Westminster Opens Incubator for Socially Responsible Businesses

Westminster Students Participating in Social Impact Incubator

Aug 29, 2017

College creates Social Impact Incubator to attract and mentor entrepreneurs who want to give back

SALT LAKE CITY – Westminster College announces the launch of its Social Impact Incubator, which provides mentoring, advising and access to resources for up to 15 student- and community-run companies with a philanthropic twist.

The incubator will officially open August 30, and is housed at 1963 South 1200 East, a space that was provided by alumnus Ned Skanchy, president of Urban Hive Properties.

“Westminster College recognizes that taking a business idea from concept to success can be a long and unpredictable process,” said Karin Palle, Westminster’s director for the Center for Entrepreneurship. “We’ve established a Social Impact Incubator to help nourish social enterprises during the formative months and years and provide entrepreneurs with resources to become successful.”

The incubator will provide its clients with the following services for a duration of five years:

  • Professional co-working and conference space for up to seven businesses
  • Business and industry mentors
  • Networking opportunities
  • Entrepreneurial educational opportunities
  • Introductions to potential impact investors and seed money

Currently, the Social Impact Incubator currently has two clients: John Lauti (M.Ed. ’17) and current finance major, Bradley Hook.

Lauti’s company, IKUNA, will provide academic advising, mentoring and consulting services to underserved and underrepresented students, as well as offer lifestyle-branded apparel and accessories to fuel their social impact efforts.

“We aim to work with students between the ninth and twelfth grades, with a focus on Pacific Islanders and their pathway to higher education and career opportunities,” said Lauti, who is a Pacific Islander. “Being accepted into the Social Impact Incubator will be a great opportunity to work on moving my ideas toward a real and sustainable business model. I look forward to learning from my mentors, accessing valuable resources and more importantly, making a positive impact in regard to education in the communities we will serve.”

Hook’s company, Social Impact Consulting, will assist nonprofit businesses, B Corporations and for-profit companies with a broad range of services to help them grow and become socially responsible.

“In many instances, I will act as an executive in their organization and take an equity position rather than cash — and will make sure their organization is successful,” Hook said.

Hook ultimately hopes to structure his business to include other Westminster students.

“I wanted to create a majority student-run consulting firm, where as we grow and have profits, the goal will be to pay students a living wage and to give them equity options in the company,” he said.

The Westminster Social Impact Incubator model is based on a monthly membership and revenue model, where businesses will be required to sign a contract and pay a monthly fee. Incubated companies are also required to sign a royalty contract which obligates the owner to pay up to 2% of their revenue for up to five years of incubation, but not to exceed $50,000.

“The incubator’s goal is to encourage students to take their passions and create businesses that will make a positive social impact and launch a meaningful life,” added Palle. “I am excited to introduce the incubator to students in all disciplines because I truly believe we can guide them to be change-makers in our community and the world around them.”

Westminster’s Social Impact Incubator received initial funding through Intuitive Funding.

Learn more about the incubator

Media Contacts

Krista DeAngelis and Arikka Von

About Westminster

Westminster is a private, independent, and comprehensive college in Salt Lake City, Utah. Students experience the liberal arts blended with professional programs in an atmosphere dedicated to civic engagement. With the goal of enabling its graduates to live vibrant, just, and successful lives, Westminster provides transformational learning experiences for both undergraduate and graduate students in a truly student-centered environment. Faculty focus on teaching, learning, and developing distinctive, innovative programs, while students thrive on Westminster’s urban Sugar House campus within minutes of the Rocky Mountains.

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