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 WorkCountry: Ghana
Day: 3 - Thursday, 31 March
The field lab will visit Social Entrepreneurs in the Hub Accra, an incubator that serves as a co-working space for aspiring business owners. The students will be able to work together with (future) social entrepreneurs on their business models that aim to solve societal problems. This experience will allow students to apply their knowledge on business modelling and design thinking that they acquired during the course. Students will work with locals in the area to learn about the critical social needs that they are facing to better connect with the Social Entrepreneurs and their ideas to address these social needs.
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