A photo of a building owned by Columbia University.

Columbia University, located in New York, NY.
Photo credit: Drop of Light / Shutterstock

The Tamer Center for Social Enterprise (part of the Columbia School of Business) is gearing up to host its annual Social Enterprise Conference this Friday. The conference will focus on how to address environmental and social concerns from a business standpoint. Several Fortune 500 companies will be participating in the event, including Microsoft, IBM, Propel, Vizalytics Technology, and Neighborly.

As one of only eight Ivy League schools in the nation, the Columbia School of Business is known for its long list of successful alumni, including KKR cofounder Henry R Kravis. Other distinguished alumni include Kevin Burke—president, chairman, and CEO of Consolidated Edison—and Michael Jeffries, who was the chief executive of Abercrombie and Fitch before retiring in late 2014.

The Social Enterprise Conference is a one-day event that will kickoff at 8:45 am and continue until 5 pm. Several prominent figures will be attending the event, including the following featured speakers:

  • Jimmy Chen: Chief Executive Officer at Propel
  • John Paul Farmer: Director of Technology and Civic Innovation at Microsoft
  • Jenny Fielding: Managing Director of Techstars
  • Anthony Fox: Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation
  • Aileen Gemma Smith: Chief Executive Officer at Vizalytics Technology
  • Sophia Tu: Senior Manager of IBM Corporate Citizenship
  • Bruce Usher: Co-Director of the Tamer Center for Global Enterprise at Columbia Business School
  • Jase Wilson: Chief Executive Officer at Neighborly

Professor Ray Horton, who founded the Social Enterprise Program back in 1981, believes that business leaders and young entrepreneurs have a moral obligation to give back to the community. In his founder’s message on the Tamer Center website, he writes:

“We describe social enterprise as the application of business methods to the solution of social problems. We believe that the tools of private enterprise, prudently applied, can generate social and environmental benefits, and by extension, that well-trained MBAs can make the world better as well as richer.”

For those who are unable to attend the conference, a live-streamed video recording of the event can be viewed here.