SOURCE: Pepperdine Graduate School of Education and Psychology

June 13, 2017 13:30 ET

Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) Hosts Social Enterprise Fast Pitch Competition in Marina Del Rey

Students Pitch Plans for New Enterprises to Address Complex Social Challenges to Panel of Distinguished Corporate CEOs, Entrepreneurs and Federal Policymakers

MARINA DEL REY, CA--(Marketwired - June 13, 2017) - Described as a "Shark Tank" competition for social good, graduating students in the Social Entrepreneurship and Change master's program at GSEP came together April 8th at the Marina del Rey Hotel to pitch their plans for new social enterprises to a group of experts selected for their own distinguished contributions to the Los Angeles community and the world at large. Featured judges were William Isaac McCoy, a former President Barack Obama appointee and Senior Advisor for Policy Development of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency, and Jennifer Kushell, CEO and founder of Young & Successful Media and YSN.com.

The group of 18 GSEP graduate student presenters brought plans for businesses ranging from Coffee Paws, a coffee shop with an adjacent, indoor dog lounge where patrons could play with and consider adopting dogs from a nearby shelter, to Washindi Academy, an alternative high school with an Afrocentric curriculum for children living in impoverished communities, beginning with ninth grade in Fall, 2017 and adding another grade level each year for the next three years.

Other pitches included ones for Red Rainbow, an organization to work with African American churches to eradicate HIV-related stigmas that traumatize black gay and bisexual men with the use of seminars, workshops interactive experiences and other customized strategies, and the Cambodian Agricultural Training Institute, a group of training centers to provide education and marketing for farmers growing cacao and other crops in rural Cambodia.

"We extend our sincere thanks to the SEC Advisory Board for supporting the SEC Fast Pitch with their time, talent, and treasure," says Dr. Kirnon, visiting GSEP professor and director of the graduate school's Social Entrepreneurship and Change program. "We were also blessed by the caliber of our judges, including first-time finals judges, Issac McCoy and Jennifer Kushell, as well as our sponsors Watt Companies, Habitat for Humanity, Citizen E, and the Guillens. Ultimately, it all comes down to the students: they do the hard work and live through the trepidation. Watching them celebrate after the Fast Pitch is a true highlight for us knowing, that they will positively change the world."

The Fast Pitch competition is one of multiple opportunities offered to students in the Social Entrepreneurship and Change program at Pepperdine's GSEP. Launched as a master of arts degree in 2010, its stated mission is to lead sustainable, societal transformation in individuals, communities, and nations worldwide. As social entrepreneurs, students in the program are trained in generating realistic solutions to pressing social problems, while searching for root causes and creating enduring value for the communities they serve. Central to the program is the belief and understanding that real change begins from within the person as well as the community. Offered as a 40-unit degree, the program is an online hybrid designed to be completed in 20 months, over five terms.

About Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology

The Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) is an innovative learning community where faculty, staff, and students of diverse cultures and perspectives work collaboratively to foster academic excellence, social purpose, meaningful service, and personal fulfillment. GSEP offers eleven master's degree programs and five doctoral programs for working professionals across five locations throughout Los Angeles, Orange, and Ventura Counties. GSEP endeavors to educate and motivate students to assume leadership roles in professions that improve and enrich the lives of individuals, families, and communities. Follow GSEP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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