The Changemaker Institute (CI) supports budding social entrepreneurs who are interested in building a business or program with social or environmental impact.
Changemakers (n) – People who use their skills, expertise, gifts, and power in a way that creates positive social change and affirms the humanity of all people.
About the Changemaker Institute (CI)
The Changemaker Institute (CI) is a semester-long program that supports graduate students and exceptional undergraduate students in building a business with social or environmental impact. Over the Spring ’24 semester, CI Fellows meet weekly, in person, for two hours (12-2 pm on Wednesdays). Our alums describe the program as a “laid back accelerator” and “a family to nurture your ideas.” At the close of the program, Fellows share their ventures and their learnings in a public community showcase and receive actionable resources and feedback.
Starting a business is hard and can be very isolating. Our program unites students across Tulane who are working on a social impact business idea and provides a curriculum, framework and community to nurture ideas and provide and receive feedback and support.
CI Fellows are either founders of their own social impact venture (such as a non-profit, program, student-run organization, or business) OR are innovators building new capacity within an existing organization.
Most CI Fellows are Graduate and Professional Students across Tulane. We occasionally accept exceptional undergraduate students who have a strong understanding of the social issue they are seeking to address.
We strongly encourage team ventures, but solo participants are accepted.
We meet from 12-2 PM every Wednesday in the Spring semester (1/17-4/24) at Propeller (4035 Washington Avenue), a nonprofit organization in New Orleans that grows and supports entrepreneurs to tackle social and environmental disparities. We see CI as a “mini Propeller” and many CI alums have gone on to become Fellows at Propeller. CI Fellows are responsible for their own transportation and arrive via car, carpool, bike, public transportation, or a Tulane shuttle for transportation (it is about an eight minute drive from both Tulane’s uptown and downtown campuses). Lunch is provided each week.
We lead CI Fellows through a process that supports them to develop, research, test, and refine their idea for a business or program with social or environmental impact. See draft schedule below.
During our weekly meetings, CI Fellows gain:
- A warm, supportive, inclusive and adaptive environment to nurture your idea
- Business development skills via design thinking and lean canvas methodology
- Mentorship from Tulane and New Orleans’ social entrepreneurial communities
- A framework and process to deepen their understanding of social issues skills
- Preparation for applying to funding opportunities at Tulane and beyond
- Introductions to guest experts, field mentors and access to a network of changemakers within and beyond New Orleans
- A community of “like-hearted” student changemakers striving to create positive change
Changemaker Institute Reflections
CI Alums on the Changemaker Institute Experience
The draft schedule is below. If you are considering applying to CI, please review this schedule to see if these topics would be useful to you prior to submitting your application.
Please note each workshop is two hours long and workshop topics and dates are subject to change.
Nov 29 CI Orientation Meeting
Jan 17 Design Research Analysis & Synthesis; Value Proposition
Jan 24 Building your Lean Canvas & Testing Assumptions
Jan 31 Building a Prototype & Cohort Feedback
Feb 7 Mission & Vision
Feb 14 Mardi Gras Break
Feb 21 Funding Your Venture
Feb 28 Prototype Debrief @ Salon22
March 6 Selecting Your Business Entity Classification/Q&A with an Attorney
March 13 Branding & Marketing
March 20 Building a Board
March 27 Spring Break
April 3 Crafting your pitch
April 10 Showcase Dress Rehearsal
April 17 CI Showcase
April 24 Debrief/Synthesis & Resources moving forward
Changemaker Institute News
Access our Curriculum
Check out our 2020 Changemaker Institute Curriculum for a comprehensive view of a curriculum designed to supports graduate students interested in developing ethical, sustainable, and viable social enterprises. We wrote this for:
- A budding social entrepreneur interested in building out your idea but unsure about where to start.
- An educator interested in running a social venture accelerator and interested in comparing curriculums.
- A social entrepreneur interested in becoming a paid speaker or volunteer mentor with our program.
- The Changemaker Institute programming offers access to funding for impact-related activities through Tulane-based grants as well as other advanced opportunities in social impact beyond campus.
- All participants of the Taylor Changemaker Institute are eligible and coached to apply for the following funding opportunities:
The Alvarez Spark Innovation Award offers up to $2,500 to pursue a social venture idea by prototyping or testing a component of an idea.
The Changemaker Catalylst Award offers up to $1500 to participate in an engaged learning experience.
Changemaker Institute Alumni
- Trash to Treasure seeks to create a revolving sustainable fund for outreach project in New Orleans. T2T deliver this by collecting and selling dorm room necessities thrown away by Tulane students during move out. Their profits fund subsequent sales as well as further sustainable ventures.
- SHRI (formerly Humanure Power) works to eradicate outdoor defecation as a normal practice for hundreds of millions of villagers in rural India by building community toilet blocks. These toilets leverage proven and existing technology that convert human waste in to energy that can be sold, generating a revenue stream that helps further their mission of building more toilets.
- Radical Grandma Collective is a nonprofit online store that creates a platform for women to support other women in environmental justice work.
- STEM Library Lab is a science equipment lending library that fosters academic success by providing teachers and students with access to equipment and support for high-quality active learning.
- Fund 17 is a Louisiana registered non-profit that works to empower micro-entrepreneurs in the New Orleans community. Fund 17 does this by providing financial education and micro-loans.
- Network Volunteers (formerly Crescent City Connections or “CCC”) promotes and facilitates customized volunteer and cultural activities for visitors and residents in New Orleans to better connect people with community organizations in the city.
- Top Box Foods Makes high-quality nutritious food (lean meats, fish and fresh produce) available at extremely affordable prices. The non-profit uses volunteers to deliver food, focusing on areas identified as food deserts.
The Changemaker Institute (CI) graduate assistant works with staff to develop, organize, promote, and execute Taylor’s social venture accelerator program.