Social Entrepreneurship: An Introduction
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Social Entrepreneurship: An Introduction

An introduction to social entrepreneurship, social impact, and change making.
4.3 (31 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
7,040 students enrolled
Published 12/2012
English [Auto-generated]
Price: Free
  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 9 Articles
  • 13 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Understand the meaning of social entrepreneurship
  • Learn the introductory skill sets and frameworks necessary to become a change agent
  • Strengthen diagnostic, evaluation and planning skills as social entrepreneurs & organizational leaders
  • Improve practical knowledge and competencies important to effectiveness in social innovation and enterprise leadership
  • Establish vibrant relationships with classmates, instructors and contribute to the evolution of this class
  • Have fun while learning with a global community
View Curriculum
  • Open mind, willingness to learn, and commitment to experimenting with new technologies and methods for learning and interacting

Social entrepreneurs are leaders that attempt to solve great social challenges with disruptive strategies that are impactful, sustainable, and scalable. Successful social entrepreneurs explore and develop new models and bring transformative approaches to pressing societal challenges.

This “How to Become a Social Entrepreneur” course is offered as an entry point for those interested in learning more about social entrepreneurs, their strategies and tools, and their expanding role in global problem solving. This is an introductory course.

Although the concept of social entrepreneurship was discussed in the 1980s and 1990s, the field of social entrepreneurship is relatively new having experienced dramatic growth over the last decade. For example, in the last 5 years, applications to the social entrepreneur seed funding organization, Echoing Green, have more than tripled to 3,500 annually. In 2009, President Obama created a White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation and media outlets from Forbes to Fast Company have begun covering social entrepreneurship, including publishing annual “Top 25”-type lists of social entrepreneurs.

Young people around the world aspire to be social entrepreneurs. According to Net Impact's recent Talent Report: What Workers Want in 2012, the Millennial generation wants, and expects, to do good and do well in their paid work. Social entrepreneurship is the path to which aspiring change-makers of all ages are turning. Becoming a social entrepreneur a top career choice on college campuses and globally today and social entrepreneurs such as Wendy Kopp (Teach For America), Seth Goldman (Honest Tea), Blake Mycoskie (Tom's Shoes), and Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus (Grameen Bank) enjoys awareness and respect on campus and in capitals around the world.

This How to Become a Social Entrepreneur; introductory course is offered by George Mason University but reflects the support and encouragement of individuals and organizations globally including AshokaU, Net Impact, Echoing Green, Mario Morino,, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Root Cause, GMUTV, and OpenStudy.

This course also reflects the countless scholars who have pushed this field forward over the last few decades and made their ideas and works available to colleagues and practitioners globally.

Thank you also to Steven Childress, Production Director for this course and Nick Clemente, curriculum development. Finally, a huge thank you to Dr. Peter Stearns, GMU Provost, and Dr. Jack Censer, Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, for supporting this course and the practice of innovation in higher education.

Sign up for this introductory course now and learn how to become a social entrepreneur.

Who is the target audience?
  • Students globally without access to social entrepreneurship courses
  • Professionals interested in bringing social innovation to their organizations
  • Higher education faculty and staff interested in social entrepreneurship and innovation
  • Anyone interested in understanding more about social entrepreneurship and innovation
Compare to Other Entrepreneurship Courses
Curriculum For This Course
29 Lectures
4 Lectures 07:59
Werkheiser: Welcome to Social Entrepreneurship: An Introduction

Tulane University: Social Entrepreneurship: Creating Change

A talk by leading social entrepreneurs about the field.:

Tulane University: Social Entrepreneurship: Creating Change

Course Syllabus
4 pages
Defining Social Entrepreneurship
4 Lectures 14:37
Werkheiser: Defining Social Entrepreneurship

Skoll Foundation: Social Entrepreneurs: Pioneering Social Change

Dees: The Meaning of Social Entrepreneurship
6 pages

Martin & Osberg: Social Entrepreneurship: The Case for Definition
13 pages
Social Entrepreneurship and the Traditional Sectors (Public, Private, Non-Profit)
4 Lectures 13:35
Werkheiser: Social Entrepreneurship and the Traditional Sectors

Wolk: Social Entrepreneurship & Government
67 pages

Wolk: Social Innovation, Social Venture Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship

Eric Ries: Lean Startup & The Public Sector
Measuring Impact
4 Lectures 08:23
Werkheiser: Measuring Impact

Morino: Leap of Reason
92 pages

McKinsey's Book Notes: Leap of Reason Discussion

Fisher: Income is Development
22 pages
Achieving Sustainability
3 Lectures 05:43
Werkheiser: Achieving Sustainability

York: The Sustainability Formula
13 pages

Americorps (CNCS): Sustainability Toolkit
45 pages
Our World in 30 Years
3 Lectures 10:29
Werkheiser: Our World in 30 Years

Auerswald: Bliss Is On The Way
5 pages

Inventor, entrepreneur, visionary, Ray Kurzweil's accomplishments read as a startling series of firsts -- a litany of technological breakthroughs we've come to take for granted. Kurzweil invented the first optical character recognition (OCR) software for transforming the written word into data, the first print-to-speech software for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, and many electronic instruments.

Yet his impact as a futurist and philosopher is no less significant. In his best-selling books, which include The Age of Spiritual Machines and The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (which is set to become a movie in 2008), Kurzweil depicts in detail a portrait of the human condition over the next few decades, as accelerating technologies forever blur the line between human and machine."

"Kurzweil's eclectic career and propensity for combining science with practical -- often humanitarian -- applications have inspired comparisons with Thomas Edison." Time

Kurzweil: Singularity University
Charting Your Own Course
7 Lectures 10:39
Werkheiser: Charting Your Own Course

Elkington: Key Traits of Social Entrepreneurs

Interesting article on how this toolkit was used by Asheen Phansey and Amy Green to set a new green standard at their company, Dassault. They won the 2012 Impact at Work award from Net Impact.

Net Impact: Impact at Work Toolkit
10 pages

Net Impact: Corporate Careers That Make a Difference
85 pages

Echoing Green: Work on Purpose Introduction
9 pages

Echoing Green: Head + Heart + Hustle Exercise
4 pages

Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire
About the Instructor
David J.  Miller
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Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Higher Education

David J. Miller is the Director of Entrepreneurship at the Mason Center for Social Entrepreneurship (MCSE).  Miller is also a supporting faculty member at George Mason University’s School of Management (SOM) teaching New Venture Creation and a PhD Candidate at Mason’s School of Public Policy working with Dr. Zoltan J. Acs.

In his work with MCSE Miller supports entrepreneurship education and programming. From developing and leading Startup Mason, a peer-to-peer founders group for Mason community members, to working with Summer Innovation Program (SIP) participants from around the world on lean startup methodologies, David brings practical tools and offerings to the MCSE and its community.

Miller has been part of multiple new ventures over the past 15 years, most recently serving as the founder and CEO of, an online platform for family-friendly fantasy football. Before that, David helped found and served as the COO of the Creative Class Group (CCG), leading business development, new product and service creation, and strategy. At CCG David oversaw the creation, development, and implementation of the Creative Cities Leadership Project educating and leading more than 200 social innovators in the creation of 30 social ventures in Tallahassee, El Paso, Tacoma, Charlotte, Duluth, and Noosa, Australia. Before CCG, served as the Director of Operations and Strategy for and manager of e-commerce and digital music for Miller also spent two years as lead researcher and writer for the President/CEO of the Center for Strategic & International Studies, a leading foreign policy think-tank in Washington D.C.

David’s current research focuses on opportunity identification and firm formation processes employed by high growth student entrepreneurs in the United States. Miller is currently creating a directory, taxonomy, and database of high growth student entrepreneurs, their ventures, and their universities and writing case studies on universities at the entrepreneurial frontier.

David frequently blogs and comments on entrepreneurship, higher education, and social innovation at Campus Entrepreneurship and @campus_entre

Miller holds an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business (Entrepreneurship, Finance, & Strategic Management), an MSc in the International Politics of Asia from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (Dissertation: Changing Definitions of Security in the Information Age: The People’s Republic of China and the Internet), and a BA in International Relations from the University of Michigan. He lives in Montgomery County, MD.


Greg Werkheiser
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Social Entrepreneur, Leadership Educator, Attorney

Greg Werkheiser is a social entrepreneur and lawyer tackling major challenges in the fields of leadership development, politics and government, cultural heritage preservation, and civil rights.

He has helped pioneer three major leadership development movements over 20 years: civic education, social entrepreneurship, and cross-sector leadership, serving as Founding Director of:

- The Presidio Institute – launching a $200 million cross-sector leadership development initiative at historic Fort Scott overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge;

- The Center for Social Entrepreneurship at George Mason University – demonstrating social innovation education’s potential from Virginia’s largest university;

- The Phoenix Project – bringing social enterprise to the streets of severely economically distressed communities to address broken schools, poor health, violence, and joblessness; and,

- The University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership’s youth civic education programs – building model bipartisan academies to produce better public servants.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching documented Greg’s work in the book Educating for Democracy: Preparing Undergraduates for Responsible Political Engagement (Jossey Bass).

While fostering leadership movements, Greg has himself held public service roles at the White House, U.S. Embassy in Paris, U.S. Information Agency, and Congressional Management Foundation. He secured the Washington Post’s endorsement and greater financial support than any prior candidate in his campaign for the Virginia legislature.

Greg transferred skills honed representing Fortune 500 companies in complex litigation at a global law firm to saving cultural heritage as our collective inheritance. He won a landmark court battle to save the Black Creek site, host to 10,000 years of Native American life. He co-founded Cultural Heritage Partners, PLLC, the global law and strategy firm for preservation clients.

Greg is a long-time advocate for women's, GLBTQ, and racial and religious minorities' empowerment.