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College of Humanities and Social Sciences News

USASBE Presents 2021 Excellence in Co-Curricular Innovation Award to NC State Social Innovation Fellows

The United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) announced North Carolina State University as the 2021 winner of the USASBE Excellence in Co-Curricular Innovation Award, one of the organization’s four Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education awards recognizing colleges’ and universities’ exceptional achievement in the field. The announcement was made January 8 as part of the USASBE 2021: Be Boldly Unscripted annual conference.

The USASBE Excellence in Co-Curricular Innovation Award celebrates the critical role of co-curricular programming in the overall entrepreneurship education ecosystem by encouraging and recognizing colleges and universities with innovative, co-curricular programs that demonstrate creativity, quality, sustainability, and impact. Recent winners include The Miller School of Entrepreneurship at East Carolina University (2020), Utah State University (2019), and the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic (2018).

This year’s winner, NC State Social Innovation Fellows, offers students a highly engaged and robust deep dive into community engagement, leadership skill development, venture coaching, and self-discovery. They are leading the charge to support and engage students who typically are underrepresented in traditional entrepreneurship spaces.

“The competition for the Excellence in Co-curricular Innovation Award is always stiff, but NC State’s Social Innovation Fellow program boldly takes on connecting students with social change through many interconnected parties and organizations,” says Bruce Teague, program awards chair for USASBE 2021.

“NC State is embracing the  guiding principles of entrepreneurship education – bold teaching, research and practice – in order to make an impact in the lives of their students and in the causes in which they are passionate,”says Julie Shields, CEO of USASBE.

Alisha Brice, program manager with NC State Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, shares further: “As a program within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Social Innovation Fellows offers a unique entry point to the university’s entrepreneurial community. We are intentional about how we create space for the many different populations of students on campus, especially those from the humanities, whose insights and ideas within the realm of ‘Think and Do Good’ serve to benefit students from all disciplines.”

“We are deeply honored to be selected for this award, and especially appreciate the value the judges placed on our efforts to recruit and engage females and students of color. It is certainly true at NC State that our students want to apply their entrepreneurial skills and aspirations to do good in the world! The Social Innovation Fellows offers an opportunity for deep exploration of the tools and practices to become change leaders. Thank you USASBE for this wonderful recognition,” says Elizabeth Benefield, NC State Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s program director.

Founded in 1981, the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) is an inclusive community of educators, researchers, and entrepreneurs advancing entrepreneurship education through bold teaching, scholarship, and practice. Membership is open to all, as is attendance at USASBE’s hallmark annual conference. USASBE also publishes a peer-reviewed academic journal, Entrepreneurship Education & Pedagogy, and develops a variety of helpful resources and professional development opportunities for entrepreneurship educators as they create a positive impact. For more information, visit the USASBE website at or contact USASBE CEO Julienne Shields at