PSU's Impact Entrepreneurs Partner with Social Enterprise DePaul Industries

July 27, 2012 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
PORTLAND, OR July 27, 2012: Business-driven Portland-based nonprofit DePaul Industries is partnering with Portland State University's (PSU) Impact Entrepreneurs to develop replication materials for its unique social enterprise methodology. These materials will allow other organizations to leverage and scale DePaul's market-driven model of employing people with disabilities.

Focused on transforming the landscape of employment for people with disabilities, DePaul Industries has evolved from a traditional, localized nonprofit since its founding in 1971 to an integrated social enterprise focused on solving business problems while simultaneously enacting social change. This unique business approach is why the nonprofit needs to document its strategy and tactics for future benefit, and what makes DePaul Industries a perfect fit for the Impact Entrepreneurs program at PSU.

"Developing a system for replicating DePaul Industries' proven model for generating jobs and income for the disabled has enormous impact potential across the nation and perhaps worldwide," said Carolyn McKnight, Executive Director of Impact Entrepreneurs. "It's a joy to partner with DePaul Industries to scale collective impact and provide an aspirational future for some of our most vulnerable."

Founded in PSU's School of Business Administration, Impact Entrepreneurs provides tailored training and consulting to inspire, incubate and accelerate business-based approaches for generating social impact. Impact Entrepreneurs will assist DePaul Industries in strategically scaling its integrated social enterprise model by developing instructional materials to enable other organizations to leverage best practices DePaul has cultivated over the past 40 years.

"DePaul's partnership with Impact Entrepreneurs has the ability to raise the profile of this method to employ a significant portion of people with disabilities, the nation's largest minority group," said Dave Shaffer, President & CEO of DePaul Industries. "We're thrilled to be combining forces with the experts here at home in Portland to help expand our mission and model nationwide."

Last year, DePaul Industries employed over 2,000 people with disabilities and generated earned revenue of over $30 million through its primary business divisions of Clerical & Light Industrial Staffing, Security Services, and Food Packaging & Contract Manufacturing. The organization aims to significantly increase both its earned revenue and its employment of people with disabilities over the next five years.

About DePaul Industries: DePaul Industries helps people with disabilities to have the opportunity to work through a self-sustaining business model that generates more than 97% of revenue through the operation of three core businesses: food packaging & contract manufacturing, temporary staffing services, and security services. To date, DePaul has trained or employed in excess of 15,000 people with disabilities, including disabled veterans, and has paid wages and benefits of more than $200 million.

DePaul Industries has been honored as one of Oregon Business magazine's '100 Best Companies' in 2012 and 2011, and has consistently been named a top staffing firm by the Portland Business Journal. The organization has also been honored as one of Portland Business Journal's 'Most Admired Companies,' was the recipient of the 2011 Oregon Ethics in Business award, and was the recipient of the 2011 PepsiCo Americas Foods Contract Manufacturing Quality Award.

About Impact Entrepreneurs: Portland State University's Impact Entrepreneurs offers an interrelated set of educational programs designed to unleash the power of business for social impact. Working with local and global partners, community members, students, and faculty, Impact Entrepreneurs delivers programs to strengthen social impact organizations, replicate successful social enterprises, build entrepreneurial leaders and catalyze social innovation for a more just and sustainable world. Clients include leading social enterprises such as Digital Divide Data, Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers, and Mercy Corps and startups such as EcoZoom and My Street Grocery. Impact Entrepreneurs also offers executive leadership training to corporate clients including The Standard and Blount International. Impact Entrepreneurs was founded in 2010 in Portland State University's School of Business Administration, ranked #1 small MBA program in the World by the Aspen Institute's Beyond Grey Pinstripes report for preparing MBAs for social and environmental stewardship.