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Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Engineering (ENGR)

ENGR 451 Social Entrepreneurship (3) Students develop business models and implementation strategies for social ventures in diverse world regions.

ENGR 451 Social Entrepreneurship (3)

Social Entrepreneurship is about pursuing direct action to address a social problem in a manner that leads to a truly sustainable solution. A similar perspective on social entrepreneurship is based on Jean-Baptiste’s definition of entrepreneurs as permanent value creators. If the primary objective of value creation is positive social change, then the entrepreneur can be categorized as a social entrepreneur. Sustainability and scalability of the venture to create social change on a larger scale is essential. Metaphorically, while conventional entrepreneurs might pursue the creation of multi-million dollar enterprises, social entrepreneurs strive to create multi-million smile enterprises, while understanding that their ability to expand their social returns bears a dynamic interdependence with their economic bottom line. The mission of the venture must be strongly aligned with the measured outcomes, and this emphasis on measuring social and economic impact is crucial to the efficacy and success of social enterprises.

The theory and praxis of social entrepreneurship is constantly evolving within the complex framework of political, economic and social changes occurring at the global, national and local levels in the US and other countries. Students study the dynamics of social challenges, approaches to address them, and the conceptual framework of social innovation and social entrepreneurship from theoretical and practical perspectives. Students explore technology solutions to addressing global social problems with a systems thinking approach. Case studies of successful and failed social ventures from diverse world regions and fields like healthcare, energy, food and agriculture, education, income generation, and access to capital are employed. There is an emphasis on the opportunities and challenges to multi-sectoral collaboration to address social challenges.

Students learn how to develop appropriate business models and implementation strategies for a “sustainable” social venture. Sustainability, in this regards, refers to ventures that are technologically appropriate, environmentally benign, socially acceptable and economically sustainable. There is a specific emphasis on understanding the customers and their context and economic sustainability of the ventures. The course draws heavily from cases to understand the diverse business structures and execution strategies used by social entrepreneurs and the varied challenges faced by them. Students work in multidisciplinary cross-functional teams to develop a business/implementation model for a social venture in diverse world regions. These are real ventures that are connected to other Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (HESE) course offerings.

General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Summer 2013
Prerequisite: 5th semester standing

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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