Social Entrepreneurship @ UMBC

Vivian Armor is Director of the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship at UMBC. Amy Froide is associate professor of History at UMBC and a faculty fellow of the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship.

Social entrepreneurship has been a key component of our entrepreneurial initiatives since the founding of the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship in 2000. Social entrepreneurs are pioneers of innovation that benefit humanity.  A social entrepreneur is someone who recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to create and implement social change.

We are very excited that last year the university established a new minor in Entrepreneurship & Innovation. The minor is for students in all fields and disciplines, including the arts, social justice work, policy, and activism. Students enrolling in the minor must take two core courses, one of which can be  POLI/AMST/SOCI 205, “Civic Agency and Social Entrepreneurship.” This course has been co-taught by Delana Gregg and David Hoffman for the last four years and is always filled to capacity.

Students can go on to study social entrepreneurship in other courses as well. For example, Professor Amy Froide regularly teaches a seminar on “Entrepreneurs in 18th-century London, England.” In this course, History students research and write papers using original historical documents. One of the students in the course, Erin Butler, chose to write her paper on the establishment of the Foundling Hospital in 18th-century London, an innovative initiative aimed at saving illegitimate and orphaned children and placing them in jobs. Erin presented her research in spring 2012 at UMBC’s Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day.

UMBC students interested in social entrepreneurship  can also apply their knowledge outside of the classroom through internships with social ventures. Entrepreneurship minors can take ENTR 300 and receive up to 3 academic credits for an entrepreneurial internship. This past year, the Alex. Brown Center, in partnership with the Shriver Center, launched the Shattuck Family Internship Program for Entrepreneurship Innovation and Social Change. Each year, up to 20 undergraduate students at UMBC will be awarded internships. Half of the interns will be placed in non-profit/community-based organizations in the Baltimore/Washington area.

The first Shattuck interns included Miguel Calderon, who used his skills in design in an internship with the Division of Human Services of the Mayor’s Office of Baltimore. Micaela Perez Ferrero interned at the Maryland Business Round Table, where she designed a student engagement program to encourage college students to speak to at-risk 8th and 9th graders. Micaela says “The lessons and skills that I learned at MBRT have allowed me to continue to progress into a career in education. While my work in social entrepreneurism is just beginning, I am extremely grateful to the Shattuck Family for giving me this opportunity.”

Students can meet with area social entrepreneurs and learn more about their work by attending the Entrepreneurship Speakers Series sponsored by the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurs are always featured among the invited speakers. In 2011-12, Heather Harvison, founder of My Sister’s Circle, a mentoring program for Baltimore girls, and Jamie McDonald, Co-Founder and CEO of, were featured presenters in the Speaker Series.

If you are interested in learning more about UMBC’s Minor in Entrepreneurship & Innovation, please contact us.

Contact the authors, Vivian Armor at and Amy Froide at


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