Learn How

Shift the status quo of the world’s greatest challenges, fueled by inspiring examples of social entrepreneurship in action

Think like a social entrepreneur to tackle problems across public, private, and nonprofit sectors

Carve your own path for making change, whether that be founding an enterprise, serving on a board, or supporting social entrepreneurs in other creative ways

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Course Syllabus

Learning Tools

Instructional videos featuring lessons and tutorials from 4 successful social entrepreneurs

5 reading guides highlighting case studies and examples, plus an additional full-length case study

5 workshop guides to help your team unpack lessons from the videos, and to help you begin to envision and plan for your own social enterprise model

Section 1: What Is Social Entrepreneurship?

Video: What is Social Entrepreneurship?

Video: Introduction to Donors Choose

Video: Introduction to Samasource

Video: Introduction to College Summit

Video: Introduction to Aravind Eyecare

Reading: Our Approach to Social Entrepreneurship

Reading: Social Entrepreneurship as Defined by Social Entrepreneurs

Reading: Social Entrepreneurship vs. Other Models of Social Change

Reading: A Force for Transformative Change

Reading: Starting with a Crazy Idea

Reading: Frequently Asked Questions

Activity: Life Map

Section 2: Identify Your Mission

Video: How to Identify a Social Problem to Tackle

Reading: Identify Your Mission

Reading: Find and Understand a Problem

Reading: Understand Your Customer

Activity: Passion-Skill-Problem

Section 3: Theory of Change

Reading: Understand a Theory of Change

Reading: Acumen’s Framework for Measuring Impact

Reading: Acumen’s Measurement Approach

Reading: An Impact Approach for Your Own Enterprise

Activity: Develop a Theory of Change

Section 4: Plan For Sustainability

Video: Planning for Impact

Video: Achieving Financial Sustainability

Reading: Building a Financially Sustainable Model

Reading: Social Enterprise Revenue Engines

Activity: Solutions Map

Section 5: Bring an Idea to Scale

Video: How to Think about Scale

Reading: Scaling Your Impact

Reading: Think about Your End Game

Reading: 4 Tips to Scale Smart

Reading: Many Ways to Scale

Activity: Build a Launch Plan

Activity: Reflection

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New courses at no cost—made available every month.

Change your view of the world

Draw inspiration from thought-provoking readings, videos, and reflections.

Gain diverse perspectives

Learn with a team that brings different experiences and thinking to the table.

Receive a certificate of recognition

Attain a “Statement of Accomplishment” recognizing your successful completion of a course.

"Despite completing a Master's Degree and a PhD in Public Health, it never occurred to me that it was possible to help others without giving away the one shirt on your back. I am fired-up!"


Course Description

For people new to social entrepreneurship, this course will provide an overview of the sector and its potential for change lives by changing systems. You’ll begin to identify a problem you care about, understand the considerations needed for impact and financial sustainability, and learn how various entrepreneurs have thought about scale.

Built from Acumen’s years of experience investing in social entrepreneurs, this course features firsthand stories and advice from four inspiring founders: Charles Best of DonorsChoose.org, Thulsiraj Ravilla of Aravind Eyecare, Leila Janah of Samasource, and JB Schramm of College Summit.

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Supported By

Fossil Foundation invests in social entrepreneurs whose innovations unleash the potential of underserved young people.


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Our community comes from a range of countries and socioeconomic backgrounds; differences in pricing standards and privilege shouldn't prevent access. Therefore, this course is 'pay what you can.' In order to continue to provide access to as many people as possible, we appreciate whatever you are able to contribute to help keep our courses running. Please note that a payment is NOT required to take this course.
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