Approach

By providing a structure and network for high school youth to create business and social enterprises, SAGE has designed an approach that helps high school-age youth form the belief that it is possible for them to make the world a better place, not only for themselves but for their fellow man.

Supporting Young Entrepreneurs
Business entrepreneurs are the engines of economic wealth creation, and social entrepreneurs are the engines for social wealth creation. SAGE identifies high schools and their surrounding communities that are willing to invest in their youth, and then provides the support network for them to pursue opportunities to create their own business and social ventures.

Promoting Environmental Awareness
Paul Hawken said in his 1993 book, The Ecology of Commerce: “The ultimate purpose of business is not, or should not be, simply to make money. Nor is it merely a system of making and selling things. The promise of business is to increase the general well-being of humankind through service, a creative invention and ethical philosophy.” Hawken argues that businesses and policymakers need to work together to find an “ecological model of commerce” so that everything that is produced can be reclaimed, reused, or recycled. As business transactions increasingly move beyond local and national borders, companies must be careful to consider both the economic and ecologic effects of its activities on all stakeholders. We encourage SAGE teams to adopt this philosophy.

Furthering Civic Engagement and Building Social Capital
In order to be good citizens in a democracy, it is important that each person be educated and informed about the public issues affecting their professional and personal lives. Also, in order to be responsible business and social entrepreneurs, it is important that these individuals know how local, state and national laws affect their business, as well as who is passing such laws (i.e., politicians). It is also important that students understand the importance of their involvement in the larger community, and that those who benefit from democracy have a civic duty to participate in the process. By participating in voluntary organizations like SAGE, they are strengthening their communities by providing a youthful source of social capital.

Expanding Social Networks
Members of the SAGE network are part of a powerful Transnational Social Movement Organization (TSMO) that is no only showing results to improve education, but is also bringing together business, civic and education leaders for the improvement of their local communities. Local communities, in turn, are often directly affected by global actors and actions.

Hosting SAGE Tournaments
The SAGE experience begins with small-scale efforts by high school students, and provides them with an early taste of success. It also provides a stage where they can describe their successful business and social ventures to others. And for those students who are exceptionally creative and innovative, a national and world stage is offered. By hosting state, national and international tournaments, SAGE gives high school SAGE teams the chance to benchmark their programs against other outstanding teams, with the goal of continuous improvement from year to year.