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Critical Importance of Social Entrepreneurship Exemplified in Senior Capstone Projects

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Leadership, Design, and Entrepreneurship

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.366.1 - 25.366.22



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Paper Authors


Noel E. Bormann P.E. Gonzaga University

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Noel E. Bormann, P.E., Ph.D., professor and Chair, Civil Engineering Department, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Gonzaga University, 502 E. Boone Ave., Spokane, WA 99258-0026.

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Mara London Gonzaga University

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Spencer Joseph Fry


Andrew Douglas Matsumoto Gonzaga University

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School of Engineering

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Melanie Ruth Walter

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Critical importance of social entrepreneurship exemplified in senior capstone projectsThe solution to many of the world’s most significant problems will likely require that innovationand entrepreneurial skills combine with technological developments and political forces tomarshal the elements of required changes. Social entrepreneurship allows people to make thesuccess of a project incorporate explicit criteria related to improvements in “assets” beyond thosethat are easily measured in monetary account balances. It is also very common that projects canonly succeed when the social requirements and constraints surrounding the existing situation andthat of the proposed solution are properly understood. This results in the reality that there are no“standard solutions” because each situation has so many unique features. Two recent seniorcapstone design projects located in Kenya provide a strong learning opportunity for the studentsin applying the concepts of social entrepreneurship.One project involved the use of agricultural crop residues as a source of bio- fuels and wassupported by the US EPA Prosperity, People and the Planet (P3) Program in 2010. This projectrequires that the implementation team support agricultural workers in recognizing the social andmonetary value of investing in the bio-fuel production technology and then develops a method togenerate earnings from implementation. The second project combines sustainable technologiesto improve the health of women and children in the homes of the area surrounding Kitale, Kenya.It is also supported by the US EPA P3 Program in 2011. This latest project presents animplementation plan that uses the marketing of beneficial technologies with “early adopters”training new users and the spread of the technologies can be funded by project sales.This case study provides the student descriptions of the process by which the projects wereshaped by the incorporation of social entrepreneurship concepts into the projects and how theproject technologies are shaped by the increased understanding of the conditions in Kenya.

Bormann, N. E., & London, M., & Fry, S. J., & Matsumoto, A. D., & Walter, M. R. (2012, June), Critical Importance of Social Entrepreneurship Exemplified in Senior Capstone Projects Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21124

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