Twenty miles (32 kilometers) west of London sprawl the grounds and fortifications of Windsor Castle. This was first constructed almost a millennia ago by William the Conqueror after he crossed the channel from France and scored a victory against Anglo-Saxon King Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings. The purpose and form of the castle have evolved over time to house royalty as well as prisoners (including King John II, Margaret of Anjou, as well as prisoners from the 14th century Battle of Poitiers) and diplomatic guests (the Holy Roman Emperor and his sizable entourage, in 1417). This 13-acre (5 hectare) castle was strategically located to take advantage of natural features, being placed between the River Thames to the north and Windsor Forest on the south.
Soaked with a history of diplomacy and international influence, the castle made a fitting recent venue for The Ariane de Rothschild Fellowship, where 20 social entrepreneurs from Europe and North America gathered for an intense program (between July 29th and August 1st) that blended business skills with social sciences. Participants pitted their wits and experiences collaboratively, collected fresh business skills and learned about broader issues such as migration as well as social and gender inequalities.
The creators of this fellowship believe in an urgent need to bring innovation to cross-cultural dialogs. They believe that a business mindset can be of value to build tangible impacts and that there are exciting opportunities for entrepreneurs to be exposed to frameworks offered by social sciences.
According to Gregory Dees of the Duke University Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative, social entrepreneurship ‘combines the passion of a social mission with an image of business-like discipline, innovation and determination…’ while the Swiss based Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship defines such entrepreneurs as those who ‘drive social innovation and transformation in various fields including education, health, environment and enterprise development.’