Fostering Social Entrepreneurship
FREE's social entrepreneurship program is designed to explore new institutions and innovative public policies that promote social well-being and environmental progress. Entrepreneurship motivated by profit has received wide media and academic attention. But newer forms of social entrepreneurship are evident, especially in the rapidly changing West. Not-for-profit entrepreneurs offer some of the best thinking and best practices in the U.S.
Bozeman is a remarkably fruitful place for social and environmental entrepreneurs. This success surely is fostered by the high quality of human capital drawn to this university town, located in the amenity rich Greater Yellowstone region. Hence, Bozeman is a rich laboratory for studying —and indeed implementing— social entrepreneurship. FREE actively pursues entrepreneurship, in both its intellectual and practical dimensions.
FREE helped found and provide initial funding for Warriors & Quiet Waters, an organization that aids the recovery of severely wounded men and women from America’s armed forces. The genesis of WQW was published in a December 27th, 2006Bozeman Daily Chronicle column by John Baden. WQW brings wounded warriors to Montana for a six-day program during which they have the opportunity to relax and learn to fly fish in the quiet and beautiful surroundings of Montana and neighboring Yellowstone Park. Please check out their website, and watch the 16 minute video, “The Journey Home.”
Other successful organizations driven by social entrepreneurship in Bozeman includeEagle Mount and the Cancer Support Community Montana. Each of these organizations has offered fly-fishing programs on the private ranch owned by FREE’s founders, John Baden and Ramona Marotz-Baden. FREE colleagues have contributed to these efforts and public service is central to FREE’s work.
Once the template for social entrepreneurship is built, tested, and proven, it is relatively easy to replicate. Such organizations are, by definition, location specific. The successful social entrepreneur will recognize local attributes and capitalize on them. As governmental budgets at all levels are increasingly stressed, social entrepreneurship will become more important in the natural and human arenas. Bozeman is an excellent place to study and practice it.