Best Academic Institutions Pioneering the way for Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation

social entrepreneurship

Our world is becoming the hub of problems by the day, calling out to its denizens to step up and take action for its betterment. The ones who actually step up are none but ‘Social Entrepreneurs’ who strive and act to deplete the sorrows of our world. Social entrepreneurship is rapidly gaining momentum and is increasingly becoming a magnet attracting more and more creative young minds towards it. To help in creating responsible leaders of tomorrow, some of the top universities in the world are actively framing and investing in programs designed to help students acquire the skills and mindset necessary to successfully drive the mission of social change. Following are the 10 best universities that offer insightful programs and courses on social entrepreneurship to fortify students in becoming agents of social change .

1.The University of Oxford (Oxford, United Kingdom)

While it is unclear when the University of Oxford came into being, teaching has been going on here as early as 1096, thus making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Oxford’s Said Business School has an MBA curriculum that offers a wide range of elective courses covering the following areas: innovation and social entrepreneurship, international social entrepreneurship, and design and development. The Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship is a social impact centre within Saïd Business School of the University of Oxford. It works with a mission to “accelerate the impact of ‘entrepreneuring’ activity” to bring about a transformation of the existing systems by encouraging upcoming talent and leadership, by supporting actionable insight through research and by catalyzing profound exchanges with a global community of innovators. Each year the school showers the best students committed to social innovation with five fully-funded MBA scholarships. Moreover, the University of Oxford will be offering an online course on social entrepreneurship from 16 January-31 March 2017, dedicated to teach students how to develop creative solutions to tackle societal problems.

2.Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut)

 The Yale School Of Management (SOM) has launched the Program on Social Enterprise (PSE), explicitly claiming its mission as: “Harnessing business skills to achieve social objectives”. It explores work on nonprofit and public sector social entrepreneurship along with initiatives in private sector social enterprise. Yale SOM offers about 19 elective courses that explore issues related to social enterprise, ranging from non-profit management to public policy, from environmental stewardship to business ethics. Some mention worthy courses are Managing Social Enterprises, Urban Poverty and Economic Development, Managing Sustainable Operations, Introduction to Responsible Business and Financing Green Technologies.

3.University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

The University of Pennsylvania launched Wharton Social Entrepreneurship in 2001- a global field research program designed to examine the application of social impact business models to address social challenges. The Wharton Social Impact Initiative (WSII) invests in programs and researches for the upliftment of women and to develop inclusive economic growth in Africa and Philadelphia. It offers a wide range of graduate and undergraduate social impact courses and additionally the Wharton Social Impact Prize of $10,000 is awarded to the Wharton Business Plan Competition Semifinalist team with the best business plan that promises social impact. The Center for Social Impact Strategy, a part of the Penn School of Social Policy & Practice, offers a free MOOC on Social Innovation through Coursera for those interested in making a social impact. It is also offering the Schwartz Family Penn Impact Lab,  a one-week program in Nicaragua, from May 20th-27th, 2017 and the deadline for applying is January 27th, 2017.

4.Stanford University (Stanford, California)

The Stanford Graduate School of Business(GSB) offers a variety of academic and co-curricular opportunities to explore the field of social entrepreneurship and helps individuals to learn how to build a social venture from the ground up. Through research, education, and experiential learning, the Center for Social Innovation(CSI) helps students to test their ideas, to develop a business model (nonprofit or for-profit), to find inspiration and funding, and eventually transform their ideas into reality. The CSI also provides students with financial support by offering fellowships to students. In addition to this, the Stanford GSB will be offering an Executive Program in Social Entrepreneurship from 05–10 February 2017, that will benefit students by teaching them how to solve complex social ills and strengthen their skills to effectively lead an organization.

5.Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.)

Students at Georgetown University have diverse opportunities to gain insight about social entrepreneurship by getting involved with The Corp, the largest student-run nonprofit organization in the world, consisting of seven subsidiary companies generating annual revenues in excess of 5 million USD. Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business offers complete courses such as Corporate Social Responsibility, Leadership and Social Intelligence, Global Strategy , and Understanding Entrepreneurship, to name a few. Besides, the university has collaborations with organizations that are committed to create a socially aware and sound generation of entrepreneurs : The Global Social Enterprise Initiative, Net Impact, StartUp Hoyas, the Compass Fellowship, Compass Strategy Advisors, Georgetown Energy, and the Kairos Society.

6.Duke University (Durham, North Carolina)

Duke University has made considerable efforts to pioneer leadership in social entrepreneurship education, having delivered high-quality graduate and undergraduate courses in this arena. The Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship(CASE) at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business is a research and education center that promotes the pursuit of social entrepreneurship through the thoughtful adaptation of business expertise. It offers insightful resources on topics as the concept of social entrepreneurship, economic strategies for social impact, scaling social impact, social venture business models, and entrepreneurial philanthropy. The Concentration in Social Entrepreneurship of the Fuqua School of Business teaches students how to use their MBA skills in their entrepreneurial pursuit of social impact. Apart from these, The Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke(SEAD) leverages institutional relationships and networks to create an integrated global health social entrepreneurship hub for diverse stakeholders across the globe.

7.Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

The Harvard Business School’s Social Enterprise Initiative aims to achieve sustainable, high-impact social change by employing innovative business practices and managerial disciplines. Courses focusing on social enterprise are ingrained within the MBA curriculum and Executive Education program offerings. The Social Enterprise Initiative actively engages with the nonprofit, for-profit, and public sectors to generate resources, tools, and knowledge. This provides students with opportunities for involvement through elective courses and field-based learning experiences; internships and career development programs, and student clubs and organizations. It has sponsored various research forums and conferences, examining an array of topics, including Nonprofit Strategy, Business Leadership in the Social Sector, Consumer-Driven Healthcare, Global Poverty, and Public Education. The New World Social Enterprise Fellows Program is a fellowship offered by the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) that prepares selected students, Cheng Fellows, to take action in advancing progress against a pressing social or public problem through social innovation.

8.University of California-Berkeley (Berkeley, California)

The Center for Social Sector Leadership at Berkeley-Haas, that has been ranked #3 among business schools with a nonprofit specialty according to the US News and World Report 2015, prepares students to achieve social impact, produces alumni that contribute to social sector solutions, encouraging collaboration and innovation between the sectors. It offers a range of courses emphasizing on lean methods, extending to specialized social impact.

A few initiatives of the  Center for Social Sector Leadership are : the Haas Impact Investing Network (HIIN), the Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC), the International Development & Enterprise Club (IDEC), the Net Impact Club, and the Berkeley Group.

9.Cornell University (Ithaca, New York)

In 2008, Ashoka U selected Cornell University as one of its first  Changemaker Campuses. The following represent the hub of activity, resources, and support of social innovation and entrepreneurship.

The university’s Center For Transformative Action currently sponsors twenty-two projects designed to promote social change by finding sustainable solutions to some of the most pressing problems of the world. Moreover, Cornell has a number of student-led organizations that focus on social enterprise : Cornell Design Connect, Design for America Cornell, Cornell University Sustainable Design, Social Business Consulting Group, CU Sustainability Hub, Sustainable Global Enterprise Club and Big Red MicroEnterprise.

10.Babson College (Wellesley, Massachusetts)

Babson College has been designated as an AshokaU Changemaker Campus since 2009 and it was awarded the Ashoka Social Innovators Award in 2011. The Lewis Institute of Babson College is driven by the aim to achieve social impact by seeking social innovation, indulging in fruitful collaborations and integrative designs for action. To accelerate the process of social impact, it has launched the Babson Social Innovation Lab, spearheaded by Toyota with the aim of mobilizing people and ideas. The Social Innovation lab employs Babson’s unique ‘Uncommon Table’ methodology, that fosters smart action by joining people having singular strengths and perspectives to solve critical problems facing the world. Present projects of the Innovation Lab are – Food Sol ; The Leonard A. Schlesinger Fund for Global Healthcare Entrepreneurship; Lean for Social Innovation; Social Sector Impact initiative, and the Women’s Entrepreneurial Development Lab.

With so many programs and courses designed to help budding social entrepreneurs, the arena has become all the more exciting and vast. Students enrolled in these programs will walk away with increased efficiency, better skills and deeper insight of the world of social entrepreneurship.