An Active Landscape for Ethical Entrepreneurship Education
Entrepreneurship education is changing. The Omidyar Network, Ethics in Entrepreneurship, Zebras Unite and Stanford Innovation Lab proactively advocate ethics in entrepreneurship and offer some good practices of integrating ethics into entrepreneurship education. Even though they have different focuses, they all provide guidance to envision ethical challenges and build communities to empower ethical entrepreneurship. The NYU Entrepreneurial Institute is also developing materials to help young entrepreneurs to consider ethical risks from day one. By strengthening connections with people and organizations who have relevant experiences and insights, the Institute can foster a powerful network for ethical entrepreneurship.
The Tech and Society Solutions Lab of the Omidyar Network collaborates with ten institutes in creating practical principles, frameworks, and solutions to help tech entrepreneurs prevent, mitigate and correct negative social impacts of technology. For example, the Ethical Operating System (Ethical OS), co-created by the Lab and the Institute for the Future, provides guidance to tech professionals to envision risks and ethical challenges during the entrepreneurship journey. The Global Data Ethical Project of Data for Democracy, also founded by the Lab, promotes Five FORTS Framework and a set Global Data Ethics Principles for responsible data usage.
Ethics in Entrepreneurship is a newly-launched nonprofit with the mission of helping tech entrepreneurs to recognize and consider ethical risks and problems. It connects students and organizations with reputable speakers who can speak about the current and potential ethical challenges facing technology entrepreneurs. Its toolkit for early-stage entrepreneurs presents the ethical challenges anticipated at the different stages of the start-up. Its workshops cover the topics of sexual harassment, technology & healthcare, angel investing due diligence. It will also offer consulting services for entrepreneurs, employees, investors and other communities.
Stanford eCorner is an online repertoire of useful content supporting entrepreneurship and thoughtful innovation. Even though it covers multiple areas of entrepreneurship, rich materials on ethics in entrepreneurship are available on the website. The faculty and researchers of Standford University and the entrepreneurs from multiple industries share their ideas and experiences on the topic via videos, articles and blog posts. Resources previously scattered in different schools and institutes are assembled on eCorner, so that it works as a virtual community connecting people supporting ethical entrepreneurship.
An independent think tank exploring how technology is changing society. Their views align well with the fundamental goals of the NYU initiative. Our goal is to develop an approach to venture formation that includes social benefit considerations as a fundamental aspect of any organization’s cultural DNA. "Doteveryone wants Responsible Technology to be the new normal so that it’s standard practice for business, baked into policymaking and expected by society." Their ultimate objective is to show what responsible technology can look like. By helping to inform policy makers and the public, they are giving greater voice to help shape technology to serve people better.
Zebras Unite is an online community of entrepreneurs, investors, and allies calling for a change in current startup and venture capital culture. It promotes an alternative business model for startups which balances both profit and purpose. In the community, members can learn from like-minded individuals, and pool resources and best practices to collectively build a new model for inclusive and ethical entrepreneurship.
The Institute is embracing the trend of entrepreneurship education and seeking ways to raise the awareness of ethical challenges in young entrepreneurs at the early stages of venture formation.
Ethical Entrepreneurship requires new ventures to intentionally develop a values-based organizational culture
During Phase 2 of the Capstone project, the Institute and the NYU Wagner Capstone Team identified four key focuses areas of ethical entrepreneurship for startups - Truthiness & Transparency, Organizational Structure & Culture, Core Value Alignment, and Partnership Alignment. The Capstone Team created an initial set of tools the Institute can begin testing addressing these four critical areas. The tools also reflect the team’s findings on opportunity vetting, long-term growth, and value alignment, derived from 10 new interviews with seasoned entrepreneurs conducted since January.
In addition to understanding ethical challenges, ethical entrepreneurship requires new ventures to intentionally develop a values-based organizational culture. According to the team’s interviews and research, it is essential to clarify and communicate these core values within the startup’s organizational culture, so the Capstone Team believes that teams must undergo a process of internal values alignment. The Value Alignment Memo created by the Capstone team details steps for startups to identify and prioritize core values, integrate values into day-to-day practices, and translate values into actionable behaviors. With internal values clarified and aligned, the organization can establish a positive, aspirational, and socially responsible corporate culture.
Our goal is for social benefit considerations become a fundamental aspect of any organization’s cultural DNA
Through the work generated by the Capstone Team, the Institute has kicked off its journey of improving entrepreneurship education and coaching NYU young entrepreneurs to define and build ethically-run business. Following the conclusion of the Capstone project, the Institute will continue to reach out to potential partners with interests in integrating ethical entrepreneurship into startup communities. Also, the Institute may seek funding for further collaborative in-depth research, updated insights, and training programs on ethical entrepreneurship as it prepares to build on the foundation laid by the Capstone team this year.