Social Entrepreneurship (Online)


Social entrepreneurs are gaining international attention motivated by the desire for change and to see the world as it can be, not as it is. Students in the course will learn how social entrepreneurs have developed creative solutions to address social problems. The intention of the course is to develop knowledge, appreciate of the role of social entrepreneurs that create social change, deepen students understanding of the world around them, and to inspire you to use your skills and knowledge to be as Gandhi said, 'the change you wish to see in the world'.

Students in this course will gain knowledge about social entrepreneurs and how they are creating solutions to address societal problems, learn how to develop creative solutions to address social problems, and empower you to see social entrepreneurship as a force for social change. The course is designed for you if you want to gain valuable tools to prepare you to make an impact on the lives of others.

For information on how the courses work, please click here.

Programme details

Unit 1: Introduction to social entrepreneurship: The journey ahead

  • Profile of social entrepreneurs
  • Create your own profile of a social entrepreneur or social enterprise
  • Grounding in social entrepreneurship
  • Definitional disputes
  • Typology of ventures
  •  Initial questions on social entrepreneurship

Unit 2: Creating social change: The social value proposition and identifying a social business opportunity

  • Seizing social entrepreneurship opportunities
  • From opportunity to venture
  • Social enterprise profiles
  • Community asset mapping
  • Profile of a social entrepreneur: Albina Ruiz, Ciudad Saludable
  • Social value proposition
  • Triple bottom line

Unit 3: Understanding poverty: The Sustainable Development Goals

  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • The critical need to alleviate poverty
  • Ecosystem approach
  • The role of cooperatives in addressing poverty
  • Profile of a social enterprise in tackling poverty: Grameen Bank

Unit 4: Human-Centred Design: Partnering with the targeted community to address social problems

  • Profile of a social innovator using Human-Centred Design: Embrace
  • The role of mind mapping in creating solutions
  • Empowerment model: Partnering with targeted community

Unit 5: Developing a theory of change: Starting with the social impact

  • Theory of change explained
  • Understanding the theory of change more deeply
  • Brief introduction to systems thinking
  • Profile of a social organization: Global Social Benefit Incubator

Unit 6: Envisioning an innovative society: The role of social innovation

  • Social Innovations: An important element to realising social and environmental impact
  • Disruptive innovations
  • Successful social innovators: Dr. Venkataswamy, Aravind Eye Institute, India
  • Social innovation and social change

Unit 7: The business model: Creating a social business model

  • The role of the business plan in starting a social venture
  • Equitable distribution of value
  • The role of the business model: The business model canvas
  • Social business model challenges
  • Socail business models that effectively generate social/environmental and economic value
  • Profile of a social entrepreneur: Husk Power Systems
  • Business model execution failure

Unit 8: Funding social ventures: Strategies for success

  • Earned income
  • Opportunities for earned income
  • Other common funding sources for social ventures
  • Social investment funding sources
  • Relationship building with donors and investors

Unit 9: The driving force behind social entrepreneurship: Measurement and scaling social impact

  • Building the foundation
  • Profile of two social ventures realising impact at scale: Sekem and The Big Issue
  • Scaling impact through systems thinking 
  • Measuring impact

Unit 10: The future: Reflection and shared experiences

  • Path to social entrepreneurship
  • Thoughts for changemakers
  • Reflections on the future

We strongly recommend that you try to find a little time each week to engage in the online conversations (at times that are convenient to you) as the forums are an integral, and very rewarding, part of the course and the online learning experience.


Credit Application Transfer Scheme (CATS) points 

To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £30 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online. If you do not register when you enrol, you have up until the course start date to register and pay the £30 fee. 

See more information on CATS point

Coursework is an integral part of all online courses and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework, but only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education, you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee. 


Digital credentials

All students who pass their final assignment, whether registered for credit or not, will be eligible for a digital Certificate of Completion. Upon successful completion, you will receive a link to download a University of Oxford digital certificate. Information on how to access this digital certificate will be emailed to you after the end of the course. The certificate will show your name, the course title and the dates of the course you attended. You will be able to download your certificate or share it on social media if you choose to do so. 

Please note that assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail. 


Description Costs
Course Fee £385.00
Take this course for CATS points £30.00


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit, you are a full-time student in the UK or a student on a low income, you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees. Please see the below link for full details:


Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Tanja Collavo

Tanja acts as Course Director for the Master’s in Sustainability Leadership, Flexible Route and for the Postgraduate Certificate (Organisational Stream) and Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Business at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. She has taught and tutored courses in social entrepreneurship, strategy, general management and collaborations, and has knowledge of design and systems thinking as processes to develop sustainable solutions to complex social and environmental issues. Before her current role, Tanja has supported collaborations between researchers and businesses for the realisation of impact, and has completed a PhD in Management Studies at Said Business School, Oxford University. In 2022, Tanja published the textbook “Foundations of social Entrepreneurship: Theory, Practical Tools and Skills”.

Course aims

This social entrepreneurship course is designed to introduce the concept as well as engage students and the tutor in a joint learning experience of this emerging field. Through the course students will:

  • Be exposed to the concept of social entrepreneurship and social enterprises and how social entrepreneurs are transforming society to deliver social impact in their home communities and abroad.
  • Understand the role of measuring impact and how to quantify the social impact for investors, donors, and beneficiaries to help ensure that scarce resources are utilized appropriately.
  • Be aware of how they might apply social entrepreneurship skills in their future pursuits to address social problems.

Teaching methods

The teaching methods for this course include:

  • Individual or group activity on a topic area of interest to the students on social change.
  • Weekly discussion and reflection questions on readings.
  • Short activities to support readings.
  • Online polls with student feedback.
  • Mini cases and videos about a social entrepreneur.
  • Weekly exercises to enhance learning from writing your own social value proposition to completing a theory of change.
  • Weekly shared student journal/discussion (blog or other user friendly online tool) to share with peers.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students will be expected to:

  • Understand the complexity of social change and the concept of social entrepreneurship.
  • Appreciate the role of measurement to quantify social impact and how social entrepreneurs mobilize scarce resources to affect social change.

By the end of this course students will be expected to have gained the following:

  • Knowledge and understanding of the meaning of social entrepreneurship, how its principles have been applied to address social problems, and what challenges are faced by those wishing to adopt social entrepreneurship methods.
  • Gain knowledge and understanding about social entrepreneurship, challenges faced by social entrepreneurs and learn the role of developing a sustainable business model that addresses a social problem.
  • Learn how social entrepreneurs have applied social entrepreneurship principles to address social problems, gain the ability to empower disadvantaged community members to create social change and develop your own skills to 'be the change you wish to see in the world'. Gandhi.

Assessment methods

You will be set two pieces of work for the course. The first of 500 words is due halfway through your course. This does not count towards your final outcome but preparing for it, and the feedback you are given, will help you prepare for your assessed piece of work of 1,500 words due at the end of the course. The assessed work is marked pass or fail.

English Language Requirements

We do not insist that applicants hold an English language certification, but warn that they may be at a disadvantage if their language skills are not of a comparable level to those qualifications listed on our website. If you are confident in your proficiency, please feel free to enrol. For more information regarding English language requirements please follow this link:


Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an Enrolment form for short courses | Oxford University Department for Continuing Education

Level and demands

FHEQ level 4, 10 weeks, approx 10 hours per week, therefore a total of about 100 study hours.

IT requirements

This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.