Change Generation: Compass Partners Can Help College Students Become Social Entrepreneurs

In the latest installment of our video series on risk-taking, do-gooding young entrepreneurs, we talk to Neil Shah and Arthur Woods. The pair met at Georgetown University–and both had failed social businesses. They worked together to create a program and community for college students that want to be social entrepreneurs. “This is the best time to fail at something,” said Woods. Now in five universities, Compass Partners wants to help students do the best thing for a social entrepreneur, according to Shah, “Find a group of mentors and a community to part of.”


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About Neil Shah and Arthur Woods: During their freshman year at Georgetown University, Neil Shah was starting a fair trade tea company while Arthur Woods was founding a farmer’s market delivery service. Neil’s venture aimed to create hope and prosperity for fair trade tea farmers in El Salvador. Arthur’s aspired to boost the local economy by supporting family farmers in the Mid-Atlantic. Both students had a passion to use business as an agent for social change. They discovered, however, that the social component of business was a mere afterthought in their college education. The two faced significant uphill battles in attaining institutional support for their social businesses, and neither could identify an established community to strengthen their efforts. Both businesses ultimately failed. Neil and Arthur walked away from this experience with the vision of a strong support community for student social entrepreneurs. This vision sparked the creation of the Compass Fellowship program.

About Compass Partners: Compass Partners provides resources, training and a vibrant support network to students with innovative ideas to change the world through business. They offer campus-based social entrepreneurial incubators and training programs that employ creative methods of education and make a deep investment in each student. The main program, the Compass Fellowship exposes 15 college freshmen at each university to the world of social entrepreneurship through an intensive personal development and social business training program. The Compass Fellowship currently runs at five universities and is now expanding nationally.

Change Generation

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