Course Number


Syllabus Date

Spring 2017

Department course is offered by

ENT - Entrepreneurship

Course description

A nascent field of business development inquiry has emerged on both the national and global stage. Social entrepreneurship (SE) has captured an important Zeitgeist of the modern era; that is, the utilization of economic wealth creation, traditionally associated with business entrepreneurship (BE), to foster and create significant and sustainable social benefit or change. Social entrepreneurship is concerned with the utilization of business entrepreneurial skills as a means of creatively responding to societal problems. As traditional boundaries between the public (i.e. government), private (i.e. business) and third sector (i.e. nonprofit) of our society blur, it is valuable to understand the challenges and opportunities in this new and growing landscape.

According to Dees (2001), who popularized the term, social entrepreneurship involves: adopting a mission to create and sustain social 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 at hand; and exhibiting a heightened sense of accountability for the outcomes created. Within this description, one can identify certain parallels between the aspects of social entrepreneurship and well established business entrepreneurial concepts wherein each can learn and benefit from this new union of social and economic value, variably termed “blended value” or “social return on investment.”

The intent of this course is to introduce students to the complex dynamics - the ‘art and science’ if you will - underlying Social Entrepreneurship as an emerging national and global phenomenon. The course challenges the student to look beyond well established business objectives - the creation of wealth - and investigate how wealth creation can impact public good. The course will consist of lectures, case discussions, and original research conducted by the student(s). An investigation of global social entrepreneurial initiatives including the establishment of BRAC and Grameen Bank, Transparency International, Social Accountability International, the Ethos Institute, the Ashoka Foundation, and other well-known, and lesser well-known, “social value” initiatives and their leaders will be useful in understanding the entrepreneurial aspects of business planning, scaling, and sustainability.

Document Type