Social Entrepreneurship is an emerging field of study, coupling core business skills with a desire to address key social and environmental issues. As the change agents for society, social entrepreneurs start businesses to create a positive social force.
What is a social entrepreneur?
Just as entrepreneurs change the face of business, social entrepreneurs act as the change agents for society, seizing opportunities to improve systems, invent new approaches, and create sustainable solutions to change society for the better. Unlike traditional entrepreneurs who are motivated by profits, social entrepreneurs are motivated to improve society (with profit a pleasant by-product). They are pioneers of innovations that benefit humanity — solution-minded pragmatists who are not afraid to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems. Whether they are working on a local or international scale, social entrepreneurs share a desire to solve problems that aren’t being addressed by traditional institutions, be they businesses, governments, or non-profits.
A fascinating field of study
Social entrepreneurs tackle major social issues, from increasing the availability of quality education to low-income students to fighting poverty in developing countries. Social entrepreneurship takes place within both non-profit and for profit organizations, and successful social entrepreneurs must build relationships with NGOs, corporations, and governments alike. As such, it is a fusion of a business sensibility and a humanitarian impulse, and requires an equal fusion of business skills with a socio-political awareness. In short, social entrepreneurs must be adept at mobilizing human, financial, and political resources.
The skills and knowledge to help the world
The Social Entrepreneurship concentration broadens the business knowledge of students to encompass ethical debates and humanitarian challenges. Additionally, students develop the skills to engage in issue advocacy, problem solving, innovation, and project development. The capstone of the concentration encourages students to test their knowledge and skills as they become consultants for actual organizations working on real-world challenges in the international arena.
- Exposure to principles of social entrepreneurship in the drive for positive social change
- Critical analysis of the socio-political, environmental, and ethical dimensions of the world economy and the business environment
- An ability to think practically and creatively about potential solutions to global problems
- Understanding of the non-profit, charity, or NGO sector, and how these agents interact with businesses and governmental actors
- An appreciation of NGO management and the techniques used in advocacy and lobbying
- An ability to deliver innovative project plans in a professional and timely manner
- An appreciate of NGO management and the techniques used in advocacy and lobbying
Graduates in Social Entrepreneurship will have the ability to think globally, an interest in solving large-scale problems, and the confidence, skill, and desire to solve problems. Typically, graduates will work in NGO management, public policy, the UN and other development agencies, risk assessment and policy planning, corporate social responsibility (CSR) departments within multinationals, or consulting on CSR, sustainability, or innovation.