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The Innovation Initiative For Social Entrepreneurship: Fostering Awareness Of Global And Social Issues Via Entrepreneurship Education

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Entrepreneurial Leadership and Non-traditional Ways to Engage Students in Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1438.1 - 12.1438.14



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Paper Authors

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Edward Coyle Purdue University

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Nancy Clement Purdue University

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Joy Krueger Purdue University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The Innovation Initiative for Social Entrepreneurship: Fostering Awareness of Local and Global Social Issues via Entrepreneurship Education

1. Introduction The Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program is a team-based engineering design program that operates in a service-learning context. The undergraduates enrolled in this program earn academic credit for the real-world design work they perform and the professional skills they develop while creating products requested by non-profit organizations in their local community.

The EPICS Entrepreneurship Initiative (EEI) was created in 2001 to enable EPICS teams to learn about entrepreneurship in the context of the innovative products and services that they create with their community partners. The culmination of the EEI’s activities each year is the EPICS Idea-to-Product® (I2P®) Competition.1 In this product-feasibility competition, a panel of distinguished entrepreneurs listen to the EPICS e-teams’ presentations about their products and determine which of their ideas have the greatest potential for both commercial sustainability and benefit to society.

The educational and commercialization benefits of the EEI and its I2P® Competition have led us to generalize them beyond EPICS to include all areas of engineering-focused social entrepreneurship. The EPICS I2P® Competition has thus been extended to the National I2P® for EPICS and Social Entrepreneurship by inviting e-teams with engineering-focused projects to participate in the competition along with EPICS teams. The first competition of this type took place in 2006 at San Jose State University; the next will take place in 2007 at Princeton University. The inclusion of non-EPICS teams has led us to change the name of the EPICS Entrepreneurship Initiative to the Innovation Initiative for Social Entrepreneurship (IISE).

In this paper, we discuss the goals and structure of these efforts in social entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education, report on the first I2P® for EPICS and Social Entrepreneurship, summarize the results of evaluations by the student participants in and judges of this competition, and describe plans for the development of these programs. Section 2 provides background on EPICS and the EPICS Entrepreneurship Initiative. Section 3 describes how the National I2P® has been extended to encompass social entrepreneurship efforts in addition to EPICS. Section 4 summarizes the results of evaluations by the students and judges who participated in the 2006 National I2P® Competition for EPICS and Social Entrepreneurship. Section 5 describes future plans for these efforts, including the 2007 competition and the creation of the Innovation Initiative for Social Entrepreneurship as the new umbrella for all of these activities.

1 Idea-to-Product and I2P are registered trademarks of the University of Texas at Austin. The National EPICS I2P® is one of a family of entrepreneurship competitions that are based on product-feasibility plans instead of business plans. For more information, please see

Coyle, E., & Clement, N., & Krueger, J. (2007, June), The Innovation Initiative For Social Entrepreneurship: Fostering Awareness Of Global And Social Issues Via Entrepreneurship Education Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2040

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