Hands On

By Jessamyn Lau 

The depth to which we are involved with each of our partners varies. Some organisations are newer and have a list of things we can help them find/do, others are very well established and for the most part we just get out of their way and watch with awe. Each partnership is defined by the situation and needs of the organisation.

One unique partnership is with BYU (Brigham Young University). Before I joined the PF, Dave and the Peery family had noticed an opportunity at BYU. A number of the family are BYU grads and they were very familiar with the student body who are highly entrepreneurial, have diverse international experience and language skills, and firmly believe in the school’s motto of ‘Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve’. It’s obvious, right? Social Entrepreneurship fit! While there were a few solid SE activities already established on campus, they recognised an opportunity to coordinate the existing efforts, as well as build a robust program that would serve students and faculty across campus more completely.

Currently, this is what about 40% of my time is spent on, as we prepare to launch the program. This will dramatically decrease over the next year but for now BYU is the one partner we are in communication with almost daily. I’m a BYU grad myself, so it’s extremely gratifying to be able to continue to build what I wanted to see while a graduate student there. I work with the program’s director, a founders group of professionals all volunteering their time to create the program, and many faculty and student leaders. As with most of what we do at the PF, it’s gratifying work -just in a different way.

The program will be launching in February, the week of the 7th. I’m pretty sure you’ll get to hear a little more about all the goings ons, then.

And if there are any funders out there working with universities already doing or currently thinking about doing a similar thing, we’d love to hear from you. We’ve learned quite a bit over the last couple of years we’ve been working on this partnership, and we are still trying to figure out how the relationship will change as the program becomes more established with time. Always open to learning/sharing.