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Lofty Ideals

Smart and socially conscious students build businesses with high standards.

This story appears in the June 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Do you want to be socially responsible? Think about starting a business. Whether it's for-profit or nonprofit, you can harness all your youthful idealism and focus your socially responsible efforts with a business venture. "Social entrepreneurship is really about finding innovative approaches and solutions to some of society's most pressing needs, problems and opportunities," says Beth Battle Anderson, managing director at Duke University's Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship. If you're a graduate or an undergraduate, this could be just the right time for you to find your altruistic entrepreneurial calling.

College was the right time for Matthew Gutschick and Ben Whiting, both 22, founders of the nonprofit MagicMouth Productions in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Coming up with the idea in late 2004 and fine-tuning it throughout 2005, the pair wanted to create a forum for performing and teaching theater and magic to young people. They had their first show this year. Gutschick and Whiting, both 2006 graduates of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, studied theater (Gutschick also studied communications). Some of their theater professors helped the pair make contact with the office of entrepreneurship at WFU. "We decided to go nonprofit because it gave us a larger measure of credibility and authenticity," says Gutschick.

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