Whether it is ample access to sustainable energy, equitable stewardship of Earth's ecosystems to counter climate change, food security or poverty eradication, entrepreneurship is taking a leading role in the search for sustainable solutions to the most pressing, wicked problems of society. At the intersection of business, government and nonprofits, social and sustainable entrepreneurs are increasingly visible and having an impact on local and global scales.
Building on the most recent advancements in entrepreneurship and innovation for sustainability, the course will provide students with the opportunity to learn how to apply business knowledge and skills to address complex social and environmental problems.
Students will first address the complexity of sustainability, as well as how related challenges are altering the social and competitive arena for companies and organizations, creating new threats and market opportunities. The focus will then move on knowledge and tools to sustain social and sustainable opportunity identification and exploitation. Social and sustainable business planning will be addressed along the stages of entrepreneurial discovery, with a focus on hybrid business models and supportive ecosystems. Moreover, recent advancements in the field of innovation for social change will be reviewed, with a focus on bottom of the pyramid strategies, scaling opportunities, and cross-sector social partnerships.
Intended learning outcomes: Participants in this course will lean what role management students can play at the initiation of social and sustainable change. They will know how to set the boundaries of social and sustainable entrepreneurship and understand the steps through which a typical process for social change unfolds. In so doing, participants will learn a vocabulary for thinking and communication about social and sustainable values. Additionally, students will apply knowledge and understanding to the identification, exploitation and scalability of social and sustainable opportunities.
1. Introduction to the topic: Starting from presenting current theories and approaches to social and sustainable entrepreneurship, the module aims at creating a common language among participants related to entrepreneurial projects with a strong focus on social change and sustainability objectives. Sustainability challenges are reviewed with a focus on their impact on companies and organizations. The relationship between social and business entrepreneurship is presented, together with a focus on the changing dynamics in the non-profit sector. New legal forms and organizations are presented with an international focus.
1. Planning dynamics and tools: The module focuses on a process-based view of social and sustainable entrepreneurship, starting with opportunity identification and ending-up with opportunity exploitation into a running organizational form. The role of planning in supporting idea refinement for social change and sustainability is presented, with specific regards to the development of a theory of change and a related business model. The specificities of social business plans will be also introduced, with reference to a social start-up.
3. Social impact assessment and maximization: The need for measuring social value creation and sustainability is introduced, both as a forecast before launching a social venture to attract potential resource providers and as an approach to formalize internal mechanisms aimed at making people responsible for the correct use of resources. Attention will be focus on social return on investment analysis. The economic quantification of the social value created will also represent the precondition to maximize mission attainment by informing decisions regarding scaling options.
4. Financial innovations for social change: Finally, innovation in funding strategies for social and sustainable entrepreneurial ventures will be covered. Impact investing and social venture capital will be explored, comparing and contrasting alternative models.