About this courseSkip About this course
People in every corner of the world are solving social and environmental problems in their communities. In the past decade, new programs like MIT Solve have emerged to support those social entrepreneurs. However, many startups find it difficult to develop social entrepreneurship business plans that clearly communicate their work and impact to secure funding and other opportunities. This five-week course helps early-stage social impact startups define three key aspects of their business:
- Impact Opportunity: What is the scale of the problem you are working on? How many people are impacted and what are their demographics?
- Theory of Change: How can you be sure that your work addresses the problem you’re solving?
- Planning for Scale: How can you reach more people to scale your positive impact? Where will you gain the funding to do so?
Each week, we will share case studies from entrepreneurs and both nonprofit and for-profit social enterprises around the world to bring these concepts to life and help you design your own social business model and impact plan. Upon completing this course, you will have:
- Written answers that correspond to five core business model and impact questions. Those answers can be used to submit an application to MIT Solve’s open innovation platform
- A pitch video summarizing your work (Optional)
- New connections to others who are solving important problems in your region and beyond
You may be a good candidate for this course if any of the following criteria apply to you:
- You are considering applying to Solve’s Global Challenges or another social impact innovation program and are seeking advice to create and complete the application
- You are solving an important social or environmental problem and need help to describe your work
- You are starting on an idea or solution to a social or environmental problem and need training or skills development to design and share your goals
What is Solve?
Solve is an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a mission to solve world challenges. Solve is a marketplace for social impact innovation. Through open innovation Challenges, Solve finds incredible tech-based social entrepreneurs all around the world. Solve then brings together MIT’s innovation ecosystem and a community of Members to fund and support these entrepreneurs to help them drive lasting, transformational impact. Join Solve on this journey at solve.mit.edu.
What you'll learnSkip What you'll learn
- How to describe key aspects of a social impact startup, such as impact opportunity, heory of change, and plans to scale
- How to analyze existing social innovations and peers and apply that analysis to your own work
- Gain confidence in your ability to identify and address social and environmental challenges
- Course assignments can be used as part of applications to social entrepreneurship programs such as MIT Solve
Meet your instructors
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Frequently asked questions
I’m applying to Solve’s Challenges - will taking this course give my submission an advantage? Solve’s judges and reviewers will not consider whether an applicant participated in the course. However, we hope that the content and exercises will strengthen your application to our Global Challenges.
I’m applying to Solve’s Challenges - will paying for verification give my submission an advantage? No. Verification will give you access to graded tests and staff evaluation on your written assignments, with the potential to earn a verified certificate from edX showing an understanding of this content. No staff involved in grading coursework will be involved in reviewing Challenge submissions.
I’m not yet working on an idea/I’m just starting to work on my idea/I’m not sure I’d call myself an entrepreneur, am I allowed to take this course? Yes - we welcome learners at all stages of experience.
Who can take this course?
Unfortunately, learners from one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. EdX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.