Introduction to Social Enterprise

We often hear talk of entrepreneurship as if it were a modern concept. For example, we might hear that an organization needs to modernize by “thinking and acting more entrepreneurially.” Or we read that value in the modern U.S. economy is increasingly driven by entrepreneurs. However, the concept of entrepreneurship is not new. The word derives from the French entreprendre, or “to undertake,” and its importance in the process of production was described by economists 200 years ago.

Social entrepreneurship is a much newer concept than commercial entrepreneurship and has been defined in many ways over the past few years.

Social enterprises contribute significantly to the economic growth and prosperity of communities all over the world. These enterprises – incorporated as for-profit or nonprofit organizations – can provide a mission-driven source of employment for their workforce; produce innovative products/services that meet real needs of beneficiaries, clients, and funders against the backdrop of a community’s social, environmental, and/or cultural challenges; and balance commercial and impact dimensions while creating new value.

Introduction to Social Enterprise supports the process of describing, analyzing, and designing business models for social enterprises through the application of a framework developed by Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, called Impact Business Model Canvas.

Through a combination of live classes, reading assignments, formative assessments, and an assignment, Cohort Members learn to utilize the Impact Business Model Canvas and apply it to their assigned organization from the Leaders-in-Residence network.

Digital copies of readings materials are made available for participants at no cost.

  • Accreditation: Swiss Private Course
  • Total workload: 50 hours
  • Requires extra purchases (outside texts, etc.): No, all materials included
  • ID verification: Required
  • Admission requirements: Application required
  • Minimum education requirement for students: Undergraduate