Two years ago, Marcos Salazar and Allie Mahler were looking for a community in New York to support what they were most passion about: creating bold and innovative social impact. Finding the city lacking, they decided to start their own group.

“We were looking to connect with other people who wanted to use their talents and energy for social good, and we also wanted to see if there was a real interest in getting people together to do more,” says co-founder Allie Mahler.

Rather than invest their time and resources in a totally new platform, they started with a Minimum Viable Product, and launched Be Social Change on Meetup.com. “Meetup is a great platform to test what you are building,” says co-founder Marcos Salazar. “During that first week we launched so many people started joining that Meetup HQ called us in to do some research on our group. We quickly grew from a few hundred to a diverse community of thousands of social entrepreneurs, change makers, do and want to do-gooders coming together on a monthly basis to connect, share ideas, and collaborate on projects.”

Once they had the validation they needed, Allie and Marcos set about creating Be Social Change as a standalone entity, and pursuing it full-time. They went to work planning networking and educational events, all hosted on Meetup. They started to see results quickly. “We’ve been overwhelmed with the response, and we’ve been able to bring together a community of extremely engaged, motivated people.”

Now they’re scaling Be Social Change through a new program called the Makers Institute, which is “business school training meets social good.” The Maker’s Institute brings together experts to teach all aspects of social business, with specialized tracks in Social Entrepreneurship, Social Intrapreneurship, and Civic Innovation.

The Makers Institute imagines “a future where every entrepreneur is a social entrepreneur, every business a socially conscious business, and every career an impact-driven career.”

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