Roots of Success for Social Entrepreneurs

Roots of Success for Social Entrepreneurs is an empowering and comprehensive environmental literacy and job readiness curriculum composed of ten modules that is designed to help social entrepreneurs from under-served communities take on society’s most pressing environmental problems, identify innovative and sustainable solutions, and put their ideas into practice. The curriculum increases people’s knowledge, understanding, critical thinking, imagination, confidence, and understanding of financial and business concepts, structures and systems. In addition, this version of the curriculum increases people’s knowledge about green business principles, concepts, methodologies (triple bottom line, life cycle analysis, etc.) and certifications. In doing so, the curriculum ensures that people who come from communities that are disproportionately impacted by environmental problems have the skills and knowledge they need to access economic opportunities in the green economy, improve environmental conditions in their communities, and contribute to a more equitable, healthy and sustainable society.

Throughout the course students are encouraged to look at problems from a multiple disciplinary perspective, understand the basics of entrepreneurship, and reflect on needs, goals and opportunities in the green economy. Videos and visuals are used to profile innovative social entrepreneurs, business ideas, business models, business structures, and marketing strategies. Exercises and activities allow participants to apply what they are learning in the class in a real world context and practice building social enterprises — from idea and concept, through how to manage employees and grow their businesses.

“Roots of Success has transformed our social entrepreneur training program. The course allows me to integrate our philosophy of empowerment and engagement into a proven education model that prepares participants to create thriving enterprises and become leaders in their communities.”
- Chris Ramsey, Bridges Out of Poverty Initiative and Roots of Success Instructor in Newark, Ohio

Programs currently using this version include:

  • Social entrepreneur and green micro-enterprise programs
  • Historically Black Colleges & Universities
  • Micro-enterprises that deliver environmental services
  • Community-based initiatives to promote eco-tourism and wealth creation
  • Student-run businesses that deliver environmental services
  • Youth development programs focused on social entrepreneurship

Our approach to social entrepreneurship focuses on how people can respond to community problems or needs in innovative and entrepreneurial ways. The version contains content and videos illustrating how people are doing this in the United States and around the world. Provides participants with opportunity to think about entrepreneurial opportunities in multiple sectors – water, waste, transportation, energy, building, health and food. The Financial Literacy & Social Entrepreneurship Module develops personal financial literacy; helps students think about how they can start businesses that respond to community problems; and introduces students to basic business practices and skills.