Global Comparative Social Entrepreneurship (Section 1)

Discipline: Semester at Sea Seminars
Instructor: Müller
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1050
End: 1205
Field Class: Day 6 - Monday, 30 March | South Africa Download Syllabus

This is a research and practice-oriented course providing students with the opportunity to learn how social entrepreneurship can increase the well-being of individuals and societies in different cultural contexts. The course consists of the following three parts:


First, students will review and discuss social entrepreneurship theory. Second, in small teams students will collect data on the status of social entrepreneurship and selected social businesses of three different countries visited during the voyage. Based on this research there will be classroom discussions and reflections around the following main questions: What is the role of social entrepreneurship in these countries? What are the differences compared to “commercial” entrepreneurship? Does social entrepreneurship contribute to the societal wealth in these countries and if so how? Among others, students can draw on data provided by Ashoka and the Schwab Foundation; two organizations that provide profiles of hundreds of social entrepreneurs active in all parts of the world. Third, throughout the voyage students will get the chance to train their entrepreneurial skills – specifically opportunity recognition, problem solving, and business modeling skills – through small assignments and exercises that draw on the itinerary of the voyage. For example, students will be asked to identify severe societal problems that are prevalent in the different regions visited during the voyage. These problems will then serve as the basis for opportunity and business modeling exercises.

Field Class

Country: South Africa
Day: 6 - Monday, 30 March

The field lab will take students to vibrant townships of Cape Town. Students will have the chance to meet with local entrepreneurs from different areas, such as financial services, retail, housing, and energy. The journey is designed to be a personal experience. We will therefore travel in two groups with each group being accompanied by crew-leaders coming from the communities we meet. Each group will have the chance to meet entrepreneurs from two different fields. After meeting the local entrepreneurs, all students will meet for a reflection session: What have we learned about opportunities and challenges at the “base of the pyramid”? What challenged our thinking? What do we see differently now? Throughout our trip and during the reflection session we will be accompanied by Nicolas Pascarel and Pierre Coetzer from Reciprocity, experts on inclusive business and “base of the pyramid” markets. Learning objectives

  1. Gain a better understanding of the economic ecosystem at the Base of the Pyramid
  2. Deconstruct your conventional thinking about poverty and low-income communities
  3. Learn how innovative business models improve the lives of people in low-income communities