Social Entrepreneurship Fellows Gain Valuable Real-world Experience
by Victoria Shelton
Samford students Will Keene and Callan Kreidel have been awarded Social Entrepreneurship Fellowships by Brock School of Business’ social entrepreneurship program. These competitive fellowships will enhance their internship experience as they pursue careers in the areas of nonprofit management or socially oriented business.
According to social entrepreneurship program coordinator Jeremy Thornton, this experience is part of a comprehensive degree program designed to give the next generation of business leaders the skills required to create a better world for tomorrow.
Keene, a senior entrepreneurship and marketing double major from Huntsville, Alabama, interned with Magic City Woodworks in the fall as part of his fellowship. This nonprofit located in downtown Birmingham helps young men learn small-business skills and grow in their faith through woodworking.
As someone who hopes to eventually start a business in his community that allows him to share his faith in the workplace, Keene was immediately drawn to Magic City Woodworks.
“We take guys who may be unemployed or have idleness in their lives, and give them the opportunity for a one-year paid apprenticeship, which allows them to learn a trade,” said Keene. “At the end of that apprenticeship, we let them graduate and place them in a job in the trade industry.”
However, the thing that drew Keene to Magic City Woodworks was its ministry program.
“We disciple to them every day and always start with a devotional. We like to work on the heart issue before we can work on the hand issue,” said Keene.
Some of the tasks Keene was responsible for included the buying and purchasing of all Magic City Woodworks apparel, as well as featuring merchandise on the organization’s website to raise money for their company’s mission.
“I had a great experience this fall at Magic City Woodworks. I was able to gain a lot of knowledge and experience in fundraising as well as donor management, which is very impressive for somebody my age,” said Keene. “I am very excited to announce that I have accepted a job with them after graduation and cannot wait to continue pursuing a career there.”
Kreidel, a junior management major from Franklin, Tennessee, is interning this spring with Heart Gallery Alabama, a local nonprofit that works to place children from the foster care system into families.
This organization is especially meaningful to Kreidel as her younger brother is adopted, which initially sparked her interest in the orphan crisis and its global significance.
“I am excited to learn more about the local orphan crisis and what is being done to alleviate the need,” said Kreidel. “The people who work at Heart Gallery are very knowledgeable about nonprofits, social work and the foster care system, and I hope to gain a better understanding of the industry to better prepare me for one day managing a nonprofit myself.”
While Kreidel is excited for this unique opportunity, it exposes her to the daunting and complex social problems that surround many nonprofits, businesses and government agencies today.
“The more I have been at my internship, the more I have learned about these kids and the direness of their situation,” said Kreidel. “The need is very big, and it feels like the people involved are very few.”
The social entrepreneurship program turns business students into passionate, sophisticated and technically competent entrepreneurs willing to think creatively and operate effectively to combat problems such as this.
“I am thankful for the fellowship program because it has given me the chance to gain experience in a sector that I otherwise would not have been able to,” said Kreidel.
Victoria Shelton is a journalism and mass communication major and a news and feature writer for Brock School of Business.
ABOUT SAMFORD UNIVERSITY -- Samford University is a premier nationally ranked private university deeply rooted in its Christian mission. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th oldest institution of higher education in the United States. U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 3rd among regional universities in the South. Samford enrolls 5,509 students from 45 states, the District of Columbia and 29 other countries in its 10 academic units: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy, and public health. Samford also fields 17 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference.