The Entrepreneurship for the Public Good (EPG) Program at Berea College creates a multi-year, learning experience for undergraduate students to practice and implement Entrepreneurial Leadership in rural communities of Central Appalachia. The EPG Program defines “Entrepreneurial Leadership” as:
“A process when one person or a group of people in a community originate an idea or innovation for a needed change and influence others in that community to commit to realizing that change, despite the presence of risk, ambiguity, or uncertainty”.
The EPG curriculum, teaching approach, and course of study are built from this central definition, and are expressed in the “EPG Cycle of Abilities for Entrepreneurial Leadership.” That cycle centers on six core learning goals of the program: engaging complexity and uncertainty; exploring values and ethical structures; facilitating group decisions; recognizing opportunity; mobilizing resources; and, advocating change.
During the first summer’s EPG Institute, the newly admitted cohort of twenty EPG Candidates practices this cycle of abilities by pursuing both social and commercial enterprises in a Central Appalachian, ARC community that has partnered with the EPG Program for that summer. EPG Candidates return to the program for a second summer to pursue a Directed Field Experience (DFE) over a ten-week period. The DFE allows each student – or sometimes student teams of two or three – to pursue an entrepreneurial leadership venture of their own design. The EPG faculty works with each student or student team to develop a successful DFE and to find a sponsoring individual or organization in the proposed community.
In the September following their second summer in the program, each EPG candidate presents a final portfolio that reviews her/his experience. Those who demonstrate clear learning and development in applying the Cycle of Abilities during that final presentation, and during the full EPG Program, are awarded the distinction of EPG Fellow.
Rachael Mason, EPG Fellow, discusses the importance of Twitter. This short clip is from her 20 minute presentation about her Directed Field Experience in the Summer of 2012.