Social Entrepreneurship Conference Empowers Students

By Anna Wright

New College student Jesus Olive is awarded $3,000 to launch his company Better Today.
New College student Jesus Olive is awarded $3,000 to launch his company Better Today.

Students and community members gathered at Harry Sudakoff Conference Center Sept. 21 to experience New College’s first Social Entrepreneurship Conference.

“Social entrepreneurship is a new concept of business where the focus is not on the profits, but on the impact they make on the world,” explains Emiliano Espinosa, an Environmental Studies AOC and co-founder of the conference.

Hosted by the Cross College Alliance, the conference brought together business leaders and influential community members to empower and equip the next generation of social entrepreneurs. Panelists from local and successful businesses spoke on the challenges and rewards of addressing social, environmental, and creative issues through entrepreneurship.

“In learning how to start something from nothing,” Rose Shimmel, a Music and Psychology AOC, remarked, “I learned that you just have to keep reaching out to people and don’t be afraid to take risks. People come from such different backgrounds and they just go for these projects, and I feel inspired to keep going for my own.”

In addition to portfolio reviews, students had the opportunity to participate in a pitch competition, where judges considered potential business ideas and awarded scholarships to help launch student-led entrepreneurial endeavors. New College student Jesus Olive was awarded $3,000 to grow his company, named Better Today.

“I encourage students to take their opportunity in their four-year career as a college student to actually take on a project that matters to them — to their heart — and make it happen throughout those four years, even if it’s at a small scale,” says Espinosa. “You can make an impact locally.”

The next Social Entrepreneurship Conference is planned for September 2020.

— Anna Wright is an intern in the Office of Communications and Marketing.


Located in Sarasota, New College of Florida has educated intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement since its founding in 1960. As the State of Florida’s designated honors college, New College provides an exceptional education that transforms students’ intellectual curiosity into personal accomplishment. The 110-acre campus on Sarasota Bay is home to more than 800 students and 80 full-time faculty engaged in interdisciplinary research and collaborative learning. New College offers nearly 40 areas of concentration for undergraduates and a master’s degree program in Data Science.

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