In fall of 2020, two dozen George School students took part in the Social Innovators Program (SIP) through the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Schoolyard Ventures. The program provides university-level, real-world opportunities for students interested in merging an interest in entrepreneurship with the desire to make a positive impact on society.
“We look for school partners who are invested,” said Executive Director Rich Sedmak, “But George School students came to the conversation already having given a lot of attention to social impact. They already had a lot of awareness.”
During the program’s first phase, students join small cohorts with faculty mentors to learn about the basics of entrepreneurship and design their own projects. The goal is to develop a successful venture, but also a successful mindset and process to follow again and again. A Certificate in Social Entrepreneurship from the University of Pennsylvania is also given to participants.
George School students developed everything from phone apps to a platform that helps students retain their piano skills, to a marketplace that helps runners keep track of routes without the pressure of times to an educational video series that helps high school students through the voter registration process.
Using her own experience of coming to George School from Afghanistan as inspiration, Nadira Talayee ’22 created International Education for Everyone, an advising system using Zoom and Skype to help Afghani students apply to international boarding schools.
“SIP taught me to see problems as opportunities to make a change and grow,” said Nadira.
She hopes to use the leadership and business knowledge and perspectives gained from this program to improve the lives of girls and women.
Associate Head of School and program liaison Scott Spence is also heartened by the charter class’s success. “We are excited to keep the partnership going,” he said. “Participants realize that Entrepreneurship is more accessible than it seems. Furthermore, opportunities for contribution to society can exist in unexpected places.”
Student Applications for the fall 2021 program must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 24, 2021. Phone interviews will be scheduled with students after their applications are received. Please note, this program will reach capacity quickly, so students are encouraged to apply early.
Parents of interested students for the 2021 program are invited to attend a brief information session on Thursday, May 20, 2021. Information can be found here.