Dr. Cyrus Patten on How Business and Social Entrepreneurship Can Be a Force for Positive Change

A Q&A with Dr. Cyrus Patten

Dr. Cyrus Patten, Stiller School of Business Assistant Dean and Assistant Professor, works to improve the world in everything he does. Whether he’s teaching classes like Business & The Entrepreneurial Mindset and Corporate Social Responsibility, or helping local businesses with the Small Business Recovery Program, Dr. Patten puts his all into making change in the world. Recently we asked him some questions about his focus on social entrepreneurship, doing business for good, and advice he would give to future Champlain students.

You have a background in business, entrepreneurship, and social work. How do those different fields come together in your work and in your teaching?

My focus is on social entrepreneurship—the intersection between entrepreneurship and making the world a better place. At Champlain, I bring these two fields together by studying, teaching, and developing programs that help business generate positive change.

What do you like about teaching in your major/division? 

I love how the entire Stiller School embraces the idea that business can be a force for good. Most business schools ignore this idea and just graduate moneymakers. At Champlain, we really believe business can make the world a better place—we believe this to our core.

At Champlain, we really believe business can make the world a better place—we believe this to our core.

Dr. Cyrus Patten, Assistant Professor, Robert P. Stiller School of Business // Assistant Dean

The Stiller School of Business has a focus on business for good. What does that mean to you? How can we take business and entrepreneurial expertise and apply it to do good in the world?

I believe that business is a critical part of the solution for most complex issues we face today. I ask my students: what would happen if someone figured out how to make solving hunger profitable? The answer is invariably: there would be no hunger. Apply that same framework to any social, environmental, or economic issue that is important to you, and you have Business for Good.

What do you like about Burlington?

I love the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Burlington. It is so easy to meet people who want to solve a problem or help someone. Some of the coolest businesses have been started here by some very impressive and dynamic entrepreneurs.

Are there any projects that you are currently involved with that you would like to talk about?

I recently secured a grant from the Agency of Commerce and Community Development to help small businesses that have been affected by the pandemic adapt to the covid economy. I’m proud of the impact this has already had on local businesses. [Learn more about how Professor Patten and others at Champlain are helping the community in Champlain College Joins State Efforts to Save Small Businesses!]

What advice do you have for students thinking about coming to Champlain?

A mentor of mine had a mantra: “Move fast and break things.” He was talking about breaking injustice and oppression, but the statement applies here as well. My advice to students thinking about coming here is to do so if you want to break things and rebuild them better. Come to Champlain ready to change the way the world thinks about something.

Want to join Professor Patten in generating positive change? Champlain’s Stiller School of Business is the perfect place to start!

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