Social Entrepreneurship (Section 1)

Discipline: Semester at Sea Seminars
Instructor: McCoy
Credits: 3

Field Work: Day 2 - Wednesday, 16 March | South Africa Download Syllabus

Social Entrepreneurship refers to the establishment and management of social mission-driven ventures to address critical social needs, such as hunger, poverty, and poor education. While most of us have knowledge and/or experience in entrepreneurship for profit-driven ventures, the focus of entrepreneurship for social gain is relatively new. Social entrepreneurs function similarly to business entrepreneurs by seizing opportunities, discovering new approaches, and creating solutions to problems others missed. The measure of success, however, is not in profit, although that can happen, but in social change. The main idea behind this class is to provide a forum to discuss the work of Social Entrepreneurs and explore how we can join them in helping solve the social problems facing the world in a sustainable (and perhaps profitable) way.

The course will give students an overview of a range of topics in the field by examining three current models: nonprofits starting for-profit ventures, for-profit companies with a social purpose, and nonprofits that approach social needs in new and innovative ways. Students will address questions, such as: What does it take to be a social entrepreneur? What determines success? What is the best business model for my idea? How do you assess the positive impact of a social venture? Both theoretical concepts and practical skills will be addressed within the scope of the class. Students will take part in several outside class activities in this course, including attending 5-10 workshops, conducting fieldwork in multiple countries, training their own social entrepreneurial skills – specifically opportunity recognition, problem solving, and business modeling skills – through assignments and exercises, and participating in the Resolution Social Venture Challenge as they move themselves from dreaming about changing the world to actually doing it.

Field Work

Country: South Africa
Day: 2 - Wednesday, 16 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.

Academic 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
4. Interact with Entrepreneurs one-on-one to better understand the challenges they face when starting business in a developing country
5. Improve your networking skills and build connections for future collaborations