PSU Impact Entrepreneurs

We’re very excited to partner with Portland State University (PSU)’s Impact Entrepreneurs, the #1 small MBA program in the World by the Aspen Institute’s Beyond Grey Pinstripes report for preparing MBAs for social and environmental stewardship. Impact Entrepreneurs will help develop replication materials for DePaul in order to document our ‘special sauce’ and allow other organizations to leverage and scale our market-driven model of employing people with disabilities.

We’ve come a long way from our founding as a traditional, localized nonprofit since our founding in 1971. Our integrated business approach is why we need to document our strategy and tactics for future benefit. Turns out we’re a perfect fit for the Impact Entrepreneurs program at PSU.

“Developing a system for replicating DePaul Industries’ proven model for generating jobs and income for the disabled has enormous impact potential across the nation and perhaps worldwide,” said Carolyn McKnight, Executive Director of Impact Entrepreneurs. “It’s a joy to partner with DePaul Industries to scale collective impact and provide an aspirational future for some of our most vulnerable.”

Founded in PSU’s School of Business Administration, Impact Entrepreneurs provides tailored training and consulting to inspire, incubate and accelerate business-based approaches for generating social impact. Impact Entrepreneurs will assist us in strategically scaling our integrated social enterprise model by developing instructional materials to enable other organizations to leverage best practices we’ve cultivated over the past 40 years.

“DePaul’s partnership with Impact Entrepreneurs has the ability to raise the profile of this method to employ a significant portion of people with disabilities, the nation’s largest minority group,” said our CEO, Dave Shaffer. ”We’re thrilled to be combining forces with the experts here at home in Portland to help expand our mission and model nationwide.”

Last year, we employed over 2,000 people with disabilities and generated earned revenue of over $30 million through Clerical & Light Industrial Staffing, Security Services, and Food Packaging & Contract Manufacturing. We’re aiming to significantly increase both earned revenue and employment of people with disabilities over the next couple of years, and with that goal of scaling our model comes the need to document it.

Impact Entrepreneurs offer an interrelated set of educational programs designed to unleash the power of business for social impact. They’ve worked with clients like Digital Divide Data, Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers, and Mercy Corps, as well as startups such as EcoZoom and My Street Grocery. We’re excited to see how they can take us to the next level.

Stay tuned for more great information about the partnership!