Week 1 - Introduction


This course is designed to act as a primer to social entrepreneurship as an academic field as well as a career. The structure of the class is to provide a generous amount of information on the background of the field as well as to provide a set of tools and training to jumpstart your own social venture. The first half will generally be dedicated to the background, and the second half to the tools and information you need for practical applications of this information.

The goal of the first class is to act as a way for the class to become introduced to each other and to start becoming comfortable working together through a couple of ice breakers that are designed to force teams to work together. In our experience, each class is 2 hours long, and the course has been designed around this experience. Please feel free to modify, change, and/or adapt all of these instructions and activities to fit your own needs.


  1. Introductions - Go around the class introducing each other. An introduction should include who you are, where you're from, an interesting fact about you, and why you are taking this course. (10 min.)
  2. Logistics - Spend some time discussing the course syllabus, which should include an overview of the course, class expectations, and any other important or relevant information to the course. (10 min.)
  3. Ice Breakers - There are several ice breakers to play with the intention of getting people to interact with one another right away. While uncomfortable, it breaks down barriers quickly. The ice breaker we played next to jumpstart the creative process was Make a Dog. Each group must determine how they are going to make a dog given major time constraints and a lack of resources. The goal is for each individual to learn from each other or individuals in different groups. Also, the goal is to help foster group communication and to have fun. (10 min.)
  4. The X-Y Negotiation Game - Negotiating is one of the most misunderstood but arguably the most important tools to have in life. Every exchange involves some level of negotiation, from determining what clothes to wear in the morning to convincing a friend to see your point of view or do something with you. The purpose of this activity is to draw out the lessons discussed in our Negotiations article after playing the The X-Y Negotiation Game. (45 min.)
  5. Questions and Answers - The goal of this activity is to figure out what people already know about social entrepreneurship. Ask questions regarding all the different sectors (for profit, non profit, foundations, entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship) to gauge how much your class already knows and how the class information should be tailored. This should be more exploratory than anything else, asking questions such as, "When you think of a non profit, what comes to mind?" Responses such as, 'slow, outdated, mission oriented, humanitarian, etc' are expected. (15 min).
  6. I Love My Neighbor Who... - This ice breaker acts as a way to move around and have some fun after spending quite a bit of time sitting down and thinking. The goal of this ice breaker is to have fun learning about the different things you have in common with other people in the class. If all of the previous activities ended up being shorter than or longer than expected, you can use this activity to fill in the necessary time or cut it out entirely if there is not enough time. See attached. (20 min).
  7. Wrap Up - The last ten minutes of class should be used to wrap up and discuss assignments to be completed for next week. The assignments are listed below under 'Exercises'. (10 min).


  • Sign up for note-taking days. Each student must take notes and post them to the course website/wiki.
  • Write up your individual bio. This will help everyone in the class get to know one another.
  • In pairs, research 6 socially entrepreneurial organizations. This activity encourages people to explore social entrepreneurship before we discuss it. The research should result in a 2 paragraph write up that includes what they do and why you find them interesting. Also, make sure to link to the original source where you found the information.
  • Prepare a 2 minute presentation of an organization. Following up with the previous assignment, each student must prepare a quick presentation to share with the class. No two students should cover the same organization.


There are no readings for next week.

Next Week:

Next week will be a discussion based overview of all the most important concepts in social entrepreneurship to date. Topics ranging from 'social philanthropy' and 'social enterprises' to 'greenwashing' and 'triple bottom line economics'. This crash course should act as the foundation for future conversations and act as a reference point in all future discussions.

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