Is Social Entrepreneurship Teachable?

Today, social innovation is the ever-present buzzword floating around business schools, the internet, and in the minds of resourceful (and conscientious) entrepreneurs around the world. An increasing number of companies like Toms Shoes and Grameen Bank are operating viable businesses with social causes in mind. But the question remains, can you cultivate and teach social entrepreneurship?

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Born in Dorms: CentriCycle, Improving Healthcare in Rural India

3 Day Startup explores the journey of student entrepreneurs from all over the world in the ongoing blog series, Born in Dorms. Universities are ripe for more innovation: the combination of bright students, open information, and more accessible tech creates an environment where student companies can flourish better than ever before. These highly motivated and driven students share their successes, failures, and everything in between as they navigate the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship in their local communities. Read more about each student’s unique perspective on building a viable company in and around campus.

CentriCycle, UMichigan

CentriCycle, UMichigan

Carolyn Yarina, a senior chemical engineering student at the University of Michigan co-founded CentriCycle with fellow student social entrepreneur Alex Thinath in August 2012.

CentriCycle is a non-profit working to improve healthcare in rural India through the implementation of sustainable diagnostic technology and disease education. In India, one out of every three people live in rural areas and lack local access to basic healthcare. “We have identified one key factor in the increasing disease incidence as the paucity of point-of-care diagnosis in rural villages in India,” says Yarina.

CentriCyle is launching its first device in India later this year: the CentriCycle Centrifuge. A centrifuge is a device that spins at high speeds to separate blood constituents. Once blood is separated, simple paper strips known as rapid diagnostic tests (RDT’s) can be used to diagnose diseases such as HIV, syphilis, and malaria. “Our device is hand-powered, affordable at $25, and enables point-of-care diagnosis in less than 5 minutes. Our total Indian market is $11.5 million,” says Yarina.

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