San Quentin Inmates get Entrepreneurial with Help from MBA Course

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How do you communicate with 120,000 people spread across California who are denied ready access to computers, phone calls, emails, and texts? You have to start with a plan to make it financially sustainable. Social Sector Solutions for Social Enterprises (S3SE), a fall course at Haas, drafted this plan working with entrepreneurial inmates from San Quentin prison. The Daily Californian highlights the importance of the San Quentin News, the only inmate-run newspaper in California and the struggle inmates face to financially support their work. The S3SE team has crafted a business plan that focuses on financial sustainability to enable the inmates to continue writing for years to come.

“According to Dr. Nora Silver, [Director of the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership and the co-instructor of S3SE,] the the plan involves a multifaceted, multiyear process. To finance its goals, the inmates must earn revenue from newspaper subscriptions to subsidize the free issues provided to prisoners and corral more outside volunteers to help in writing grant proposals. And in order to obtain subscriptions — which might come, for example, from recent parolees or San Quentin’s 3,000 volunteers — they need to turn the paper into a well-known brand.”

Dr. Silver also notes that, “the field of social enterprises is pretty new and evolving, and this is a fairly unusual project within the field. This certainly stretched [the team].”

Read the full article at The Daily Cal.

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