Responsible entrepreneurship theme of March 1 event

Feb. 12—Dallas Chef Chad Houser will be the keynote speaker March 1 at a Santa Fe "learning session" about finding purpose and profit in entrepreneurship.

Houser's visit will be part of the Beyond Profit series staged by University of New Mexico Anderson Center for Responsible Entrepreneurship and Creative Santa Fe to encourage entrepreneurs to include elements of social enterprise in their businesses.

The session will take place from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 1 at Christ Church Santa Fe, 1213 Don Gaspar Ave. Admission is free, but a $25 contribution is suggested. Reserve a seat online at creativesantafe.org/events/entrepreneur-spotlight-chad-houser/.

"We want to help local entrepreneurs in the early stages of building their business find a balance of profit and purpose," said Jon Mertz, co-leader of the UNM center. "What we will bring to our community is insights to what it takes to scale a social enterprise."

For Mertz, purpose involves community engagement and treating your employees the right way.

Houser stepped away from his successful Parigi restaurant in Dallas to establish Café Momentum, a restaurant dedicated to operating with paid interns ages 15-19 from the Dallas County Juvenile Detention Facility. During the one-year internship, the interns also get life skills guidance.

Houser has expanded Café Momentum to Nashville, Tenn., and Pittsburgh, and wants to reach many more cities. He wants to provide a sense of consistency and stability to youths whose socioeconomic class is stacked against them to achieve success.

Beyond Profit will also have a panel of locals with their own success stories in bringing together profit and purpose. Cyndy Bohannan, owner of Find the Stuff, and Alexandra Merlino, owner of Bee Wild Outside, are currently enrolled in the center's accelerator program. Chef Fernando Ruiz, with a past in the Arizona prison system, is nearing opening his Agua Fría Road restaurant, Escondido, and Hilary Kilpatric is co-owner of The Kitchen Table commercial kitchen.

"It's really community building to support local entrepreneurs in Santa Fe," Mertz said.