Social Entrepreneurship & Sustainable Development:
"Social entrepreneurs play the role of change agents in the social sector, by adopting a mission to create and sustain social value (not just private value), recognizing and relentlessly pursuing new opportunities to serve that mission, engaging in a process of continuous innovation, adaptation, and learning, acting boldly without being limited by resources currently in hand, and exhibiting heightened accountability to the constituencies served and for the outcomes created." (Honoring the late Greg Dees dubbed the father of social entrepreneurship education) What is the way that societies improve and solve problems? What is the purpose of business in society? Is there a role for markets and business in issues of civic good, justice, equality, education, environment, health or collective action? Current economic principles, which underpin our trust in markets are not value neutral. Therefore, how we design “market solutions” to problems should be the focus of vigorous and open debate. Social entrepreneurship is a concept that has re-focused us on the meaning of the goods and social practices we value as citizens in a global society. The purpose of this course is to provide students with the essential conceptual frameworks and tools for creating successful social entrepreneurial ventures, initiatives, programs or partnerships that seek to tackle global poverty and collective action problems. Social Entrepreneurship, loosely defined as entrepreneurial activities with an embedded social purpose, is about using entrepreneurial skills to craft innovative responses to address social problems. It aims at social impact, but does not exclude economic wealth creation. Thus, it is not limited to the non-profit or social sectors but seeks to mobilize and align interests of diverse stakeholders in the social, public and private sectors by creating non-financial incentives for collective action. Social Entrepreneurship involves recognizing that social problems are potential opportunities for collaboration, building on existing social networks, harnessing market forces that combine and mobilize resources, inciting positive change in various domains, and designing solutions for sustainable development. Social enterprise, an organizational subset of social entrepreneurship, is a hybrid model for social value creation that is multidimensional and dynamic, moving across various intersection points in the society. A social enterprise is created to achieve a stated vision and mission aiming to solve a state or market failure, where success is measured by both financial sustainability and social impact. Social entrepreneurship and social enterprise represent a paradigm shift in our thinking about sustainable economic development, one that is beginning to have a profound impact on how products are designed and services delivered to poor and marginalized populations at home and abroad. The course will cover a broad range of cutting-edge social enterprise and social entrepreneurship strategies from around the world. Students will interact with guest social entrepreneurs, policy makers, thought leaders and investors to ensure they gain a comprehensive understanding of this dynamic field, and challenge themselves as agents of social change working in development. Through individual and group exercises, using case studies and mixed media, students will explore the common strategies and pitfalls in creating community-driven, scalable social ventures. Students will collaborate and share their learning in the classroom and online using a new social platform, L2O, within a closed community for this course and an open community on social innovation. The course looks at social entrepreneurship and social ventures through their entire life cycle – from ideation, through start-up to scaling and exit to policy-making – with an emphasis on how market considerations and financial instruments are critical to achieving social and financial goals. The materials we will cover place a strong emphasis on the need for a deeper understanding of the range of human motivations, moving from material self-interest to altruism and gift to duty and obligation to strong reciprocity and cooperation. Students will complete a team project, either their own venture or a project for a social enterprise client, over the term of the course. They will receive constant constructive feedback from their peers and instructor throughout the semester in the classroom and on L2O.