Forging a Path to Inclusive Entrepreneurship
Alyssa Gill ’15
Alyssa was part of the social entrepreneurship program as an undergrad at Penn State. She was always drawn to the social impact space, but grew up believing that only through working in government could she be an agent of social change. As part of an affordable greenhouse project through her school, Alyssa had the chance to travel to Sierra Leone for three weeks to do research on maternal and infant nutrition conditions, to see if the greenhouses they were selling were a good market fit. Through this experience, Alyssa realized that businesses could be best suited to make lasting impact in the world and she began considering entrepreneurship as her path after graduation.
Developing Tools for the Future
Venture for America’s mission to revitalize cities through entrepreneurship really resonated with Alyssa. She saw the VFA model as the perfect example of a way to use business for good and she desired to build a network in a city where she could feel like a big fish in a small pond. She hoped that through VFA, she could develop the tools she would need to start her own social enterprise down the road.
The Perfect Match
During the VFA Match process, NAATE, a program designed to create whole school change through School Leader and Teacher Leader learning and development, and dedicated to closing the achievement gap in our nation’s high-needs schools, reached out to Alyssa. NAATE was interested in Alyssa’s fundraising experience and NAATE checked off all of the boxes Alyssa required in a company: access to mentorship, a great team, and a strong mission. It was the perfect match! After accepting NAATE’s offer, Alyssa began her Fellowship in Providence.
What I’ve learned is that business is about how to build and maintain relationships.
Growing into a Founder
Alyssa is passionate about inclusive entrepreneurship. She keeps this passion at the forefront of her mind as she continues to the build skills she will need to start her own socially-minded business, and begins ideating about what problems she can solve through business. She’ll be able to tap into the VFA network whenever she is ready to get started.