|Social ventures, both non-profits and for-profits, seek to better the world in such industries as education, microfinance, workforce development, public health and community development, among others. Organizations that operate in the social sector face unique challenges and opportunities based on their social mission objectives. This class will analyze different social venture business models industries through lab projects, as well as incorporate theoretical discussions on major trends and issues in the sector.
The lab projects are intended to enhance the understanding of the challenges of operating and growing social ventures where ‘profits’ are often sacrificed for mission. A large component of the course will be a group project to assist a local social enterprise on a specific challenge such as developing or expanding income-earning programs, pricing strategies, organizational development, marketing and branding strategies, etc. Five students in a group will conduct research and make actionable recommendations for their client. These projects will be set up in advance. The anticipated time commitment from students is approximately 6-8 hours per week on the lab project. In addition, there are regular meetings with the professor/coaches for updates and guidance.
Classroom topics on the sector will include impact measurement, funding models, governance, mergers and alliances, among others. In addition, to insure that projects are rewarding for both the student and the client, some project management skills and research techniques will be presented. Class sessions will be a mix of short lectures, discussions, guest speakers, and student presentations.