Skip to main content

Learn social entrepreneurship with online courses and programs

Do you want to make lasting change in your community or greater society? Social entrepreneurs tackle pressing issues by blending business with impact. Learn the metrics and strategy behind successful social entrepreneurship with courses on edX.

What is social entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurs are individuals or groups of people who start their own business. Social entrepreneurs use their business to promote change. While they may operate similarly to traditional organizations, companies run by social entrepreneurs differ in a number of critical ways:

  • Mission and purpose: While traditional entrepreneurs primarily seek to grow profit-driven businesses, social entrepreneurs focus on creating positive societal impact.

  • Impact measurement: Traditional entrepreneurs do not tend to focus on social or environmental impact, whereas social entrepreneurs see impact as a key measurement.

  • Business model: Traditional businesses focus on profit-maximizing business models, but social enterprises employ models that integrate social and economic value creation. 

  • Funding sources: Investors in traditional entrepreneurship expect profitability, while alignment with the cause is an important factor for social investors.

It’s important to remember that some entrepreneurs may transition from traditional to social entrepreneurship or incorporate certain values into their businesses as they evolve. By understanding the various aspects of social entrepreneurship, you can position your business to make lasting and meaningful change.

Social Entrepreneurship | Introduction Image

Maximize your potential

Sign up for special offers, career resources, and recommendations that will help you grow, prepare, and advance in your career.

Social entrepreneurship course curriculum

Social entrepreneurs transform societies across the world. Further your passion for social change by gaining the relevant knowledge and tools to build a strong, sustainable business entity committed to social innovation. edX courses can help you get started, covering topics such as:

  • Social entrepreneurship’s importance

  • Social entrepreneurships vs. traditional entrepreneurships

  • Using design thinking to generate solutions for a social problem

  • Characteristics of effective social entrepreneurs

  • Different types of social entrepreneurship

Curious about entrepreneurship in general? Look for classes that include opportunities to hone your ability to think like an entrepreneur and act like an innovator. These classes can help you develop, define, and clearly communicate a new business concept or initiative in an effective and compelling manner.

Learning about social entrepreneurship can supplement your knowledge of business and leadership. edX offers a variety of educational opportunities for learners interested in studying these topics, as well as a host of other disciplines. A boot camp can provide flexible, hands-on learning for those who want to upskill quickly, while executive education courses are designed for busy professionals. You can also pursue a more comprehensive curriculum in a bachelor’s degree program or, for more advanced learners, a master’s degree program. Find the right learning path for you.

Explore social entrepreneurship jobs

With a background in social entrepreneurship, you can strengthen your career prospects and open up new opportunities. Here are some jobs that benefit from social entrepreneurship experience or require related skills:

  • Entrepreneur: Starts their own social enterprise or works with an existing business to create positive social change.Footnote 1

  • Impact investor: Seeks financial returns while also generating positive social or environmental outcomes.Footnote 2

  • Urban planner: Engages communities in sustainable projects and initiatives.Footnote 3

  • Academic researcher: Contributes to understanding of social entrepreneurship and identifies best practices for creating social impact.Footnote 4

  • Social policy analyst: Analyzes and develops policies aimed at addressing social issues.Footnote 5

Each of these roles will have different education and skills requirements. For example, some employers may seek candidates with a degree in finance, depending on the role. Before deciding on a specific learning path, research the positions you hope to pursue and align your coursework with your career goals.