Social Entrepreneurship

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Course Date: 03 September 2014 to 26 November 2014 (12 weeks)

Price: free

Course Summary

In this course you will learn how to create societal impact through Social Entrepreneurship (S-ENT). S-ENT describes the discovery and sustainable exploitation of opportunities to create social change. We will introduce you to S-ENT examples and guide you through the process of identifying an opportunity to address social problems as well as outlining your idea in a business plan.

Estimated Workload: 4-6 hours/week

Course Instructors

Kai Hockerts

Since September 2005 Kai Hockerts has been a Professor at Copenhagen Business School (CBS) where he is affiliated with the Center for Corporate Social Responsibility. Kai holds a Ph.D. in Management from the University of St. Gallen (CH). Before joining CBS Kai was Adjunct Professor at INSEAD (F). Kai Hockerts primary research focus is on social entrepreneurship, corporate sustainability strategy and environmental entrepreneurship research, with a minor interest in socially responsible investing. His research has been published in the Journal of Business Venturing, International Review of Entrepreneurship, Journal of Business Ethics, and Business Strategy and the Environment.

Kai Hockerts have given numerous talks to academic audiences and practitioners on a broad variety of topics linked to corporate sustainability, environmental management, philanthropy and social responsibility.

Kristjan Jespersen

Kristjan Jespersen is a PhD Fellow at the Copenhagen Business School (CBS). As a primary area of focus, he studies the growing development and management of Ecosystem Services in developing countries. Within the field, Kristjan focuses his attention on the institutional legitimacy of such initiatives and the overall compensation tools used to ensure compliance. He has a background in International Relations and Economics.

Ester Barinaga

In the midst of one of the worst financial, economic and social crises in post-war history an ideological disagreement has come to dominate the debate. On the one hand, right wing inclined observers regard the State at best as an outdated way of meeting needs and generating demand; at worst as deterrent to business initiative, efficient service delivery and citizen action. On the other side of the spectrum, left wing inclined analysts consider the State to be a central actor in providing welfare services, supporting the business sector, developing citizen capacity and strengthening civil society. That is, the “Big Society debate” – as it has been dubbed in the UK – is largely an ideological debate on the role to be played by the State in our societies in general and in alleviating the current crisis in particular. It is, too, a debate on the consequent role to be played by civil society at large, and the non-profit sector in particular.

In other words, the debate on the role of the state is also a debate on the form to be taken by civil society. This has led to the introduction of a new language of social action, civic engagement and social entrepreneurship as well as an increased focus on the centrality of the civil society sector for the renewal and sustainability of our societies. Having that as a background, my research focuses on  the strategies, methods and tools used by civil society initiatives in their efforts to ignite social change, with a particular emphasis on those initiatives addressing ethnic marginalization and stigmatization in our societies.

Anirudh Agrawal

Anirudh is a research fellow at Copenhagen Business School. His research focus is social entrepreneurship and impact investment. His current research project is on impact investment in the social entrepreneurship sector. He is writing about impact investment in India and the process of valuation of social enterprises by impact investors around the world. In practice he does pro-bono consulting for social entrepreneurial initiatives in Georgia, Nepal, India and Denmark.
He has undertaken consulting projects in India on private equity investment, infrastructure development, water and sanitation and patent portfolio management strategies. He has masters in Engineering and management.

Sudhanshu Rai

soon to come

Robert Austin

Robert D. Austin is Professor, Management of Creativity and Innovation, at Copenhagen Business School. Before moving to Copenhagen, he was a professor of Technology and Operations Management at the Harvard Business School for more than a decade. Austin has written nine books, including Harder Than I Thought: Adventures of a 21st Century Leader (Harvard Business Review Press, coauthored with Richard L. Nolan and Shannon O’Donnell). He has published articles in Harvard Business Review, Information Systems Research, MIT Sloan Management Review, Organization Science, the Wall Street Journal, and many other prominent venues. He’s an author of more than 60 Harvard Business School cases and also two of Harvard’s widely used online learning products. A former auto and tech company manager, Austin has consulted and provided executive education at many multinational corporations.

Course Description

In this course we will ask you to form groups with other MOOC participants to identify an opportunity to create social change, develop a business model, and outline ideas in a business plan, which you will in the end submit to possibly receive start-up funding.

The domain of social change is no longer reserved for students of political sciences and development studies. Increasingly business graduates are recognized as possessing important skills that can drive social change. This new discipline is often referred to as Social Entrepreneurship (S-ENT). S-ENT describes the discovery and sustainable exploitation of opportunities to create public goods. This is usually done through the generation of disequilibria in market and non-market environments. The S-ENT process can in some cases lead to the creation of social enterprises. These social ventures are hybrid organizations exhibiting characteristics of both the for-profit and not-for-profit sector. Individuals engaging in S-ENT are usually referred to as social entrepreneurs, a term that describes resourceful individuals working to create social innovation. They do not only have to identify (or create) opportunities for social change (that so far have been unexploited), they must also muster the resources necessary to turn these opportunities into reality.

A typical example is Prof. Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank (Bangladesh) and recipient of the Nobel Peace prize in recognition of his contribution to poverty alleviation through the invention and popularization of Microfinance. Other examples include fair trade or car-sharing. Today many foundations aim to identify and promote social entrepreneurs. Two prominent examples are Ashoka and the Skoll Foundation. So called venture philanthropists adopt methods from the domain of venture capital, for example, encouraging social entrepreneurs to provide detailed business plans and to measure and report systematically on their social performance. Social Return on Investment (S-ROI) analysis is an example, of an emerging tool aiming to describe the social impact of S-ENT in dollar terms, relative to the philanthropic investment made.

As part of the course you will be working in groups on identifying an opportunity for a social innovation or social enterprise. You will then write a business plan outlining the business model for implementing your idea. All business plans will be evaluated at the end of the course and the winners will be supported in the implementation of their idea.

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  • Intro:          Introduction to the Course
  • Week 1:     What is Social Entrepreneurship?
  • Week 2:     Why is a Social Entrepreneur?
  • Week 3:     How to Identify an Opportunity?
  • Week 4:     Creating a Business Model
  • Week 5:     The Business Model Canvas
  • Week 6:     Writing a Business Plan
  • Week 7:     Selecting an Organizational Form
  • Week 8:     Attracting Investors
  • Week 9:     Measuring Social Impact
  • Week 10:   Communication Strategies for Social Enterprises
  • Week 11:   Replication Strategy
  • Week 12:   Exit Strategies


Lecture Videos, Case Studies, Assignments, Forum discussion

Course Workload

4-6 hours/week

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