Social Enterprise 2013 Summer Internship Experiences

Name: Cody Fischer

Organization: Civic Consulting Alliance, Chicago

The Civic Consulting Alliance (CCA) is a partnership between the City of Chicago and the Chicago business community that transforms how the city works by finding workable and enduring ways to make Chicago more livable, affordable, and globally competitive. CCA does this by building teams of staff and business experts that undertake high-impact pro-bono work that government agencies neither have the capacity, time, nor expertise to address.

As a Summer Civic Fellow I joined a team working with Choose Chicago, the City’s destination marketing organization, to develop Chicago’s first cultural tourism brand and marketing strategy. Chicago has a goal of welcoming 50 million annual visitors by 2020, which will have an annual economic impact of $14-$15 billion. When it comes to cultural tourism – the largest and most lucrative leisure travel segment – Chicago lags in market share compared to peer cities. I conducted competitor and market analyses to prioritize opportunities for promoting Chicago and ensure maximum return on Chicago’s marketing investments. My project helped form the basis of a new marketing strategy that will increase the number of visitors and visitor spending in the city, resulting in additional revenue for businesses and generating jobs.

My experience at the Civic Consulting Alliance was a unique opportunity to leverage my nonprofit and public sector background, apply the analytical tools and frameworks I gained in my first year at Kellogg for social impact, and work alongside some of Chicago’s best and brightest public, private and nonprofit leaders.

Name: Travis Granger

Organization: The Cara Program

The Cara Program is a local non-profit that provides job training and placement services for the long term unemployed here in Chicago. In addition to traditional NPO funding sources, the organization also has taken a leading role in developing self-sustaining social enterprises to not only help fund its mission but to also provide the transitional job opportunities on which its program relies. As an aspiring entrepreneur looking to start a for-profit mission based firm, this was a very exciting opportunity as I was able to witness the natural dichotomy of mission vs. profit in real world businesses.

As TCP’s Social Enterprise Intern, I spent the last summer reviewing the organization’s and its subsidiaries’ operations and worked with senior management to evaluate its pipeline of business ideas. While the Social Enterprise Committee had come up with a wide range of really intriguing business ideas, it was important that the organization’s next social venture not jeopardize its operational activities or put the firm at financial risk. We ultimately decided to pursue a book recycling and re-sale program that would enable it to leverage the existing assets of its flagship social enterprise, Cleanslate Chicago. I spent the latter half of the summer following the Lean Start-up methodology and the business model canvas framework to help validate the feasibility of this business here in Chicago. It was an excellent opportunity to put the concepts I’d learned during my first year at Kellogg into practice.

Once we had proven our ability to get the product (~40,000 books in 5 weeks), we then shifted our focus to hiring my replacement. As much as I wanted to continue building the business, it became clear that this venture would die once my internship ended if I didn’t start the succession planning process. I’m pleased to say that ChapterTwo is still operational and is continuing to follow the business model and project roadmap I developed over the summer. While my internship ended in August, I continue to be very much involved with this project and look forward to helping this start-up venture continue to test its hypotheses.

Name: Tanya Pramatarova

Organization: Education Pioneers, Chicago

I spent my summer internship as an Education Pioneers (EP) Fellow in Chicago. I chose EP because I wanted to begin the pursuit of my long-term career goals in the education space by building a strong network of current and future professionals in the field, while applying the knowledge and skills gained through past experiences to positively impact students. I spent the bulk of my time working at my placement organization and from time to time, attended full-day professional development workshops with the 30 other Chicago fellows to learn about current issues in urban education reform with a particular focus on the City of Chicago.

I really enjoyed my role at my placement organization, Bellwether Education Partners, a non-profit that provides a combination of exceptional thinking, talent, and hands-on strategic support to educational organizations to help them increase their impact. As an EP Fellow, I served on a 4-person consulting team that shaped the 5-year strategic plan for a school network focused on global competence. I used my analytical training and strategy consulting experience to help the organization craft its future service model that will enable it to deliver on its core mission of developing college and career ready, globally competent high school graduates. This was the perfect role for me as it allowed me to marry my passion for consulting and problem solving with my deep interest and commitment to education. It also gave me an opportunity to test and confirm that the education sector is indeed the space where I would like to build my long-term career post Kellogg.