Workplace Innovations · · 8 min read

12 Social Entrepreneurship Courses (Free + Paid)

Social entrepreneurship courses are unlocking new pathways for aspiring founders worldwide, offering insights into how business strategies can be harnessed for social good. These courses not only equip aspiring social entrepreneurs with crucial skills but also embed a deep understanding of how to na

Social Entrepreneurship Courses for Aspiring Founders

Social entrepreneurship courses are unlocking new pathways for aspiring founders worldwide, offering insights into how business strategies can be harnessed for social good.

These courses not only equip aspiring social entrepreneurs with crucial skills but also embed a deep understanding of how to navigate the complexities of creating sustainable, impactful ventures.

In an era where social challenges are as complex as they are pressing, the call for innovative solutions has never been louder.

Enter the realm of social entrepreneurship – a dynamic blend of business acumen and a deep commitment to societal betterment.

This unique approach to entrepreneurship is not just about making profits; it’s about making a difference in a community or sector.

The growing interest in this field has led to the emergence of numerous courses designed to equip aspiring social entrepreneurs with the skills, knowledge, and inspiration they need to turn their passion for change into impactful enterprises.

From online programs offered by prestigious universities to interactive workshops led by experienced practitioners, the world of social entrepreneurship education is as diverse as it is rich.

Whether you’re at the cusp of launching your social venture, seeking to scale an existing one, or simply exploring ways to contribute to meaningful change, these courses offer valuable insights and tools.

They cover a range of topics, from the basics of setting up a social enterprise to advanced strategies for sustainability and impact measurement.

Join us as we dive into the world of social entrepreneurship courses.

This guide will not only highlight some of the best learning opportunities out there but also provide a glimpse into how each course can pave the way for your journey as a Causeartist.

Social Entrepreneurship Courses

Social Entrepreneurship 101: Discovering Your Passion and Path to Change the World (Acumen Academy)

Social Entrepreneurship 101: Discovering Your Passion and Path to Change the World (Acumen Academy)
  • Duration: 5 weeks
  • Where: Online
  • Price: Free

This course is designed for individuals who are new to the field of social entrepreneurship. It offers an overview of the sector and its potential to transform lives by altering systems.

Participants will start by identifying a problem they are passionate about, gaining insights into the necessary considerations for impact and financial sustainability, and exploring how various entrepreneurs have approached scaling their ventures.

Drawing on Acumen’s extensive experience in investing in social entrepreneurs, the course features first-hand stories and advice from four inspiring founders: Charles Best of, Thulsiraj Ravilla of Aravind Eyecare, Leila Janah of Samasource, and JB Schramm of College Summit.

Through these experiences, participants will gain valuable perspectives and learnings that can aid in their journey into social entrepreneurship.

Enroll at Acumen Academy

Y Combinator – Startup School

  • Duration: 7 weeks
  • Where: Online
  • Price: Free

Y Combinator’s Startup School is a free online course that provides guidance on starting a company, drawing on Y Combinator’s 15 years of experience in the startup industry.

The program offers essential advice for founders from YC partners and business leaders. Participants can go through the course at their own pace over approximately 7 weeks if spending 1-2 hours per week.

Startup School is suited for anyone in the early stages of building a startup, working to turn a side project into a company, or those simply interested in learning about becoming a founder.

The course helps provide the fundamental knowledge and accountability needed in the startup journey. A key component is connecting participants with potential co-founders.

Overall, Startup School aims to equip ambitious entrepreneurs with Y Combinator’s insights and network to increase their chances of successfully launching and scaling a new startup.

Enroll at Startup School

Future of Sustainable Business (University of Oxford)

Future of Sustainable Business (University of Oxford) - Social Entrepreneurship Courses
  • Duration: 8 weeks
  • Where: Online
  • Price: £1,500

This course is designed to enhance participants’ understanding of the most pressing sustainability challenges in achieving net zero emissions and meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It provides an introduction to the expectations and opportunities for sustainable businesses in the future, focusing on emerging tools that facilitate leadership in creating a positive sustainable future.

Participants will gain a comprehensive understanding of the scale and potential severity of these challenges. However, the course is structured to empower them to view these challenges as opportunities for change and leadership, rather than mere obstacles.

The course offers a diverse perspective on the impacts of climate change and unsustainable development, presented through various organizational and global viewpoints.

It includes an introduction to the latest thoughts on economic systems, technologies, finance, and policies needed to accelerate a sustainable transition.

Additionally, it provides insights into navigating the complex and often conflicting objectives that sustainable business demands.

Ultimately, the course prepares participants to understand, engage in, and contribute to a future where businesses that promote sustainability thrive.

Through this course, learners will be equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to be effective change-makers in the evolving landscape of sustainable business.

Enroll at Oxford

Innovation for Entrepreneurs: From Idea to Marketplace (University of Maryland)

Innovation for Entrepreneurs: From Idea to Marketplace (University of Maryland)
  • Duration: 10 hours
  • Where: Online

The course is designed to provide insights on navigating the innovation process from idea generation to commercialization.

Participants will build knowledge on how to create strategies to bring innovations to market and will develop an innovation portfolio and business model canvas for their ventures.

A framework for examining the innovation process is established at the outset, which quickly transitions into exploring how to successfully bring innovations to market. Key questions addressed in the course include:

  • What are the key indicators of innovation opportunities?
  • What steps are critical for entrepreneurs to bring innovations to the marketplace?
  • What innovation strategies are valuable for new ventures to establish and maintain a competitive advantage?

This course offers students a glimpse into the ideas and techniques covered in the University of Maryland’s master’s degree in technology entrepreneurship. This innovative program is conducted entirely online.

Enroll on Coursera

Social Impact Strategy: Tools for Entrepreneurs and Innovators (University of Pennsylvania)

Social Impact Strategy: Tools for Entrepreneurs and Innovators (University of Pennsylvania)
  • Duration: 4 Weeks
  • Where: Online
  • Price: $49

This course provides an introduction to social impact strategy and social entrepreneurship, encompassing key concepts, an overview of the field, and tools for starting as a changemaker.

It teaches participants how to innovate and design new ideas and organizational forms to implement these ideas. Those who enroll in this course will be better equipped to launch their own social impact organizations.

The course guides participants through four stages: Define, Design, Pilot, and Scale. In these stages, they will transform their passion for changing the world into concrete plans for launching a venture, either nonprofit or for-profit, aimed at achieving a social goal.

The course enables participants to systematically address problems, develop and test innovative solutions, assess risks, competition, and performance, and spread impact in a financially sustainable manner.

Upon completing the course, participants become eligible to apply for the Global Social Impact House (GSIH), an in-person educational experience.

GSIH is a seven-day residential program that equips fellows with necessary tools, community, and training to advance their ventures.

The workshops, tailored to the fellows’ needs, cover advanced concepts in business models, design thinking, and leadership. Additionally, the program fosters the building of meaningful global connections as fellows live together in an inspiring location.

Enroll on Coursera

Social Entrepreneurship Specialization(Copenhagen Business School)

  • Where: Online
  • Duration: 1 months at 10 hours a week

In this specialization, participants will learn how to generate societal impact through Social Entrepreneurship. Social Entrepreneurship involves the discovery and sustainable exploitation of opportunities to foster social change.

The program will present examples of Social Entrepreneurship and guide participants through the process of establishing a venture aimed at addressing a social or environmental issue.

Participants will form a team and delve into a problematic issue to understand the root of the problem better.

They will be equipped with frameworks for identifying opportunities, supporting their team, and outlining their idea.

Throughout the Specialization, participants will refine their idea and business model, culminating in the completion of a business plan.

Enroll on Coursera

Leadership, Organizing and Action: Leading Change (Harvard Kennedy School)

  • Duration: 15 weeks
  • Price: $2,900
  • Where: Online

This program, led by Faculty Chair Marshall Ganz, is a 15-week online course aimed at teaching effective community organizing to achieve social change.

It covers leadership through public narrative, relationship building, team structuring, strategy, and action, offering a platform for global organizers to share experiences and learn collaboratively.

The curriculum emphasizes critical self-analysis of one’s leadership potential in mobilizing communities for real change, distinguishing between organizing and mobilizing, and the importance of collective action in addressing power dynamics.

Apply on Harvard’s Website

Creative Thinking: Techniques and Tools for Success(Imperial College London)

  • Where: Online
  • Duration: Approx. 19 hours to complete 3 weeks at 6 hours a week

In an evolving world, creativity and innovation are crucial skills. This course offers a toolbox of techniques to enhance innate creativity, suitable for individual and group application. It emphasizes practical methods for idea generation, including various brainstorming types and innovative problem-solving approaches.

Participants will learn to harness creativity for innovative solutions, making it ideal for anyone looking to develop these highly valued skills in a dynamic environment.

Enroll on Coursera

Design Kit: The Course for Human-Centered Design (

Design Kit: The Course for Human-Centered Design ( - Social Entrepreneurship Courses
  • Duration: 9 weeks
  • Price: Free
  • Where: Online

The Design Kit: The Course for Human-Centered Design, offered by, focuses on employing human-centered design to significantly impact individuals’ lives through innovative products, services, and experiences.

The course emphasizes the importance of understanding the needs and lives of those for whom designs are intended, underlining a process of building, testing, and iterating based on deep user insights.

Launched by the nonprofit branch of IDEO in 2011, it also aims to promote a human-centered approach to problem-solving across the social sector.

Enroll on IDEO

Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies (Harvard University)

Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies (Harvard University)
  • Duration: 6 weeks
  • Where: Online

This course, led by Professor Tarun Khanna of Harvard Business School, employs an interdisciplinary method to tackle complex social challenges.

It emphasizes learning from past strategies in emerging markets, spotting entrepreneurial opportunities, and developing innovative solutions with a focus on individual action.

The curriculum covers financing, scaling operations, branding, managing property rights, and evaluating social impact, using case studies from various sectors and regions. The aim is to cultivate a proactive mindset toward problem-solving.

Enroll on EdX

Business Strategies for Social Impact (Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Duration: 4 weeks
  • Where: Online
  • Price: $79/Month

Wharton’s online program, Business Strategies for a Better World Specialization, is designed to guide professionals and businesses towards achieving sustainable social impact alongside financial success.

The course equips learners with evidence-based strategies for generating significant social benefits in various areas, such as job creation, malnutrition reduction, and promoting eco-friendly housing.

It focuses on applying business strategies to address global challenges by leveraging current practices and trends.

Enroll on Coursera

Strategy and Finance for the lifecycle of a Social Business Specialization(Yunus Social Business Fund Bengaluru)

  • Duration: 3 months at 10 hours a week
  • Where: Online

This specialization caters to students, professionals, entrepreneurs, and intrapreneurs keen on learning about social business strategies. Offered in collaboration with Yunus Social Business Fund Bengaluru and Professor Gautam Kaul, it brings rich expertise in social business.

The program includes an Applied Learning Project where learners develop a Social Business Model Canvas, receive peer feedback, and engage in complex exercises across four courses to deepen their understanding.

Enroll on Coursera

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