waiting for brands to get as close to sustainable as possible could spark the intervention needed to improve outcomes (following the theory of change model).
    While I have not YET ventured into a sustainable start-up, I fully agree with this article. I am young and unwavering in my stance on our future, especially with fashion sustainability. I am currently focused on researching and identifying pioneers and innovators in the area of sustainable fashion so I can learn more about what actually contributes most to the problems and what solutions others are working on. I do this so that when I do start a sustainability fashion venture, which I will, it will have a focus on limiting negative impacts trickling into the future, will use the most sustainable systems, and will hopefully beat out some of the companies that have been in my almost two-year boycott. Implementing these non-negotiable requirements as part of my business model will ensure my venture is both sustainable and profitable, rather than only profitable. I think living by a scorecard has made me learn that nothing is black and white; brands do both good and bad things. There are nuances and multiple dimensions that must be considered; scorecards provide ways to evaluate different considerations that provide help in making decisions, like severing a relationship with a brand.

    • Natalie, your comment was insightful! I loved how you connected it to your own experiences. As the oldest child, I find your experience with your older sister hilarious since my younger brother is stubborn and would rather stay up all night than sleep on a couch.

      I also think that it is very inspiring that you are fully committed to fashion sustainability and have cut out big fashion brands from your life. It is a big step, and I know that throwing pink drinks away is not easy.

      When you mention that “instead of just declaring them (brands) bad, it is important to not compromise until improvements are made,” I was reminded of my own activism experiences and advocating for positive social change within my community. I learned from my school club PARU (the Panther Anti-Racist Union) that I have to continually fight for what I want. For example, my club peacefully protested outside our school for three consecutive weeks in hopes that an unjust book ban would be overturned. We should not let our voices be silenced until we get what we want, but that is what makes compromise a complex discussion topic.

      A nuanced perspective looks into how there needs to be some room for collaboration since that can also be a step toward the results we want to achieve. Instead of pointing fingers all the time, I think it is time to look at ourselves and see what we can do. I used to point fingers at the school board members and those who directly impact policy, but politics is much more nuanced than the 8-letter word it poses as. Its dimensions fail to show how politics is also a result of those who use their voices the most. Instead of pointing fingers, I say we discuss, we compromise, and we collaborate. When we find a way to achieve a win-win solution, then progress has, to an extent, been made.

      Compromise, in my words, is when both parties find a middle ground between what they are fighting for. When fighting for justice within my school, I thought that compromise would not mean progress. It would simply mean a buffer between the progress that our school needed immediately. However, compromise to me now has become something that symbolizes peace and maturity. When parties agree to compromise, to be accepting of some of the other’s ideas, that shows a lot of strength and growth.

      We all hope to see progress, but we cannot instantly be overcome with hopeful change. We all hope for immediate equality within our society, but that does not give us time to adjust to that change. Compromise gives us a glimpse into how the world is able to collaborate and find a shared ground despite differences. In a world where politics are so polarized, compromise is so precious that we must take action upon it. That is what I did with PARU. With the book ban, I did not ask that the books needed to be unbanned forever, but that they should re-evaluate the banned materials with the correct policy. If they were evaluated correctly with the right circumstances and were still banned, then that would be a just ban.

      Furthermore, your description of sustainability being multifaceted caught my attention. I agree with you since sustainability is more than just looking at the materials, but also looking into the methodology and the overall context. I could argue that my parents are sustainable since they reuse the grocery store trash bags, but I could also say that trash bags are bad for Earth and take a long time to break down.

      While I agree that sustainability is multifaceted, I am not as sure if the Theory of Change model can be the best concept for achieving goals. In a realistic setting, many businesses want to work and collaborate with others and not completely lose their own power. So, the Theory of Change business model could become a more realistic model if it included an aspect of compromising and collaborating when it is beneficial in the long run.

      Again, I wanted to comment on your fashion sustainability journey. I find it fascinating that you are doing this, and I know many others and businesses are trying to be fashionably sustainable too, so I think it could be inspiring to talk with those people to make sure your start-up gets the attention it deserves.
      At the end of your comment about scorecards, you noted that “there are nuances and multiple dimensions that must be considered.” While you were talking about scorecards, I wanted to be able to apply this statement to your entire comment overall. When it comes to achieving sustainability, it is not one man’s job nor is it something that is easy. Therefore, collaboration and compromise (in certain circumstances) are needed to ensure that we can get closer to achieving sustainability, particularly in the field of fashion.

  7. “We believe that great businesses shouldn’t trade their social ideals for financial ideals” means there are many responsibilities people should take without being paid. For example, when finishing their work, even if it is not the time to go home, people should wait until ringing out. I totally agree with this statement because if people are rewarded for their social duties, they are less likely to have a sense of responsibility.
    Depth, breadth, and additionality are extents in the social impact.
    Recently I haven’t have any related experiences, but after reading this article, I am willing to engage in the business world.

  8. Many people think that when they shall become rich, they will be able to help society, but this article changed my and more people’s mind. This article is a first step in changing the ideology that was somehow instilled in our brains, and to advocate for it would be advocating for society’s success.
    I personally feel that social entrepreneurship is a challenge for everyone but this article is changing the mind of very young entrepreneurs.
    Emily, is clearly focused on making a change in our current society. Many individuals along with me have the ideas to make a change in the world, this association provides them with the knowledge and resources they need to have to make this world a better place.
    When there is a cause, we are truly passionate about and know it well enough to start it, we should take that first step to break the rules, as we never know what the end result is if we let our fear control us and be afraid of failure from the beginning.
    Max’s opinion of “starting small” resonates with many people in the world. I think the maxim “Just do it” aptly summarizes the attitude we should hold towards social enterprises as youths. As with this attuite we will be able to succeed in our life and can also expand their own companies the way they desire.

  9. As I read Max Strickberger’s quote “When you find something you care about, find a way – however small – to do something about it”, I felt personally motivated to continue with the mission I recently embarked on, to address the sleep crisis plaguing the world. Knowing that organizations were started with passion and drive to create societal change AND also make money serves as a reminder that financial and social gains are not mutually exclusive. I hope to be like startups Ophelia or Flagler Health as I create an organization dedicated to making a positive impact on people’s sleep health.

    Recognizing the pressing need for better sleep solutions, I couldn’t sit idly by and let the sleep crisis persist (experts agree that teenagers need 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night but most fall short of this requirement, and insufficient sleep is associated with many health problems, injury, reduced productivity and shorter life spans). As a high school freshman, I wasn’t sure how I would or could make a difference but I decided to go ahead and create my organization, REM Reward, with a vision to revolutionize the way we approach sleep. My journey started with a deep sense of empathy for those suffering from sleep-related issues and the determination to find practical solutions.

    In the context of Max’s quote, “putting one foot in front of the other” perfectly symbolizes the path I’ve taken to tackle the sleep crisis. I understand change isn’t going to be an overnight transformation, but rather a series of persistent efforts to raise awareness, promote healthy sleep habits, and develop innovative sleep programs. I break down ambitious goals into actionable steps, reminding myself as I work for hours on weeknights and weekends that each effort contributes to the larger vision of better sleep health worldwide. I’ve experienced successes and rejections, continuously evolving as an entrepreneur in this personal cause.

    In the pursuit of my passion, I’ve created blogs focusing on specific topics related to sleep, invited guest speakers on my podcast, and am in the process of launching sleep education programs in schools, conducting community sleep workshops, and partnering with healthcare professionals. Embracing the unknown, I just started diving into uncharted territories of research and collaboration with experts in the field of sleep medicine. I know that stepping outside my comfort zone is crucial to finding unique and effective solutions for the sleep crisis.

    If my mission is successful it can be measured in terms of hours of productivity that are gained from better sleep. Will I also be able to gain financial success from this endeavor? After reading this article, I know that’s possible too.

    In conclusion, Max Strickberger’s quote serves as fuel for my mission to combat the sleep crisis. It keeps me determined in my endeavor. My organization proves that even a single individual can make a significant impact on global issues like sleep health. With every step I take, I am creating a positive legacy, leaving a world where restful sleep is no longer a dream but a reality for everyone.

  10. Impact First co-founder Max Strickberger says, “If you find something you care about, find a way – however small – to do something about it.” His quote inspired me and changed my perspective towards taking action. In the past, I had a more pessimistic perspective due to the conditions we were in in my country, Turkey, and my hope for the future had began to reduce as I saw the injustices going on around me and the “self”-centred self-interested personalities of people that had reached frightening proportions. I was constantly finding myself crushed by hopelessness and anxiety about the future, and this pressure on me started to increase day by day.

    This quote made me realize that I could not change my conditions by just complaining about them without taking action. On the contrary, by extinguishing the hope in the people around me, I would get to a worse point. If I wanted to change something, I would have to take action, look at the problems with a more solution-oriented perspective. Every person may be concerned about one or more of the issues and want the problems they are worried about to be solved. However, the important thing is to not only worry about these problems, but also to take action to solve these problems. I was aware of this fact before, but I had lost my belief that taking action to find a solution would be effective in the face of the disappointments I saw under the Turkish conditions. However, the quote of Max Strickberger reawaken my belief into the impact of taking action, and raised my lost hope. I think someone should have a strong hope at first to create an impact, because hope has the power that sheds light on our future and inspires us. Hope brings creativity and action.

    Unfortunately, there are so many severe problems that I worry about and want to solve. When I focus on the general of the society in my country, Turkey, I see that there is a devastating lack of information in people: people are isolated from information and facts, and this situation is actually one of the main causes of many important problems such as poverty, hunger, global climate change and environmental pollution seen throughout the country or globally. Therefore, I believe that if we want to root out this and similar global problems in the world and want a brighter and more sustainable world, we must first solve this “lack of science and unconsciousness” problem. My inspiration and hope were the forces that gave me energy and moved me out of my comfort zone to come up with effective solutions to this problem. Right now, I want to use this energy inside me to make an impact by making projects that can be beneficial to humanity. Like Max continues: “You’re probably way more courageous while you’re young – and when you’re starting something from scratch, courage can feel like half the battle.”

  11. In the article “Measuring Entrepreneurs’ Social Impact: Our Generation Doesn’t Want to Compromise,” Cheryl Dorsey states, “Social innovation is the process of developing and deploying effective solutions to challenging, often systemic, social and environmental issues in support of social progress… it’s about how to use innovation as a disruptive tool to accelerate the pace of social change.”

    As someone performing Tuberculosis prevention research and co-launching Travelcraft AI, an eco-friendly travel planner, the quote resonates with me on multiple levels. In pursuit of Tuberculosis prevention in India and my home city of Mumbai, I recognize the complexity of tackling a disease with limited resources. The emphasis on deploying effective solutions to systemic challenges aligns with my research approach, where I seek innovative ways to disrupt disease transmition while keeping my proposal realistic to implement. Additionally, as I launch Travelcraft AI, an AI-based platform promoting eco-friendly travel planning, I am reminded of the call to use innovation to accelerate social change. With Travelcraft AI, I aspire to revolutionize travel planning by integrating sustainable practices into holiday choices.

    As the quote suggests, the article highlights how these entrepreneurs are not simply coming up with hypothetical solutions, but going one step further to implement real-world systems that address critical issues. The actions of Divya Sijwali, Parth Puri, Jiro Noor, Moniola Odunsi, and others show how innovative minds can use their skills to cause social change. Similarly, the launch of Impact First Ventures by Max Strickberger echoes the call to use research and innovation to accelerate social progress. I hope to be like the entrepreneurs in this article, with my Tuberculosis prevention research and eco-friendly travel planning, reflecting the spirit of upheaval the quote represents.

  12. Max Strickberger’s quote, in which he states, “We believe that great businesses shouldn’t trade their social ideals for financial ideals,” resonated very deeply with me.

    This quote provides a powerful perspective on the potential of businesses to contribute positively to society without sacrificing their social values. In a world where profit maximization often takes priority over social and ethical concerns, Strickberger’s assertion challenges the conventional wisdom that the businesses exist only to make money even at the cost of ethical or social compromises.

    This quote strikes a chord because it reflects the mindset of entrepreneurs who are committed to building ventures that combine meaningful positive change with sustainable profits. Certain businesses resort to practices for short-term financial gains, but which negatively impact the society in the longer run. This undermines the trust consumers place in those businesses, and that’s something that truly bothers me.

    Moreover, Strickberger’s words also show the importance of redefining success in entrepreneurship. Rather than only measuring success through financial metrics, we should also evaluate the positive impact a business has on society and the environment. This paradigm shift has the potential to shape a future where businesses are evaluated not only by their bottom line but also by social accounting standards.

    Strickberger’s quote serves as a reminder that corporate social responsibility holds the key to driving substantial and lasting change alongside profits. It encourages readers to aspire to start or support businesses that are not only financially successful but also contribute significantly to the betterment of society. This reminds me of the Tata Group of companies in India which is a huge conglomerate. They are highly profitable but at the same time they are known all around the world for their ethical practices and participation in social causes.

    This also relates to my own life. I am the founder of a small non-profit organization called Invest2Empower ( that teaches financial literacy to underrepresented communities. I work closely with FiWe, which is a for-profit company that is in the business of spreading financial literacy amongst school kids, which is extremely important for society. This proves that the size of the business is irrelevant in creating a social impact.

    To sum up, this quote provides an approach that advocates for the integration of social ideals and financial goals in the world of entrepreneurship. It prompts us to think beyond short-term gains and instead focus on building ventures that leave a meaningful and lasting impact on the world.

  13. Fans of the Wharton School’s Future of the Business World podcast, featuring high school students discussing their entrepreneurial journeys, have been inspired by the stories of diverse social entrepreneurs dedicated to addressing and resolving societal issues. From India, Divya Sijwali and Parth Puri are crafting footwear from discarded tires while ensuring fair wages for the cobblers producing their sandals. Jiro Noor, based in Jakarta, Indonesia, developed an app connecting farmers directly with consumers, fostering a sustainable agricultural ecosystem. Moniola Odunsi, a social and racial justice activist from Virginia, highlights the transformative power of Gen Z in creating a future marked by genuine equality.

    However, the podcast also offers a critical insight from Tyler Wry, a Wharton management professor. He emphasizes that while passion is vital, it alone isn’t enough to build a sustainable social venture. Without a systematic approach, including financial considerations, endeavors may fail to scale or endure. This prompts an exploration of what it means to be a sustainable social entrepreneur, spanning from conceptualization to execution.

    Social entrepreneurship is part of a broader ecosystem of social innovation, as discussed in Wharton’s Dollars and Change podcast. Cheryl Dorsey, founder of Echoing Green, defines social innovation as the process of developing effective solutions to systemic social and environmental issues in support of societal progress. Social entrepreneurs are the doers, creating businesses aimed at resolving these problems while generating profits. Max Strickberger, co-founder of Impact First Ventures, refers to them as “impact founders” who are committed to businesses that simultaneously prioritize social and financial goals, refusing to compromise.

    Max’s belief is echoed by the notion that the best companies in the future will be impact-driven, likely founded by young entrepreneurs. Impact First Ventures sources and supports early-stage impact ventures on college campuses, nurturing a community of young entrepreneurs dedicated to social betterment.

    One crucial aspect of Impact First’s mission is helping ventures measure their sustainable impact. This involves distinguishing between outputs (products and services) and sustainable outcomes (real-world change). Professor Tyler Wry’s Theory of Change Model plays a vital role in this evaluation process.

    Further analysis of impact ventures encompasses assessing their depth, breadth, and additionality. These metrics gauge the extent and reach of the positive impact a venture achieves, scrutinizing the founder’s genuine connection to the cause. Trends in social-impact startups indicate a significant focus on healthcare, climate, and financial empowerment, reflecting the evolving priorities of young entrepreneurs.

    Albert Katz’s Flagler Health exemplifies the potential of these startups. By leveraging artificial intelligence to connect patients with musculoskeletal diseases to appropriate care, Flagler Health aims to reduce healthcare costs while enhancing patient outcomes. Albert’s personal connection to the issue fuels his commitment.

    In conclusion, the podcast sheds light on the growing community of impact founders and underscores the importance of strategic thinking and genuine commitment to making a long-term impact on society. Max Strickberger’s advice to young changemakers is to find what they care about, take courageous steps, ask questions, and ensure their actions translate into lasting change.

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